When Chuck came into my hospital room the next day, he came over to the side of my bed, took my hand and said, "We can still love her, can't we?" To be honest, I had never considered giving her up. It never even crossed my mind, but when he said that I knew that he felt the same way and we'd definitely be taking Beth home.
Then the doctor came in and told us our options. We could take her home, we could put her up for adoption, or we could put her in an institution. I was surprised that putting your baby in an institution was still an option in the 80's, I thought that wasn't done anymore. I remember being shocked that he even suggested it. I don't know what options they give parents today but I hope that's not one of them.
We told him that our decision was made, we'd bring her home. From that point on, everything was geared for that. The nurses taught me how to nurse her, and watched me dress her for the first time. Everyone's plan was for us to take Beth home and it really helped me feel 'normal'. There were so many other things that put me in a different category from all the other new moms and I was so thankful that the hospital staff didn't question us or treat us any differently. Once our decision was made, that was that.
Chuck and I were worried about how our family would respond to her diagnosis and we even talked about how we should tell them. We decided it would be better if they all found out at the same time and we started calling everyone and asked them to come to the hospital. Of course while we had them on the phone, everyone asked if I was alright and then they'd ask if Beth was okay but we just told them that there were some things we needed to talk to them about.
I was holding Beth when they all trickled in. We definitely wanted Beth there when we told them. We said she was showing signs of Down Syndrome, then we kind of held our breath for a minute. But we didn't need to worry because they were so supportive! One by one they started asking us questions about Down Syndrome, about what her development would be like, and they all wanted to hold her.
Even with family support we knew it wouldn't be easy. Actually we didn't know what it would be like, but we knew we would take her home, love her and just take life one day at a time. She was our daughter and it didn't matter if she had a disability or not, we were taking her home.
Beth at 5 months
We chose to keep her because she was our daughter and for us, there was no other option.