Guest post by Kayla Michael, Blake’s mom
May 9th, 2010, was a day that changed my life forever. It was Mother’s Day and I was 36 weeks along with my third child.
I had waited so long to become a mother again. Our first two children who were 11 and 9 were patiently awaiting the birth of their baby brother. I had no idea when I woke up early that morning in labor what the day would bring.
We arrived at the hospital so excited to meet our new little guy. Nothing could spoil our perfect day. Blake Andrew Michael arrived a few hours later by c-section and all seemed well. He was a tiny bundle of joy and seemed perfectly healthy.
Hours later, after I had came out of recovery and moved to a room, we were finally able to love on our little guy. After everyone got a chance to meet him and take turns passing him around for hugs and kisses my husband left to take the older kids home to get them settled in with my grandma. My parents stayed at the hospital to keep me company.
The pediatrician came in to give us an update on how her exam of Blake had gone. She asked if she could speak in front of my parents. I had no idea of what she was about to tell me. She said that after examining Blake she had reason to believe that he had Down syndrome.
She said that he had some small markers of Down syndrome and that he had low tone. I was in shock and didn’t know what to say. She showed us his tiny little hands and how he only had one crease along his palms, and then she showed us his wrinkled little feet and the gap between his big toes.
What she said next scared me the most. She said that most babies with Down syndrome are born with heart problems and that he would not be able to leave the hospital without having an echo done on his heart to determine if it had any defects. She then told me to take the time to love on my child and get to know him.
That statement confused me and scared me into thinking he might not live because why else would I need to focus on loving and getting to know him? I knew I would love him no matter what and nothing would keep me from bonding with my sweet little guy.
The days to follow were so scary and confusing. No one spoke about it or told us anything about Down syndrome or what to expect. I tried to put it all out of my mind; I was determined to love my little guy with all I had and enjoy every moment with him just like I had with my other children. I did not want her news to spoil this special time with my new blessing.
Believe me, I had my moments where I broke down and cried and wondered what could happen to him but most of all I loved him!
May 12 2010 we were given the all clear on his heart echo and we were able to leave the hospital and head home to begin what seemed like the longest wait ever to hear the official results of the Chromosomal testing. We hoped and prayed that maybe the doctor was wrong and he wouldn’t have Down syndrome after all.
At the same time I knew that I would love him just the same no matter what but no parent wants something to be wrong with their babies. We want them to be these perfect little bundles of joy, we don’t want to have to worry about what their future will be like.
A few days later I got the call and was told that the test did indeed confirm that he had Down syndrome. I made it through the call fine but broke down as soon as I hung up and called my husband to tell him the news. I cried and grieved over something I never thought I would hear as a mother. Then I started feeling guilty because I didn’t want Blake to ever think I didn’t want him the way God had made him.
I cried because I had been praying for nothing to be wrong with him and for him to be a perfect little baby. It was then that I realized that he was perfect and nothing was wrong with him. He was just the way God wanted him to be. At that very moment I remembered a friend of mine who prayed with me several times during my pregnancy with Blake. She always prayed for God to watch over me and give me just the baby that was meant for me. I realized then that was just what he did. He gave me Blake.
I won’t lie. It was still hard at times and I would break down from all the unknowns and start worrying about what his future would hold but at the same time I also knew that I would love Blake just the way he is and realized that there really is no such thing as a perfect child.
Every child has his or her own struggles in life and we all learn to love and accept them just the way they are. Blake is no different. We quickly got connected with our local Early Intervention Program and got him set up with therapy so he could start working toward meeting his milestones.
We knew we wanted to give him as much support and help as possible. We also got connected with our local Down syndrome organization so we could start receiving support for ourselves as well. One of the hardest parts about being a new parent of a child with Down syndrome is the unknown.
It helped to meet parents with older children who had been where we were and hear them tell us about their experiences and all that their children had overcome. It was so exciting meeting all the children and seeing all the different personalities and their love of life. It made me realize I didn’t need to worry about Blake’s future. I just needed to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Blake is now almost 3 and has blessed our family beyond belief! It is amazing what some people fear and believe will be a burden is really a beautiful wonderful gift. He has proven himself over and over and has overcome so many obstacles in his little life already.
It is true that children with Down syndrome have a harder time reaching milestones and learning new skills but believe me it does not stop them. Blake has worked very hard at all of his therapies and has been reaching all of his goals pretty quickly. He has been an inspiration to everyone who knows him and reminds us all to never give up and enjoy life to its fullest.
Nothing in life comes easy. We all have to work hard and sometimes we will fail but we need to remember not to give up. We all have different flaws and struggles. No one is truly perfect. If we look only for perfection we will be greatly disappointed.
Blake has taught us to enjoy the small things, to slow down and enjoy the journey, to never give up and most of all to LOVE. He has changed the way we look at others and not take anything for granted. I feel so blessed that God trusted us enough to send us Blake!
I wouldn’t change one thing about him and can’t imagine my life without him! As I said at the beginning of this story when Blake was born my life was changed forever, a change that I will be eternally grateful for. Blake has been the best Mother’s Day gift ever. He is a wonderful gift that will keep on giving for the rest of my life.
If you have a child with Down syndrome and would like to get connected to our local group, or if you don’t but would like to volunteer to help with our events please visit our website at www.dscnwa.com You can also follow Blake’s journey and learn more about him by visiting our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Blakesbuddies4ds
I love being able to share his story with others and tell them how much he has blessed our lives. I work hard to try to educate those who don’t know someone who has Down syndrome and show them that it isn’t something to fear.
The best way to become comfortable with something is to learn more about it, the more you know the less you will have to fear. Down syndrome is not a burden it is a blessing! Blake is a wonderful, amazing little boy who loves life and is more alike than different.
I hope you will take the time to get to know him or someone like him. Never judge a book by its cover and never doubt what any human is capable of. Every life has a meaning and a purpose.
I’m so glad that having Blake has helped me realize my purpose.
I will always be his biggest fan and advocate and I can’t wait to see what his future holds!
World Down Syndrome Day is on Thursday, March 21, to symbolize a third copy of the 21st chromosome in people with Down syndrome. Celebrate the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome on Thursday.