I still remember when I found out I was pregnant. It wasn’t planned…Ooops! But I was so very excited! I absolutely love children and when I found out I was going to have one of my own, it was a sort of “ah ha” moment where I knew what I was meant to do. It was the first time in my life I felt whole, happy, and content in my own skin!
My pregnancy went really well for the first two trimesters! I was feeling great, eating well, looking pretty darn good for a preggo lady…but something just didn’t sit right. I had this feeling something wasn’t…right.
My fears started coming true at an ultrasound I had at 33 weeks. We were told baby was very small for her gestational age. Something we probably shouldn’t worry about, but should get looked into. Several weeks later we found ourselves in a specialists office in Saskatoon and were told the most terrifying news. “There’s something wrong with your babies heart.”
My world began to fall apart at that moment. I was admitted for hypertension (no doubt…they took my blood pressure immediately after telling me that!) and spent 6 days in the hospital with no answers. Finally we were told we had to have baby that day due to complications cause by my hypertension. I was so scared, so many questions still not answered! They didn’t even know how serious her heart defect was!
Thankfully, after an emergency C-section, my Ava came into this world bigger and healthier than they had thought! After a quick hello she was taken to the NICU for further examination and to possibly be placed on oxygen.
I felt relief, this must be what my “mothers intuition” was telling me the whole time. She was okay, for the time being, and I was able to be happy as a new mother. Those feelings didn’t last long when we were asked to come down to the NICU to speak with the Dr. there.
“We think your baby has Down Syndrome” was what he said, and that’s about all we were told. They gave us reasons due to the markers and her heart condition…but I didn’t listen. When we were told Down Syndrome, my mind went blank, my heart broke and I just cried.
I can tell you it’s one of the hardest things one will ever hear, but by far not the worst. After a few weeks of healing from the news, I began to embrace the situation and my love for my baby girl (which was always there) continued to grow.
After dealing with her diagnosis, we began to prepare for her open heart surgery that would take place somewhere around 6 months. My baby girl went into her operation at 10lbs and came out so very sick and fragile, but on the mend. It was not easy, I can tell you that much. We spent 5 long weeks in the hospital fighting through her heart healing, her kidneys failing, her morphine withdrawal…but she did it! She fought so hard and so strong, she’s the most amazing child I know…and she’s mine! (can you see the ENORMOUS pride I have for my little peanut!? 🙂 )
When a parent finds out their child has Down Syndrome, or any other birth defect, I’m sure it’s all the same…they feel lost, scared, alone…oh so very alone! But I can tell you we are not. There are so many amazing families, parents, and organizations who are there for support.
That’s why I am SOOO happy I have found The Tiny Light Foundation. It’s a group of photographers from all over Canada who are coming together to help out families who are given a diagnosis that will forever change their lives. This is a way I feel I can give back! My Ava and my family have been shown so much kindness, love and support and I just need to do something in return. I have been wanting to join an organization like this for months and months and I finally found it! The Foundation is brand new and already gaining so much momentum!
If you know of anyone who may benefit from this organization, please look into The Tiny Light Foundation. There are already around 80 photographers signed up and this organization was founded in December of 2010! It’s amazing, it’s wonderful and it’s a way we can help the families of children who are given a life altering diagnosis.
Thanks so much!