Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Honestly, I was a little pompous in my idea that I had reached the finish line. Beth was 25 and I was basically done! Woo hoo!! Let me impart my wisdom on you! Yea, now it's time for me to eat some humble pie.
I have been reading your blogs and am humbled at your lives. You are experiencing moments with your children that leave me breathless. The various diagnosis you've received fill my eyes with tears and my heart with pain. Some of you hear it from the doctors year after year! Yet you wake up the next day and you keep going.
You are an inspiration to me!! Your determination to live life despite your circumstances has given me hope and reminded me to always look for the good in life. I tend to be a pessimist but your blogs are changing me! Keep writing! You are making a difference in the lives of others!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Most of us don't like to go to the dentist, but they do help us keep our teeth clean and healthy. Beth went to the dentist this week. She had to have two fillings. I've actually fainted at the dentist, but Beth does so well.
She gets nervous when they lay the chair back and raise it up, but she doesn't cry or anything! She holds onto the arm rests and sometimes she shakes a little. But she is amazing! When the dentist is finished, she sits up and says she's ready to go! I wish I was as brave as her!
She's my hero!!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Beth helped us set up for the shower, moving tables, arranging chairs and just helping where needed. She worked so hard she actually fell asleep in the middle of all the excitement! Pictures to come later. :)
Tomorrow we leave for vacation! We are driving to San Diego to visit family and friends and for my high school reunion. We haven't been on a road trip in more than two years and are definitely looking forward to this! Our kids have grown up taking road trips and I believe this will be number 35 for us.
I always make a packing list with 6 columns: one for the actual list, then 5 more with each of our names at the top. Beth took a giant suitcase into her room along with the list and began filling it up! When she put in some shirts, she'd put a check mark in the column with her name at the top. Then her pants, check. Shoes, check. She loves this! I let her do her own packing, but always double check it before we leave.
And speaking of packing, I need to go fill my suitcase! Clothes, check. Vitamins, check. Camera, check.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
We asked her what she wanted to do on her actual birthday, October 10 and of course she said bowling! So the whole family drove to Spin Alley and bowled two games. We cheated a little by using bumpers, but you've never seen Beth's sad face when she gets a gutter ball! :(The next stop was Red Robin. I don't think she liked having the balloons around her neck.
After Red Robin, we came home and she opened all her presents!! She got movies and music and games and even a beautiful pink scarf from Sharaya and Ryan! What a fun day!
Happy, Happy Birthday Beth!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
We called each of our family members and asked them to come to the hospital. We were holding Beth as we explained the limits and uncertainty of Down Syndrome. Beth was passed from one set of waiting arms to the next. They cried, they held her close and we knew, they were going to love her too.
The next couple of days brought an endless stream of visitors. Friends, extended family, doctors, specialists, therapists. During the few moments we had alone with Beth, we tried to familiarize ourselves with all the things that come with having a new baby. Never mind the Down Syndrome, how do you clean the belly button?! What about bath time, do I even dare touch the soft spot?! It was for this reason we decided to take the 'first time parents' class the hospital was offering.
The day for the class arrived and the hall was soon filled with slow moving moms. We all settled into the rocking chairs that had been placed in a circle around the room. As soon as the nurse began, she was interrupted. Another nurse looked right at me, "Cindy, your husband has been in an auto accident and is downstairs in emergency." I stood up, completely in shock and followed the nurse out of the room. Chuck is a large man and I knew he wouldn't be brought to the ER if it wasn't serious. I was unable to see him due to the sterile conditions downstairs and had to be content to just talk with him on the phone. I felt a little better after hearing his voice, but still called my mom and asked her to come. It took 5 hours for them to clean him up enough to release him. He came upstairs and told us his story.
He was leaving work to come to the hospital and slammed into the back of a flat bed pick up truck. He never saw the truck and so was going the full speed of 45 miles per hour. As he tells it, "I heard crunching so I closed my eyes and slammed on the brakes. When everything was quiet, I opened my eyes and the corner of the flat bed was 6 inches from my face."
The Lord had been with him in that truck. We later learned that an Elder in our church had a dream that Chuck, me and our baby were all killed in an auto accident. He got together with the other Elders and they prayed for Gods protection around all of us. Chuck came away from that accident with only scratches and bruises. Not even one broken bone!!
So with no car, Chuck out of work for a while and me recovering from emergency surgery, we began the life of a family with a special needs child. Social workers stopped by our house; physical therapists came to work with Beth; we joined support groups. Looking back now, I don't know how on earth we survived. But I do know that God has met our needs time and time again. He has walked this path with us, lighting the way when we didn't know where to turn. He has used our family and friends to give us hope when we thought hope was gone.
Beth turns 25 on Saturday, Oct 10 and we can't imagine our lives without her! She is the puzzle piece that completes our family! It has been a journey we didn't expect, but one we wouldn't trade for anything in the world!
Friday, October 2, 2009
Doctor Maloney was a fantastic doctor, a grandfatherly type with a great bedside manner. He made you feel like a member of his family, rather than a patient. He told us that my water had actually ruptured the day before and our baby was at risk. He wanted to perform an emergency c-section.
After all these years, I can still remember the rhythm of those ceiling lights as they wheeled me down the hall and into the operating room. I was so relieved to see Chuck walk into that room, but noticed the small green hat barely covered his thinning blonde hair! We listened to the doctors talk about their vacations and their families, then a baby cried. "It's a girl!" Our baby girl!
Elizabeth Meigan! We had picked out the name months before. They wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to Chuck. He held her out for me to see; she was the most beautiful child ever born! As the anesthetic took over my senses and I drifted off to sleep, Chuck took Beth to the nursery to be weighed and measured. The pediatrician on call looked at Chuck, "Did you know your baby has Down Syndrome?"
Chuck went out to tell the family that Beth and I were both doing well, but didn't mention anything about this stunning news. The nurses put Beth in the nursery window and our family gathered around to get a good look. They commented about her perfect, little round head, they hugged each other; but no one noticed what the doctors had discovered just moments before.
Chuck drove home that night, keeping this shattering news to himself. He prayed and asked the Lord if there was anything he could have done to prevent this. John 9:1-3 came to his mind, when the disciples ask Jesus who is to blame for the man born blind. Jesus tells them that no one is to blame, but that this happened so the work of God would be revealed in his life. Chuck crawled into bed and closed his eyes, but unlike most nights, it took him a long time to fall asleep.
As Chuck was hearing those mind-numbing words the night before, I was being wheeled into recovery, then to my room where I slept hard all night. The next morning my pediatrician came in and sat on the edge of the bed. He told me that Beth was showing signs of Down Syndrome. He talked about chromosome tests, specialists, therapy... his words drifted off into the air. I remember something about chromosomes from Biology class. Why didn't I notice last night? Does Chuck know?? As the doctors words filled my mind again, I found myself crying uncontrollably. My phone call woke Chuck. He could tell by my tears that I knew. He came to the hospital and pulled a chair up beside the bed. He took my hands and through his tears he asked, "We can still love her, can't we?"
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Beth is... usually content.
Beth is... funny. We were at a restuarant when another family was ushered by our table on the way to their own. The daughter was wearing a short blouse which showed her belly button ring. After they passed, Beth looked at us and exclaimed, "THAT'S gotta hurt!"
Beth preferes to drink with a straw.
Beth's favorite activity is bowling.
Beth drinks approximately 1/2 gallon of milk a day.
Beth does not like chocolate milk.
Beth loves to sing. Especially musicals.
Beth has 4 Special Olympic medals; 2 Bronze, 1 Silver and 1 Gold.
Beth refers to any buffet restaurant as Pass The Plate.
Beth's favorite Jonahs Brother is Nick and she literally sobs when she sees him on TV with another girl. :(
Beth has driven a car... once, about 30 yards in an empty parkinglot.
Beth always gets the #11 meal at McDonalds.
Beth's favorite ice cream is Mint Chocolate Chip.
Beth calls her dad Dude. He calls her Dudette.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Tuesday night was better. She got ready for bed at a more reasonable hour, but was not a happy camper when I took away her CD player. However, Wednesday morning she turned off her alarm and started getting ready for her day!! Woo hoo!
Again last night she didn't want to go to sleep. However, this morning when that alarm began to buzz, she got up on her own, and immediately got ready for work! Success!!
Tomorrow is her day off and I've told her she can stay up as late as she wants, so I fully expect to do this routine again Sunday night. But for now, I think we're breaking this late night habit!
Monday, August 31, 2009
On one such morning recently, after I prodded and pushed her to get up, get dressed and get ready for her bus, she stormed out of the house, yelled, "Stupid family!" and slammed the front door. *Sigh.* When she got home that afternoon, in a good mood I might add (she seldom stays mad for long) I talked to her about her attitude that morning. I told her that starting next week, she was going to have to go to bed earlier. Not wanting to give her a 'bedtime' (afterall, she IS almost 25) I told her there would be a 'lights out'. No TV, no music and no singing after a certain time. She was very accepting and agreed to the new rule. That was last week.
The new rule starts tonight. I reminded her again today and she nodded her head like, "Yea, yea, I know." I'll let you know how it goes!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
People with Down Syndrome have a reputation for having two speeds, slow and slower. Therefore, if people with Down Syndrome ran the world:
Last minute changes would be strongly discouraged (if not considered rude and offensive.)
There would be more tolerance for repeating the same phrase or question.
Stopping to smell the roses would not be just a cliche'.
Art and music appreciation would be BIG.
Acting and theatrical arts would be encouraged for all.
The President's commission on physical fitness would probably recommend dancing.
Music of the 60's, 70's and 80's would be BIG.
Musicals would be very, very, very big, such as Grease and Sound of Music.
John Travolta would be the biggest star. (For Beth, it's Donny Osmond.) :]
There would be fewer movies, but they would be played over and over.
Movie theatres would allow people to talk out loud to tell what happens next.
Work time would be work time and vacation would be vacation.
They are visual learners so all instruction would include pictures.
People would not hurt the feelings of others.
People would be expected to keep their promises.
As I get ready to post this, I can hear Beth in her bedroom singing at the top of her lungs, "We'll always be together! Always, be together!" Can you see Danny and Sandy 'flying' above the group in their car...??