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!