Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't worry, Mommy...Don't worry!

The last two days have been pretty good- other than the fact that I am always aware of this little peanut in my belly. And that makes my mind wander. I find myself thinking a lot about what he'll look like. I'm grappling and grieving about the fact that he may not look like us...that he may look different from other babies & kids his age as he grows up. I feel sure that once I look into his eyes, he'll be beautiful to me, but I still worry. Growing up as a dancer in the entertainment world, I saw how much looks are revered. And I can acknowledge that my looks have not hurt me in life. (Wow. Did I say that out loud?) But, it's true.

I had a dream about Peanut last night. I dreamt that he was really healthy and beautiful... a little different...but still Gerber baby beautiful, and that he looked a lot like Christian. ...only he had one 'floppy' ear (his left one), but his right ear was exactly like an ear should be. It was cute. In the dream, my Mom was trying to push his ear up and reminding me that kids have their ears 'pinned back' all of the time. I said, "No, Mom. It's okay. This is a common trait with babies with Down Syndrome." I woke up secretly hoping that this was some sort of a premonition and not just an ordinary dream... I told my Mom about the dream today and she thought it was interesting that she was "trying to make everything alright"- that it was a subconscious rendering of how she really is. I think it was probably a little of my subconscious wanting everything to be alright too. Besides, what Mother wouldn't want to make everything alright for her kids? I'm personally glad to have a Mom who wants everything to be right for me. And I'm not ashamed that I seem to have inherited that trait too.

I find myself taking a little more time with Christian each day and kissing him more (If that is possible!) I am nervous about all of the attention that will have to be paid to Peanut with therapies and such, and am going to make a very conscious effort to spend quality time with Christian too. I know he'll be an amazing big brother. He got a baby doll for Christmas (a girl doll, though, thanks to the sexist marketing happening at Target & other retail stores! See the picture above.) It is incredibly precious to see how much he likes to feed the baby & watch it fall asleep. (Although, we will have to keep an eye on him when Peanut actually comes along, because we did see him "feeding" his baby a screw driver & cereal...not exactly appropriate infant food!) :)

Last thought: I was driving home with Christian yesterday (from a great day at KidSpace Museum with friends) and my mind was wandering onto the details of Peanut's life. Suddenly Christian says, out of the blue, "Don't worry, Mommy...Don't worry!"
Ahhhh...the wisdom that a two and a half year old can share is mind boggling!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The ALMOST faux pas

December 28, 2009 (Still 21 weeks pregnant)

Have you ever asked someone if they are pregnant when they're not? Or asked if someone was a drag queen and they weren't (oops...sorry...guess that was just me!!) Well, I've made my share of faux pas over the years and so I made a quick decision today to leap into another possibly mortifying question:
I saw a woman at the park with 2 girls- one who looked about Christian's age, but had a different look to her eyes and seemed slightly delayed. I thought for sure she had Down Syndrome, but if it was, her features were very mild in relation to DS. But, I am dying to feel like I am not the only one going through this, so I took a gulp and said, "Can I ask you something? Does your daughter have Down Syndrome?" (Insert massive heart racing here) She said, "No, actually she doesn't." (Oh God.) "But, she does have a genetic abnormality that is very unusual. I get asked if she has Down Syndrome all of the time." (Okay...survivably embarassing.) I had a great talk with her after explaining why I asked the question. She was really reassuring that there is a large Down Syndrome community and living in LA, we should be able to find a lot of resources. It struck me that as alone as I feel, she must really struggle with the isolation of a genetic condition so rare that there are no support groups or online networks. Even still, she talked about how her youngest daughter really is a gift to her- in a way different than her older daughter was. She also talked about the challenges, mostly having to do with the tireless work of getting her child to therapies every day of the week. It was good to talk to someone in person, even if our situations are not quite the same.

Then, Christian & I met Denise Richards, who let Christian hold her teeny tiny puppy. So L.A.! :)

Last thought for now: I met a woman online who has a blog about her daughter with DS and I checked it out today. She has her personal updates but also articles and other interesting items about DS on her page. One article was entitled, "If Adults with Down Syndrome Ruled the World". It was so cute-mentioning the love, compassion and slower pace of exploring the world that people with DS seem to possess. And I thought, "Oh, Lord, you really are going to be teaching me a new lesson aren't you? My Type A personality is going to take a big hit, I can tell!"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ramblings when you don't know where, or with who, to ramble...

December 27, 2009- (21 weeks pregnant)

I used to journal... a lot..then there was Charles (who actually was a healthy relationship, and someone whom I didn't have to fill tear stained pages of journals about). Next, came my precious Christian, now 2 and a half years old, and who fills my days with that toddler energy that doesn't allow much time for journaling and self introspection. But now there will be baby-boy-yet-to-be-named (herein to be called "peanut") who I already need a source of journaling about...and since I'm Keeping-up-with-the-times-Mommy, I figured I'd try my hand at a blog.

The reason I need to blog about peanut can all be boiled down to one moment- the moment I call the "AFTER". Everything before it is the "BEFORE". The "AFTER" happened like this:
I was frantically collecting myself and Christian to get out the door for our morning workout, when I get a 'no caller id' phone call. I pick it up. A bubbly voice on the other end says, "This is Megan, calling from Dr. Jidali's office. We got the results of your amnio in and unfortunately, your baby has Down Syndrome."
..................................................Long pause for shock, grief, disbelief, irritation at the upbeat voice that had me falsely thinking, 'Must be good news or she wouldn't be so bubbly. And who the hell is Megan???' What I think I actually said was, "Ummmm..." Megan's follow up: "So, would you like to come in to the office or do you have any questions?" (This is one of those moments that you dream about re-doing with thick sarcasm.) But instead, I said, "I think I need to talk to my family. I'll call you back."
Hence, the AFTER. I actually look at things and dates and people and think, "Oh, that was from BEFORE."

My family is amazing. My friends are amazing. But we all know next to nothing about Down Syndrome. And I feel very alone. The numbers are something like 1 baby with Down Syndrome is born to approximately every 700-something births. That, to me, is not exactly common. When I was pregnant with Christian I didn't know what I was doing or how I would be as a Mom, but I passed dozens of other pregnant women every day and thought, "She probably doesn't know what she's doing either, and somehow we'll figure it out." The safety in numbers thing, I guess. Most days I'm fairly optimistic. I've heard some stories and talked to some other parents with a child with Down Syndrome (DS). They all talk about a specialness to their child they never dreamed of. All mention how challenging it is at times. I am having feelings and fears and hopes and thoughts every day and I'm not really sure who to talk to. The overall consensus is "that if anyone can do it, Jen, you can do it!" That is extremely comforting to think that my friends and family think that I will rise to the challenge. And I the best of my ability. However, I need to ramble...Will he even look like us at all? Will he be sick with one condition or another all of the time? Will he be short? Will he beat odds? Will he be high functioning? Medium? Low? Will it matter to me? Will I...Will never ends.

Sigh. It's been a little over 3 weeks since we got the news. I still have people to tell. The worst is when I tell someone or email someone and they either say nothing or don't respond. I know that they're probably thinking I need my space or that they'll say the wrong thing. I don't blame them at all.

Well, I do want to make sure I'm not throwing a pity party for one, because although I may feel that on occasion, I am also excited about our little peanut, feeling great in my pregnancy and generally optimistic that our little peanut will defy odds. So, that's my rambling for now and it feels pretty good to have an outlet. I'll ramble more soon...