The Results Are In…

Dave and I are overjoyed to share that our sweet little Pork Chop has officially been cleared of all genetic/chromosomal conditions!!!!!!

Of all the times I’d love a drink to celebrate, this is it but instead, we’re going to treat ourselves to a round of ice cream!

There are no words to express the relief and happiness (happy is an understatement) we feel right now, which is probably why I’m sitting here blubbering away as I write this.

It’s always so much easier to be positive on the flip side of things, but faith, love and kindness from others kept us strong. If you’re currently going through a shitty situation, we pray you can find some light in your darkness.

Peace & love,

Annie and Davey

An Odd, Yet Truly Heartfelt Letter to Baby Gap

Dear Baby Gap,

This thank you letter is probably unlike one you’ve ever received before. It has nothing to do with your staff or your customer service. It has nothing to do with the pleasant shopping experience I had darting around your online store. It does however, have everything to do with the joy a recent purchase brought me.

For the last seven weeks my husband and I have been going through the ups and downs of genetic testing. We are expecting our first child, and the wonderful pregnant glow that most women get to enjoy has been ripped from beneath my feet. With so many unknowns about our beautiful little baby, we’ve feared becoming “too” excited.

Last week I couldn’t resist splurging on adorable items at your store. I made my purchase with both giddiness and hesitation. In the week that followed my purchase, we continued to wait for our baby’s results. Today, we are still waiting.

Yesterday was one of the harder days for me. After a chat with our hospital, we were advised we could have another week and a half of waiting. Another week and a half of torment. Another week and a half of wondering if our little baby will be healthy. Then my husband walked in with a package.

Tearing it open, the contents inside brought immediate tears to my eyes. I envisioned my child, healthy and happy as can be, with their tiny little bum in your tiny little pants. I imagined the fall, with my child sitting plump in a pile of leaves, transformed into a little cub while sporting your adorable bear hat. For a moment, my spirits were lifted and I had, what I imagine, is the feeling of excitement most women have while experiencing a healthy pregnancy.

So here’s an odd yet fully heartfelt thank you, Baby Gap. Your clothing gave me hope. It gave me excitement. It put my husband and I back on cloud nine. You delivered exactly when we needed it, in a moment of weakness and tears. And we couldn’t be more grateful.

Anneliese

Why We Need to Stop Referring to Babies as Normal

As seen on the Huffington Post.

 

What is normal? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, normal is defined as usual or ordinary; not strange. In the same definition, Merriam-Webster’s adds normal is a representation of mental and physical health. In the concept of society, normal is defined relatively the same. Normal is largely based on how a person’s behaviour and appearance conforms with social standards. You are either “normal” and you fit into society or you are “not normal” and therefore do not. Until recently I placed little thought on the definition of normal and the injustice it serves for many members of our society.

It may be because I’ve been exposed to the sensitive nature of human normality, but I find fault in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defining normal by the mental and physical health of human beings. There is also fault in our society in the way we judge each other and categorize one another based on social norms. We live in a world that is so complex and filled with great difference. Differences that should be embraced and used as inspiration for kindness, generosity and understanding. A world where the term “abnormal” should only be used as a term to indicate results in medicine, not to define a human being. Even more so, not to define a fetus in limbo of a diagnosis.

It was only three weeks ago when my husband and I had our twelve week ultrasound with our first child. I watched my husband light up as he looked at the little life we created on a black and white screen. I clenched my husband’s hand with excitement, awing at our tiny baby’s nose. Little did I know I would rely on that hand only days later to be clenched as a result of panic and fear. In the days that would follow, we would anxiously be seated in our doctor’s office awaiting results we never anticipated to hear — that our baby had an abnormality.

 

The words used to describe this abnormality were as complex and scientific as they come. In medical terms, our baby had a thickened nuchal translucency. In more common terminology, the condition placed our baby at higher risk for genetic differences such as Downs Syndrome, and congenital heart defects. As quickly as the words left the tip of my doctors tongue, the tears were streaming down my face. I locked my eyes on my husband and plowed through an entire box of Kleenex as our doctor explained the tests we would have to undergo, doctors we would need to see and risks of our pregnancy. There were few words that stuck with me during that conversation.

We were sent home with a copy of our ultrasound. The top of the paper stamped with urgent in big, red, block letters, and the bottom of the ultrasound using the word abnormal to define our little 12 week baby.

In the days that would follow I would search the Internet to find expectant parents in a similar situation. To my surprise baby forums were flooded with parents whose baby had the same abnormality. The majority of mother’s discussed the tremendous amount of heartache they went through, only to find out that their baby would be born “normal.”

From the few people we shared this heart breaking news with, many wished us well and hoped that our baby would be born “normal” rather than healthy — and each time someone wished our baby be born normal, my heart ached. In one sense, I understood that their intentions were well-meant, but in another sense it was clear that if my child was born with physical or mental differences, my child would not fit into society’s definition of normal. In combination with the serious complications and medical issues that come along with Downs Syndrome, society viewing my child as “not normal” was not something I was ready to accept.

A team of genetics counselors prepared us for the worst possible outcome. We were forced to place value on the life of our child, and the value they would have in our world. I continued to imagine our little baby, who my husband and I created through love. A baby with innocence and purity. A baby who I loved without even meeting and continued to love despite the differences he or she may have.

After a grueling two weeks our baby’s DNA testing came back low risk for trisomy related chromosome conditions. Before we had a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, we were told a second abnormality was found and we would require further genetic testing. My heart aches for my husband and I as we face this new path of unknown, but my heart also aches for the families who will become the statistics we fear. The family who will have to integrate their beautiful child into a society with a closed definition of normal.

If you know a family member, friend or coworker in a similar case of limbo, please do not tell them you hope their baby is born normal. Rather, substitute normal with the word healthy. It may seem like a small request to make but it means a world of difference to the people living this situation. The word normal is a shitty reminder that it’s not just good enough to be born healthy.

To everyone who has ever felt like they never fit in, who has ever felt like they were not normal, know: what makes you different makes you beautiful. Embrace your difference. Our world is a beautiful place full of many beautiful people. Placing a standard or status quo on what makes a person normal in our society masks the true beauty of all of our differences.

A Letter to My Body During Pregnancy

Dear Body,

We need to talk. I know you’ve come to learn that something foreign has been hanging out within your skin. It’s okay. I know it’s there – and it’s time to ease up, we’re growing a baby.

That’s right. A baby – not a virus, or a parasite. Just a human, that we need to grow… from pretty much scratch.

It may seem like a lot to ask, but hear me out. Women have been doing it for years.

Between the all-day “morning” sickness, mood-swings, and aversions to pretty much all of my favourite foods, I could almost swear you weren’t happy to be housing this little sea-monkey.

Mom’s have shared that you’ll eventually come around and give me a little bit of a break. But they’ve also shared that before long you’ll start attacking me again with sleepless nights, swollen feet, and leaky-breasts.

I’m here to ask you to be patient as we protect and grow this new love of mine. This is new for us. You’re changing in ways you’ve never experienced before (yay, boobs!) and you’re also supplying life to a very special little person. This is something to be proud of.

They say we will forget about all of this, after we go through hours of painful labour, and eventually push a 7 to 10 pound person out of our vagina. I’d like to believe them. Women often do this more than once after all.

One thing I do know for sure and can promise you, is whether we forget about this or not, the prize we gain at the end of this journey will be more than worth it.

So hang in there, body. You’re doing okay.

We have a 6 more months left to go, so it’s time to man-up and give it our all. One small request though – can you stop making me cry? My husband is starting to think I’m a little bit batty.

Love,

Your soul.