I've always been a believer in "Everything happens for a reason". Piper's entire existence has been an exercise in this.
- We are thankful for knowing that Piper has Down syndrome before she was born. It seems like most people who know were glad they did, and most people who didn't know are glad they didn't. For us, it was a huge blessing. We knew about her impending surgery, so we were prepared for the NICU stay to start with. I think it made it easier to see her in there, since we knew it was coming. We just didn't know how soon it would be! Furthermore, if we hadn’t been followed as closely by our doctors, we may not have caught Piper as she was crashing. Without their watchful eyes, I’m not sure our little princess would have made it.
- I'm so completely, over-the-top thankful for the doctors we have. I've heard some true horror stories about pressures to terminate, worst-case scenario preaching, and lack of care. We had none of this. I was asked once if we were continuing with the pregnancy, but it was truly a minute detail in the conversation. Everyone was excited to meet her, and no one questioned our decisions. Because of the level of care we received, we have our little girl with us today.
- I'm very convinced that He was watching over us the day she was born. If we had walked across the street for lunch that day instead of going straight to the hospital, we probably would have lost her. Who knows how much longer she would have hung on.
- Oddly, I'm glad that Mom and Dad were out of state that morning. Not that I didn't want them there, but, if they had been here, Luke would have missed the birth. And Mom would have had to call him to tell him (something I wouldn't have wanted her to have to do). And at least this way, by the time Mom knew, everything was okay.
- Before we even got pregnant, I was trying to find an OB. I knew I wanted one that delivered at the hospital we did, because of their NICU. I was a big problem baby, and for some reason, I've always been worried that something could go wrong with my pregnancies, too. It is certainly not the closest hospital to us, and not the most logical decision. But it was where Piper needed to be! If she had been born at the closer hospitals, she would have been sent to Children's, and I would have been left behind until discharge. Children's is great, of course, but I don't think she could have gotten better care than she did at St. Joe's.
- It took us quite a bit longer to get pregnant than we had anticipated. If we had gotten pregnant even one month earlier, the timing would have been horrible. One month earlier would have made Piper’s Ds diagnosis during the week of Luke’s last finals for his degree. It would have meant that I would have had to go back to work full-time, because of the timing with Luke’s new job. And although there are a lot of things where my timing could have been better, it definitely could have been worse.
- In the end, I'm glad we found out Piper was a little girl before she was born. I was really mad at the time; I didn't want to know. It was the first of things to come, I'm sure, that didn't go the way they were "supposed to". But it helped us bond, and it gave us one “absolute” throughout.
- I'm glad that she did so unbelievably well when she was born. Obviously, I'm glad for her. But really? I'm also glad that the staff in the NICU got to see a family for which the diagnosis wasn't a shock, who was excited for the baby, and a baby who was interactive, alert, and not, what they said, was their "typical" kid with Ds. I think it's really important that medical staff have a positive reference point when it comes to stuff like this.
- The amount of love and support we had from family and friends during this whole time was unbelievable. Mom spent at least 4 days a week (usually 5 or 6) with me in the NICU so I didn't have to sit there by myself. Wow. That was probably the greatest gift I got!
I can’t believe it’s been a year. I can’t believe how much your life can change in a year. I can’t believe how much the life you thought you were going to have can change in a year.
We love our little girl. To the ends of the earth, we love her. I can’t say that I’ve come to the place of acceptance where I can truthfully say that I wouldn’t take away the Ds if I could, but we certainly love Piper for who she is, and we couldn’t ask for anything more!