Another week, another Five Minute Friday. Thank you, Kate, for the prompt today. Trust. I didn't write for five minutes. It was definitely longer. October, among others, is Down Syndrome Awareness month. If you are curious, or are doing your own research for your own reasons, I have a page linking to posts about life and learning with my daughter. Who happens to have Down Syndrome. I love her beyond the moon.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
"You'll spoil her."
"No, Mom. Spoiling is what happens to rotten fruit. I'm teaching her to trust me."
I bent down to scoop my daughter off the floor where she lay in a puddle of sunshine, soaking up essential light. The hospital people said it was good for her; it would combat the little bit of excess bilirubin still in her bloodstream, those sloughed off red blood cells causing a faint yellow tinge to her skin. Better that she was home with me than under the lights of the chamber in the hospital. They also said to feed her more often. If I could.
Four weeks ago. My world turned inside out. Down Syndrome. Heart murmur. Jaundice. Premature. My daughter was born weighing five pounds, two ounces, a tiny, fighting, scrap of a baby, filling the operating room with the sound of her cries.
I remembered sewing all night with my watch next to me on the table, timing the contractions, sending my husband to work, and finally calling the doctor. I didn't want to be sent home and this baby was at least five weeks early.
My neighbors drove me the 25 miles.
I was admitted and hooked up to the machines that indicate strength of contractions and heartbeats. I could have told them, but they had to read numbers. They said the baby was in distress, something about the cord, and had me change my position. Knee/chest they called it. I called it (excuse the visual...) butt in the air.
My doctor came in. I could see his feet. Shoes, no socks, he had been called from swimming laps.
"We may have to do a C-section," he said. "But it would be better for the baby if you can deliver without surgery."
Baby. My only thought. I'm going to have a baby.
They wheeled me into an operating room with a surgical team standing by. Just in case. I pushed my girl into this sterile, echo-y room. My girl with the purple face, the plastered hair, the grasping fingers, and the cry. Between cries, the pouty lips. She rested a moment on my chest and then she was whisked away.
I was released the next day.
"We'll have to keep her here for awhile. We need to settle this thing in her blood. If the numbers don't go down, we may need to do a transfusion."
They sewed me up down there. The stitches were still tender when I drove to the hospital to see my girl, when I sat beside her, talked to her, sang to her. They had her in a special crib - enclosed - with little rubber tunnels so I could reach in and touch her. She wore a doctor's surgical mask like a string bikini, soaking up light to help break down those extra red blood cells.
I timed myself to her feeding schedule, pumping breastmilk in the middle of the night. I said yes to counting chromosomes. It's called a karyotype.
She stayed in the hospital for a week.
The test results came back, telling me what I already knew. Sierra, my beautiful, fighting girl, had Down Syndrome. I spent the next two weeks researching, calling, contacting, loving.
Four weeks. My parents visit. We had finally broken the hospital habit of bottle feeding. Sierra was gaining weight - loose-limbed - pick her up like a broken doll - questions, references, love.
I think my mother was teasing. "You'll spoil her, giving her all that attention."
Smiling, holding my beautiful daughter, "No, mom. Spoiled is rotten fruit. I'm teaching her to trust."
We are children of God.
Nothing can separate us from his love.
His childbirth was creation.
It was his Son on the cross.
We have his full attention.
He is good.
He is faithful.
He is sovereign.
In him, we can trust.