Blog #202~ Down syndrome, A New Beginning
So this just happened, I flew back to Texas over the weekend to be with my niece, who is also my God-daughter. Courtney recently gave birth to twin boys. Shortly after their birth last December, she called me with the news that one of the babies might have Down syndrome. The first thing I felt was excitement inside, knowing that God has many blessings coming her way. I told Courtney that everything was going to be okay, and that I’d be there for her every step of the way. I know this to be a fact, because I have been blessed for the past 24 years with my son, Nick.
My niece didn’t know that one of her twins would have Down syndrome until after she gave birth. Just as I did, the initial shock can take your breath away and a myriad of emotions come at you in waves. However, like me she has rolled up her sleeves and embraced this diagnosis fully. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
The twins Gannon and Greyson 🙂
Courtney jumped right in becoming an advocate for her son, Gannon. Last month, she gave a presentation to her older son’s elementary school class on World Down Syndrome Day……
For World Down Syndrome Day, Courtney had special shirts made for her immediate and extended family, as well as friends…….
Here’s my son, Nick wearing his shirt to support #gannonsjourney and World Down Syndrome Day….
There is a lot of love felt in their home, along with a load of testosterone, with four boys under one roof. Her two little dogs and cat lay on the couches close by, seemingly like protectors providing comfort as we sat and visited.
It was a great weekend holding, feeding and loving on the twins, along with a few games of Battleship, Candyland, Toilet Trouble and snap chat photos with the older boys. In between all of this, we had a chance to talk about our experiences together. During the course of these conversations, I flashed back 24 years ago when I gave birth to Nick. I told Courtney and her husband Patrick, how the pediatrician pointed out the initial markers that might indicate my son could have Down syndrome. My doctor gently showed me the brushfield spots in my babies eyes, the larger gap space between the first two toes, and the feeling of low muscle tone in his body. Courtney gasped when I mentioned my pediatricians name, she thought I was joking. It turns out that they have the same pediatrician as I did! Not only that, her husband (who also lived in this same area outside Houston) had Dr. K as his pediatrician growing up. Courtney started to cry as we found the similarities in our lives being so serendipitous. They were happy tears.
Who would ever predict that this little niece and God-daughter of mine would follow such a similar path? At the moment this photo was taken, 28 years ago I was just a doting aunt to her…..
Here we are 29 years later…..
In December, after the twins were born, her pediatrician pointed out similar markers of Gannon possibly having Down syndrome. I told Courtney over the phone, that she had this. She was already ahead of the game, with her experience having Nick as her cousin.
Courtney and Nick, 1994…..
Courtney and Nick, 2010………
I handed my niece this journal, on Saturday. It felt as though I was passing the baton over, as she starts her own journey…..
The journey will be filled with highs and lows as she navigates her son having Down syndrome. As the pen moves across each page, her eyes may be filled with tears during the struggles as he grows. But there will also be many smiles when he triumphs the milestones of crawling, sitting up, walking, feeding and so much more. Each benchmark will take longer to reach and require much more work. But that is what makes these victories even sweeter. My niece is just beginning this new path, and I both smile and take a deep breath inside, knowing what lies ahead. My son has changed my life forever and filled me with God’s grace. Like his cousin Nick, Gannon will touch many lives and teach lessons of gratitude in the process.
That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂
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