Like Cadie, I always enjoy taking part in Shauna’s annual month long blog-a-thon. I thought I would post what went through my head in the days following Reagan’s birth in case someone out there can be helped by my experience. For those of you who frequent Facebook, and if you’re anything like me (or Shauna) it’s frequent, you know that Facebook has recently added a feature called “memories” that pop up occasionally on your news feed that recall Facebook posts or interactions you made on that particular day through the years. A few days ago a picture of Reagan’s that was originally posted 5 years ago popped up on my news feed and it reminded me of her birth and the days that immediately followed.
The months before her birth were pretty routine and besides one little test that gave a very small indication of a possibility of Down’s Syndrome all her tests came back normal and that we could expect a normal pregnancy but for some reason I knew she had DS, despite telling myself that I was just being paranoid, I knew but didn’t really want to think of what that would mean in case my sense was wrong. When she was born and she got the diagnosis, there was no time to think about the future. There was talk of NICU and heart issues and it was the weekend so the Pediatrician’s office would be closed and so many decisions needed to be made seemingly instantly. So needless to say the first few days after she was born was scary, and anxious, and fuzzy. It wasn’t until after three or four days, after we were able to get her to the Pediatrician and were assured that she was fine for now, that the whole idea of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome hit me and how it would impact the future.
If you’re a parent, I don’t think I have to tell you how when you learn that you’re going to be a Dad, thoughts of the future pop into your head. You’ll have thoughts of playing catch, or teaching them how to swing a bat, or help them learn to drive, or take pictures of them when they go to Homecoming or Prom, or just be there to be a shoulder to cry on when a date goes poorly, or seeing them graduate, or walking them down the aisle or etc. etc…. I would be lying if I said that those thoughts don’t change or even disappear once you find out your child has Down’s Syndrome and I would also be lying if I said that that didn’t make me a little sad. Is that vanity? Is it that to some large degree we all want to live vicariously through our kids? But, I have this discussion with Shauna from time to time, while looking back at those early days and watching Reagan as we BOTH grow together. And I always finish it with this idea: Being a father of a child with Down’s Syndrome is AWESOME! It has a quality that you will never know unless you experience it for yourself. She is the heart of this family and she can bring brightness to even the saddest of days! In just five years she has taught all of us in our little family and beyond about the dangers of expectations! I don’t worry about the future anymore, I don’t worry about her, and because of her independence, I know that she can achieve everything SHE dreams of.