Gratitude with TBB

Mommy diaries: Alison

Meet Alison:  
I admire her ability to always seem to be in a great mood.  I rarely see her grumpy.
I enjoy our catch up sessions whenever I've back in P.A.
I am thankful for the blessing her children have had in my life.
I think other moms would benefit from her cheery disposition and sense of style.  You should also see her interior decorating skills. Top notch!

Alison is one of my oldest friends and I share a very close bond with her that never can really be broken, regardless the distance between us, or how often we talk.  We both lost a best friend together.  You learn not to take friendships for granted  when someone special is taken from your lives.  Kelly brings us closer.  That's one of the many gifts I've gotten from her life in her passing.  I could go on about the hidden gifts in terrible times, but that'll have to be another post for another day.


Shortly after Kelly passed away, Alison was blessed with a pregnancy. Only one month after her wedding!  She always said it was Kelly giving her a gift from heaven and I couldn't agree more.  
I'll let her tell you her story:
My journey into motherhood has been and still continues to be a very interesting and wonderful journey.  From the moment you find out you are pregnant you are worried about your babies health and safety.  Will he/she have 10 fingers and toes, will he/she be healthy, am I eating right and on and on and on..........Little do we all know that the worrying doesn't stop once you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, it only intensifies as the years go on!  That being said, I don't have one specific piece of advice that I feel is the BEST piece of advice and will answer all of the struggles you may face as a parent.  However, one lesson in parenting that I was taught very early and am constantly trying to learn and apply with everyday that passes is "DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER"

I have a wonderful son by the name of Noah who is 8.5 years old and has Down's Syndrome. Noah was my first baby. It was an unplanned pregnancy. I had just gotten married and was unexpectedly but pleasantly surprised I was pregnant one month later. I was only 22 years old when I got pregnant with Noah. It was sooooo weird because from the moment I found out I was pregnant, my husband was so concerned the baby was going to have Down's Syndrome. We would even pray together every night before bed that our baby didn’t have Down's!! At my 18 week ultrasound my husband asked the technician if there were any signs of the baby having Down's Syndrome. The ultrasound technician was rather confused as to why my husband would be asking such an unusual question with no reasonable explanation as to why he thought our baby would have Down's. The ultrasound tech responded by saying that given my age "my odds were better at winning the lottery and that I was too young to have a baby with Down's".

Well, 19 weeks later, on May 30th, 2002 I won the lottery!!!!! Noah Michael David Bell was born!

When Noah was first born nothing was said about Down's. I was having troubles breastfeeding him but nothing was ever said that he may have had Down's Syndrome. Noah was such a beautiful baby and had the face of a porcelain doll. I had to stay in the hospital for 5 days because Noah would not latch on to breastfeed. Then on the day we were discharged from the hospital, and I literally had Noah's baby car seat in hand about to leave the hospital with my beautiful newborn baby boy and the doctor casually says "OH BY THE WAY". Never in a million years did I expect him to say "One of our nurses mentioned she thought maybe your baby has Down's Syndrome but I have checked him over and he does not show any of the physical characteristics of a baby with Down's Syndrome so just keep an eye on him and come back to see me in 6 weeks if you have any concerns and we will have him tested"???????? I will never forget my husband was grabbing a diaper from the change table and the diaper instantly dropped to the floor, just like my stomach. I thought (pardon my french) WTF JUST HAPPENED?  The most happy joyous moment of my life, bringing my newborn baby boy home, just turned into what I thought at the time, was a horrible nightmare.

Over the next two weeks I experienced every emotion possible. I felt so guilty at the time for feeling all of these horrible emotions towards my newborn baby. I was angry and thought WHY ME???? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS? I AM ONLY 23 YEARS OLD!! I felt I wasn't prepared enough to care for a newborn baby, let alone one with a "DISABILITY"! In my mind, the baby boy I had envisioned having had died and I was left with this "new one" that would pose all of these challenges and make life stressful and difficult. My life had become a roller coaster of emotions and not the emotions or feelings I thought I would have after having my first baby! One day I would think he didn’t have Down's Syndrome and then the next day I would look at him and break down crying because I just knew that he did.

Approximately two weeks after he was born we took him to the hospital for the dreaded blood test. It was horrible. The doctors couldn't find a vein to get blood from so they were poking and prodding Noah and he was hysterical. Then they didn’t know where to send the blood to be tested. Approximately one week after the blood was taken, the doctor called. I refused to go into the doctor's office for the results and sent my husband alone. I somehow thought that if I didn’t have to hear the words "Your son has Down's Syndrome" I could go on believing and pretending that he didn’t. My husband returned an hour later to tell me "Noah has trisonomy 21". My world was flipped even more upside down now than before. It was confirmed. There was no more denying it.

I'm not going to lie and pretend, saying I instantly snapped out of it and decided to take this challenge and face it head on immediately. It was a roller coaster ride and still is a roller coaster ride some days. But one thing I definitely have to to say is that I wouldn’t give NOAH up for the world! He has brought such AMAZING dynamic, spirit, laughter and joy into our family and our friend's families. He is truly a blessing and an angel sent to us from GOD.

I have since had two more kids, Emma who turned 7 years on December 19 and Reese who turned 3  September 26. They LOVE Noah so much and he is ALWAYS looking out for them.  If they are hurt, Noah is the first one to come running.  If they are crying, he will sometimes cry with them and wipe away their tears.  If they need something, he is usually the first one they will ask because they know he won't say no.  He LOVES them unconditionally. 

The insight Noah has given me as to what life is all about is unexplainable. I'm not going to lie and say that raising a child with Down's Syndrome doesn't pose its challenges some days but what part of raising ANY child doesn’t have its challenges, right?? But the unconditional love and happiness that Noah brings into our lives everyday is UNEXPLAINABLE!  All three of my children have incredible strengths and qualities they offer to my family and society.  Everyday they are teaching me new life lessons and the importance of unconditional love.  I made the mistake of judging Noah when the doctor said he had  Down's Syndrome.  I gave him the "disability" by placing limitations on what his "ABILITIES" would be just because he had Down's Syndrome.  Over the years, I have come to notice that every child has its own set of strengths and weaknesses and that Noah has abilities that his sisters don't.  I constantly have to remind myself daily that Noah can do anything he puts his mind to.  If he doesn't know how to do something he can learn if we take the time to teach him.  It may take him longer to learn something or we may have to teach him something in a different way than we would teach our girls, but he can do anything he puts his mind to!  The sky is the limit for any child no matter what their age, gender, race or ABILITIES!
Just don't "judge a book by it's cover"!
Cheers!!
-Alison





 

Comments

  1. Great post Deena. Wonderful story Alison! I can somewhat relate, as we have been on different, yet simular rollercoaster ride with our daughter. And it is so true the sky is the limit for every child!

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  2. Well written Alison! Your kids are so sweet!

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  3. thanks for sharing your thoughts Alison - you are inspiring!

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