Thursday, December 31, 2009

Baby's 1st Christmas!!

Christmas 2009

What a wonderful Christmas it was this year. I have always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it was different. I think being a mom and having a baby in the house is the reason why. It just means more. I was constantly reminded of my love for my 2 boys and couldn't have been any happier. My parents came into town from Chattanooga, TN on Wednesday, December 23rd. They were able to keep Jack Thursday while we went to work. When Michael and I got home, Jack was happy, dinner was served and family was all around. It was so nice to have them in St Louis. Friday, Mom and I took Jack out and we had lunch together and did some Christmas/ grocery shopping. That night we had a true southern dinner: country fried steak, homemade macaroni and cheese, pinto beans and fried okra! Not to mention, coconut cream pie for dessert..mmm :) It was so nice to spend time with them and to watch them hold and play with our son. I was so proud and content. We opened gifts with them on Sunday Morning:
 and more gifts

until Jack was in a sea of paper:

Jack so enjoyed his time with Grammy and Papa:

and we were all sad to see them leave on Monday, December 21st.  It was a wonderful visit, as I have 2 of the most wonderful parents in the world!!!  Thanks for coming up mom and dad!!

Christmas Eve, we all stayed home and watched Love Actually and Christmas Vacation and then went to church with our neighbors and friends, Jamie and Eric. It was a great time. I loved being in church with my 2 boys and singing Christmas carols and listening to the Christmas story. I couldn't help but think about Baby Jesus in the manger as I held my baby and listened. What a miracle and what a humble beginning for such a man.  I loved holding Jack during the service and singing those old songs to him...I was completely content.  Christmas morning Jack woke up at 6:00 and so I went into the nursery to feed him. I was planning to go back to bed to snuggle with Michael, but Michael woke up too and headed downstairs to make coffee.  After coffee, we turned on the video camera and started opening gifts:
It was so much fun!  Jack had no clue what he was doing, or what all the toys were, but he loved the paper and bows!! :)  We opened gifts from many people, Granpa and Busia, Gramma, Santa :), and many friends.  What a wonderful day.  We ate a huge breakfast and then had dinner that evening with close friends of ours, Jamie and Eric.  It was a very Merry Christmas!  I have so much to be thankful for.  What a good year it has been.  Thanks to all of you who have been a part of our lives and who have loved Jack alongside of us.  What a wonderful "vilage" we have to help us rear and love our son.  Thank you all and we hope you have a very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thinking of Castian and pieces of perspective

My life has been put into perspective today. Today is Tuesday, December 29th and a little 3 month old boy with Down Syndrome is about to have open heart surgery for heart defects in Canada. I know this because his mom, Arlene, is part of a social network called BabyCenter that I am a part of. I have met many women through this website…women who were pregnant the same time as me and women who have children with Down Syndrome.

Arlene is one of those women. I have read her posts regarding her little boy, Castian. She has been in the hospital since he was born (except for 4 days) waiting for this surgery. Surgery has been moved due to Castian having colds, fevers and due to the hospital not having enough space. She is ready for this surgery. He needs this surgery to survive and he needs it so he can go home and begin to have a “normal” infant existence with his 2 older sisters and his dad. I think back to when Jack was in the hospital for his duodenal atresia repair for 1 week or for when we were in the hospital for croup a few weeks ago and to when we will be in the hospital again Jan 29th for his hernia repair…all of those times I hated being there. I hated not having him home where it was comfortable and warm and safe. Where he wouldn’t be poked and prodded at. I hated not being able to hold or feed him without restriction…or worse of all not being able to hold or feed him at all. However, I knew all of those instances were absolutely necessary. And today I think of Arlene. She has not been home in quite some time and Castian was only at home for 4 days. She hasn’t seen her 2 daughters in quite a while. And so I pray for Arlene and Castian today. I pray that Arlene would have peace and strength. I pray that she feels how much love and how many prayers are being sent her way. I pray that God would heal little Castian’s heart. I pray that surgery would go smoothly and that he would be back in his room this evening feeling the joys of the start of recovery. I pray that he would wake up and smile…breathing easier and better.

I remember going to the Cardiologist the week after Jack was born. We had just found out that he had Down Syndrome and the 1st thing on the agenda was to see a Cardiologist. I remember waiting with Michael and holding Jack as they performed the tests. I remember trying to keep little Jack still during the ultrasound. And I remember hearing from the doc “He has a completely normal heart…no defects”. The doctor, Michael and I cried in celebration. I thank God for that news. I thank God that our Jack didn’t have to go through what little Castian is going through now. But I still feel Arlene’s pain. I know what it is to be a mom and what it is to have impossible, uncontrollable love for your son. And so I pray for them today. I cry for them today and I wait eagerly to hear how the surgery goes. And I am thankful for the piece of perspective given today…when everyone is complaining about the weather, having to go back to work, being tired, traffic, etc….when I hear all of these things, I am remembering a little boy in Canada fighting for his life and all the other things don’t even matter anymore. May God heal you Castian. And may today be a very, very good day for you and your family. I will hug my little boy and kiss him even more tonight than last night because of you. My prayers are with you both.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Creed of Babies with Down Syndrome

The Creed of Babies with Down syndrome

My face may be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in the heavens
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do it as you do
But at my own pace

***Edited to add that the author of this Creed is unknown. I wish I could take credit, but I can't. It is well written and very beautiful to read**