Thursday, June 12, 2014

Healthy Redefined

"Just as long as it's healthy."

New moms and dads have said this for probably centuries.  We don't care whether we have a boy or a girl, just as long as he or she is healthy.  It sounds very reasonable and loving.

But exactly what is healthy?  "Normal"?  Having 2 arms and 2 legs?  I've never thought about this question, never once considered what I really meant as I uttered those same words throughout my pregnancies.

And then came Cade.

When we first found out that he might have Down syndrome, we had a long wait before we found out for sure.  During that month, I often begged God to "Please, just make him be healthy."  And I realized then that when I said healthy, I meant "normal".  I meant that I wanted him to be just like our other two children, typically developing in every way.

And when we found out that he would, indeed, have Down syndrome, my research uncovered a huge list of potential medical issues common to Down syndrome.  Heart defects topped the list...60% of kids with Ds have some sort of heart defect.  A great many require surgery.  Another very common issue is duodenal atresia, in which the bowel doesn't develop quite right.  Also requiring surgery.  And so on.

Quite abruptly, my definition of "healthy" was redefined.  As my pregnancy progressed, "healthy" became "no heart defects".  And then when we discovered that he did have several heart defects, my definition shifted to "nothing requiring surgery".

When Cade was born, most serious issues were ruled out and I announced to the world that my son was perfectly healthy.  Yes, he has Down syndrome.  Yes, he still has a small VSD heart defect.  But he is perfectly, wonderfully healthy.  My prayers were answered 100%.

Now that we're 14 months into this journey, I've met so many mothers from around the world.  My definition of "healthy" has been refined even further.  I've met mamas who are grateful that their babies are alive at all, struggling with Trisomies that are usually fatal, like Trisomy 13 or 18.  Now..."as long as she's alive" seems appropriate.

Life = Healthy

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Soooo sleepy...


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