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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Meet Eli

Here's another guest post, this time from my friend, Ashley. When I received Quinn's diagnosis, I immediately turned to the internet to read stories from parents who were going through similar situations. In the process, I came across Ashley's blog and quickly realized that she lived just a few miles north of Houston. I sent her an email and she responded immediately, both of us excited to have found one another. I continued to talk with Ashley throughout my pregnancy while also keeping myself updated on her adorable son, Eli, who was born in April of 2012. Since we met last fall, Ashley and her husband Barry adopted beautiful baby Ruby and are (surprise!) expecting another son this spring! Here is their story:

I remember the day we confirmed our pregnancy with Eli. I was standing in the middle of my kindergarten classroom when the phone rang. I had been waiting all day to hear that sweet sound. Our reproductive endocrinologist was on the other end and I could hear the smile in his voice. "Mrs. Newman, you are pregnant!" He went on to give me some lab instructions and tell me my odds of a full term delivery (we had already beat the odds, using IVF to get pregnant). I just stood there in the middle of my kindergarten class with tears rolling down my face. This was what we had waited two years for. Finally a baby.

Our pregnancy was complicated: bed rest, bleeding, doubt and fear. But our little miracle stayed strong with us and soon we began to believe we would bring home a baby in May 2012. During my first trimester, all testing and ultrasounds looked good. I was released to my regular OB at 12 weeks. During my second trimester, some routine thyroid bloodwork was accidentally run as AFP testing instead. The day before our winter break, my doctor called to let me know that our son had screened positive for Down syndrome. To say that I laid on the floor and cried would be giving myself too much credit. I did not react well and looked for reassurance from my doctors immediately.

I was 26 and our son showed no markers on any ultrasound (we had one for every week of our pregnancy). This had to be a false positive. This had to be wrong. How could we go through two years of infertility, expensive IVF treatments only for our miracle baby to have something "wrong" with him? Gosh, it hurts every time I write it out or talk about it. Not because it's hard to talk about but because our son is absolutely amazing. Ultimately, we had the MaterniT 21 test performed to confirm the AFP results. The two week wait was the longest two weeks of our lives, but during that time God covered our family with so much peace and love. Right before we got the results, I knew. I knew in my heart our son had Down syndrome.
The MaterniT 21 test confirmed it.

I think you have to go through some kind of grieving process. We were no exception- we cried, we prayed, but we loved too. Our family and friends surrounded us. The Ds community embraced us like family, and we all held hands as we moved toward May.

Eli made an early arrival, April 28, 2012. It was one of the best moments of our lives. This little boy, with something a little extra, was celebrated. Instead of fear and worry, his birthday was full of love. If I knew what I know now, holding and looking at my child, I would have never worried. Eli is exactly as he should be. He's perfect. I know it's corny. But it's true. Your child is your child no matter what. We all have hopes and dreams for our children- the same ones for your children are the ones we have for Eli. But ultimately, all of that is up to him!

Eli is 17 months old now. He seems to operate contrary to the stereotypes we were so fearful of just a little over a year ago. Eli is a typical 17-month-old. He's taught us to embrace what this world gives us, to appreciate and celebrate the small things and to be grateful for the beautiful family we have been blessed with. Being a parent is the hard stuff. No one can predict what the future holds but the present is stunningly beautiful. We hope to spread acceptance, love and change while we balance our roles as mom and dad to some amazing little miracles.

To learn more about Those Newmans and their family, visit their blog at:

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