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Pondering all these things in my heart

I’m trying to decide whether it would have been better to be oblivious about Regina’s diagnoses until her birth, or have it the way it played out and fret about everything for 19-ish weeks. I guess this way is better. It might be more overwhelming to have all this dropped on our heads like a ton of bricks on the day of her delivery. I don’t know.

I have responded to the overwhelming feelings of anxiety for her by researching everything I can and joining every group that I find. Which, on the surface, sounds constructive, right? Instead of sitting around worrying, I can get up and do something! But, it hasn’t really proved helpful in practice. Turns out, Down syndrome has such a ridiculously wide spectrum of outcomes, it is impossible to predict where she will fall. Some are born perfectly healthy and can go home immediately, some have mild health issues and need a little time in the NICU, some have several serious health issues and spend months in the NICU. Some are born late, some are premature, some are born right near the due date. There is a higher risk of stillbirth and miscarriage. Some breastfeed straight out of the womb with no problems, some need help figuring out how to breastfeed, some take months to figure out how to breastfeed, some can never breastfeed, some need feeding tubes. I guess you get the idea of why I’m tearing my hair out. How can I possibly prepare with pretty much everything being up in the air?!!

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Joy

I feel like I have been remiss in my posts lately, because too many people have told me they have made them cry. As Christians, we are supposed to be a joyful people, so hopefully this post will seem more joyful. I will give it the old college try.  I really don’t want this blog to become a bummer, because we are even supposed to bear our sufferings joyfully. So mea culpa, I will try and do better. Unless you all were crying happy tears, in which case, carry on!

My OB called me yesterday with the results of the blood test. As I had expected, she told me the test results were positive for Trisomy 21, more commonly known as Down Syndrome. I know this is the part where I am supposed to say I cried and heard the news with a heavy heart, but the truth is, I didn’t. I just didn’t. I was relieved that it wasn’t a terminal diagnosis, and I felt grateful to know this information early so that Scott and I can go ahead and prepare. When I told Scott the news, he took it the same way that I did. Her little heart is what is first and foremost on our minds, and really the DS seems pretty trivial in comparison. There are plenty of resources and support out there for children with DS, and we know plenty of wonderful families with children with DS personally. So, I know this may sound strange to some people, but we really didn’t grieve the test results.

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A Name and a Diagnosis

First of all, thank you all so much for the overwhelming support and encouragement we have received after my last post. I get by with a little (A LOT OF) help from my friends. I am so honored and grateful that baby girl and we were benefitting from so many prayers.

Second of all, we decided on a name! We have never decided on a name this quickly and easily before. We usually agonize over it until practically the delivery. But I suggested to Scott one name for her, and Scott suggested the other, and we both loved each other’s suggestions. We will still be following our family tradition of calling her by her middle name, and her middle name is Regina. She is named after the Queen of Heaven, and I have dedicated her to Our Lady. Scott and I decided that her first name will be Matilde, named after my mother and grandmother. Matilde means “brave in battle,” so it seemed appropriate. It is good to have a name so that I can start praying for her by name.

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Some Difficult News

You know, I feel for the doctors who know that they are about to have to give parents or patients some troubling news. There we were, sitting in a pregnant (pun intended) silence as the perinatologist waved the ultrasound wand back and forth across my belly, looking at my baby’s heart from every possible angle. I felt like blurting out, “Ok, I know something is wrong. What is it?!” But instead we waited as the silence stretched out forever and I contented myself with praying.

First of all, the baby is a girl! Just call us the Bennets; although, quite frankly I don’t much like the idea of being Mrs. Bennet.  I promise not to call one of my daughters “the beautiful one” and try to force one of them to marry her cousin.

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Of Hummingbirds and my Dickensian Parenting

I’m always at a loss as to how to begin a blog post. I can never come up with something snappy like, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” or “Marley was dead: to begin with.” I wonder if these things come to one in a flash of brilliance or one spends years agonizing over it.

Well, my French lavender is dead: to begin with. It smelled so good and looked so hardy when my mom gave it to me for our wedding anniversary, but as soon as we put it in the ground it shriveled up and died. I’m still mourning its loss.

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In Honor of Our Anniversary: How We Met

Today marks seven years since I was joined in holy matrimony with my beloved. Predictably, I will commemorate this with a blog post.

You know how when you ask a couple how they met, they will either launch into an epic tale that takes at least three hours to recount, or they will merely tell you in one sentence? Well, hopefully, I will reach a happy medium between those two extremes.

Scott and I met in the hot Georgia August of 2003. It was the second week of our freshman year at UGA, and the air was rife with excitement of: “College! Parties! No parents! Freedom!!” I met a girl named Chelsi earlier in the summer during freshman orientation and we had become fast friends. We really bonded over how much we loved dancing. Together, we could tear up a dance floor, y’all. This fateful day, Chelsi and I were primping in her dorm room getting ready for a fun night out when her roommate burst in and declared that there was a dorm room downstairs that was Full. Of. Boys. As in, boys. Chelsi and I rolled our eyes because we were independent women who didn’t go chasing after boys. Obviously. But her roommate was insistent (twist our arms) so we went downstairs to check this boy situation out.

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A definitive guide to marriage and other stuff I have enjoyed while being a pregnant hermit

I’m always thirsty for pearls of knowledge regarding married life, because dedicating your entire life in union with another person is, you know, a hefty undertaking and I feel like I need all the help I can get. I was excited when Mama Nell and company were offering a Scripture study/workshop on marriage (I had Scott on board with doing the worksheets and activities and everything), but the study ran in June during the worst of my pregnancy nausea, so I missed the whole thing. I was so disappointed.

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(Not So) Cheerfully Suffering through the Morning Sickness

Legend has it that St. Lawrence was slowly burned to death on a hot gridiron for his faith. He was so holy that while he burned on one side he cheerfully quipped to his tormentors, “You can turn me over now. I’m done on this side.”

I have come to the conclusion that I am not that holy yet. This “morning sickness” has me wanting to crawl into a dark recess and wait for the end. But Scott gently reminded me that the morning sickness excuse can only go so far, and the blog must go on!

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The Great Announcement That Surprised No One

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After seeing negatives for a year, but jaw hit the floor. I really shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. Ruth was in the bathroom with me (because privacy isn’t a thing when you have young children) and I asked her how many lines she saw. “Two!” she said without hesitation.

“Do you know what that means?” I asked her, my eyes as wide as saucers.

She looked at me quizzically, as if to say, “Should I, Mom?”

“That means there is another baby in mommy’s belly!” I pronounced, and waited for dramatic effect.

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Weaning is Hard

I think my problem always comes from having preconceived notions about how my breastfeeding journey is going to play out with any particular child. I was fully committed to breastfeeding each child. Not because I subscribe to the “breast is best and formula is like feeding your child rocket fuel!” way of thinking, but because I am cheap. Formula is expensive, man! Like, we’re going to have to cut out some non-essentials and budget for this, expensive. I guess the rocket fuel manufacturers jealously hoard the stuff or something. I kid, I kid.

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