Lauryn's story is taken from a post on Jen's (and her friend, Julie's) blog, Sycamore Sisters:
On August 21st we will celebrate the birth of Little Lauryn. She came to us 6 weeks early, after months of weekly shots, monthly ultrasounds, weekly stress tests and a 3 week hospital stay while still in my womb.
Before she entered this world, we knew several things about her:
- She was strong-willed, persistent and determined. She was a fighter.
- She did things in her own way on her own time.
- She had a lot of hair!
- She was loved.
The moment I saw Lauryn, I KNEW. Immediately. Even when the doctors didn’t say anything about it as they were cleaning her up and “closing” me up. Even during that hour or so after her birth before my OB came to us to gently and compassionately tell us the news. I knew my baby girl had an extra chromosome…an extra 21st chromosome to be exact. This little girl…MY baby girl…had Down Syndrome.
I didn’t express what I felt to be true to anyone (except God), not even my husband, John. There was a chance I was wrong, but my heart and soul were telling me differently. Because no one had said specifically, “Your daughter has Down Syndrome”, I couldn’t be 100% certain, but I knew something was coming, and I knew it was going to be a tough swallow. I prayed for the strength and courage to be able to accept and handle all that I sensed was going to be before us. I so wanted to be strong…to be able to say, “This is okay – we will get through this…this is no big deal...” and fully mean it. But not a "big deal” was pretty much the opposite of how I felt…
It is hard to explain all of the emotions that come into play when the reality of having a child with Down Syndrome starts to sink in – strong, real and RAW emotions. Emotions such as anxiety (What will she be able to do?, How will we handle all of the extra care she may need?), fear (What will people think?, Will people accept her?, Does she have health issues?), sadness (She may not be able to do all the things other kids do., Will she have a “full” life?), anger (Why did this happen to us?, Why does OUR daughter have Down Syndrome?), and guilt (Why does it matter what others think – she’s our daughter?!, Are we failing to show her love because we are having negative emotions?). For several days, we lived on the roller coaster of these emotions. Even so, there was ALWAYS one emotion that was constant…consistent…ever-present. That was LOVE.
We loved this child with everything in our being. As we saw how everyone around her – her doctors and nurses…our friends…our family – most especially her siblings – connected with her and were instantly drawn to her, our anxieties and fears and sadness started to diminish to where eventually those feelings were pushed onto the back burners. Yes, they can sometimes creep up to the surface in a way to try to distract us from the positive outlook we try to maintain about the wonderful life Lauryn is going to have. Always, though, the overpowering love we feel for this little girl overcomes them.
Almost a year later, we know those same things we knew before she was born…and so much more…
- This little girl is strong-willed, persistent, and determined. She is a fighter.
Lauryn is one to defy the odds. Aside from a stay in the NICU for prematurity (and low tone) and a needed jump-start on eating, plagiocephaly, some ear trouble, and some obstructive sleep apnea, Lauryn currently has no serious health issues – no heart issues, no bowel issues, no thyroid issues, no eye issues. Based on a couple of the persistent prenatal concerns of calcifications in her abdomen and heart decelerations (and considering more than half of babies born with Down Syndrome have heart problems and/or other serious health issues), this really is a miracle!
- This little girl does things in her own way and in her own time.
Things don’t come as easily to Lauryn as they do for most typical babies/infants. This doesn’t stop her…and just when we think she may need some extra help with something, she proves us wrong. Her strong-will, persistence and determination come into play “big time” here!
Lauryn receives weekly occupational therapy, weekly physical therapy, and weekly speech therapy. What she is doing and learning in therapy is integrated into all we do...her hard work doesn’t stop after her 60 minute therapy session is over.
It often takes her a little longer (to meet milestones, etc.), but she does it. And the pride that every single person in our family (and her therapists) feel when she does something new is immeasurable. Lauryn has a look she gets that clearly states, “I am here to teach you all.”
- This little girl has a lot of hair!
Well, more than her big sister had for the first two years of her life, anyway! Right now, Lauryn often sports the cute trend of “helmet hair”, as it sticks right out the top of her helmet!
- This little girl is loved.
I’ve so often felt I couldn’t love my children more than I already do. So untrue! I am overcome at times with how much I love each of them, and how each of them (along with my husband) makes my life complete.
Lauryn has helped our family redefine love. She has opened our hearts and minds to a new world of awareness, acceptance and inclusion. She has helped us gain perspective and appreciation for enjoying and celebrating the little things, in addition to the bigger things. “Extra time” is no longer a negative – we all take extra time with Lauryn, and I have been able to allow myself to take that “extra time” with my other children, too. Last year at this time, I didn’t always take that extra time to savor precious moments – the most important moments – with my kids and/or John. I am nowhere near perfect, but even small improvement have impacted my ability to be “present” with my family and to make sure they know they are loved.
So, that “no big deal” feeling I tried to convince myself to have in the beginning wasn’t meant to be felt. This little girl IS a “big deal”…not because she has Down Syndrome…but because she is God’s Plan…and she is AMAZING.
We will celebrate Lauryn's 1st birthday this year. Of course we are going to have some sort of *shindig* to celebrate, but a big way we want to celebrate her birthday is by spreading awareness by inviting and encouraging our family and friends (and their family and friends) to be part of the 2011 Buddy Walk.
Our goal is to raise $2500 for Down Syndrome Indiana this year. That’s a lofty goal, but we are hopeful that we can reach it! Even the smallest amount makes a difference...it truly does.
We hope you will be able to join us for the walk and/or support Lauryn (Little Lauryn's League of Awesomeness) and Down Syndrome Indiana in any way you can!
Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support our fundraising efforts.
Many, many thanks for your support...you are wonderful!
Don't forget to help us make a difference by forwarding this on to family and friends and/or sharing information on Facebook, etc.!