“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” – C.S. Lewis
One year ago today, I was having my first ultrasound with little Miss Mia. It was one of the most difficult days of my life. One moment we were gazing at the sweet baby on the monitor, excited to find out she was a little girl, and then the next moment the doctor was telling us that he saw a soft marker for Down syndrome.
It’s a strange feeling going from elation to despair in a matter of moments. Then came the termination talk and I started having existential thoughts about value and worth.
In the weeks after, I endlessly searched the internet for everything I could about Down syndrome and nuchal fold soft markers looking for answers, and I started praying like I had never prayed in my life. It was a long and emotional summer.
I think back to those early days and I wish I could go back in time and sit myself down for a long talk. There are a few things I would like to tell the Erin of 2012. One would be to stop searching the internet.
But I would also tell her how fantastic her new daughter will be. How her smile will light up a room. I would tell her how beautiful, sweet and happy her daughter will be and that there will be nothing sad or tragic about her. I would tell her that her new little girl will be feisty, determined, loving, friendly, and will have an intense curiosity. I would joke with her about how she will be Erin and Nate all rolled into one and that the world should be very afraid.
I would tell her how her thought process will change. I would tell her that right now she may feel as though she made a huge mistake, but in 12 months she will become breathless and panicked at the very thought of losing her daughter.
I would tell her that of course she’ll be worried about the future. That the thought of people being mean to her daughter or thinking that her daughter has no value will make her nauseated and terrified, and that the fear of the unknown will threaten to bury her.
I would assure her that those thoughts will come and go, because the moment she thinks that all is lost and that she’ll never feel normal again, her daughter will do something so normal and adorable that her courage will take its place. She’ll hear a sweet little “lalalala” from across the room as if her daughter is saying, “Don’t you dare lose faith in me now.”
One year. It’s not what I expected. Thank you, God.