I've thought of a thousand ways to start this and nothing clever comes to mind other than just speaking the truth. The truth about finding out during pregnancy that your child has Down syndrome. The truth about what it was like as parents to discover the many medical obstacles your unborn baby would soon be facing. Then worse, actually facing them. Facing and conquering unbelievable extremes. Watching your child fight for his life against all odds. Many people think they would not survive such a journey, but you do. And that is why I feel it is my duty to put our journey into words. There are many people out there getting ready to experience their story or are currently struggling through their story at this very moment and I have to say that as I sit here reflecting back on such hard times, I am watching my two beautiful children play together. An activity that so many take for granted yet we never thought would happen. It is important that I paint this wonderful image in the beginning as what you are about to read will get very heavy, scary, sad and downright overwhelming. But regardless of these trying times and the memories I am getting ready to face, I am very eager to get started. So this is our story. A story about strength, fear, change, anxiety, hope and love. One amazing story that I hope will not only entertain, but inspire, motivate, and most of all provide hope to those that have or are currently struggling with their own story. So if you are that person that is sitting in the same shoes we were 2 years ago, some parts may be a bit overwhelming to read so skip them. But if you choose to read just know that every journey is different and that in the end, regardless of the journey, you are getting ready to embark on something so life changing that you will be amazed that you too one day will want to write something for the entire world to read. But most importantly, know that you are not alone . . .
First, the family . . .
My husband Joe. I may not express much of his feelings throughout this story and may often refer to things as "I" or "me", but it must be known that this story wouldn't end in a "happily ever after" if it wasn't for his strength & focus. Focus on the daily routines that needed to take place in the heat of this life changing journey. He never fell a part and not only continued to be an excellent husband and father, but excelled as a parent by becoming the main caregiver for Anthony when I couldn't be there emotionally. This story would have a completely different ending without my husband, my best friend, my best love.
Anthony, my oldest, is 4 1/2. So incredibly adorable and fills my world with his intelligence, sense of humor, sensitivity, innocence, and most of all his inexplicable love and caring for others. He brings me such relief in a world that can be so cruel at times.
Brady, my youngest, just turned 2. His smile can warm any room. He is my miracle, my heartbreak, my challenge. He surprises me every day with his desire to learn, to love, and to be loved. His attitude, resiliance, and ability to fight such massive battles gives me my strength each and every day.
Brady, started his life almost 2 months premature with Down syndrome, 5 complex congenital heart defects and 3 major stomach defects all resulting in a whirlwind of events consisting of six major surgeries, numerous procedures and many months in the hospital. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start from the beginning.