When I got pregnant with Abby I thought, okay..I guess I can do this. I know how to change a diaper (kinda)..I can totally do the little clothes and pushing around in a carriage stuff. I wasn’t working, so I didn’t have to worry about that..Money would be tight, but I always liked Mac & Cheese and Dinty Moore. Yea, I can do this.
I’ve blogged about some of this before. I was 18, unmarried, no money. But none of that mattered all that much to me at the time. I was dreaming of little shoes and thinking of names- the IMPORTANT stuff! (remember I was only 18)
I see these young girls online that are posting “I’m pregnant!!” and eagerly sharing ultrasound pix. (inner groan) They just don’t know what they’re in for..Honestly I feel bad thinking this. I just want to scream WAIT! If you just wait, you will be so much better off! A better prepared parent, you’ll be ready, you’ll be grown up! I mean, I was that teen mom. I was clueless. I was broke. I was immature- but I pulled it off, and I did it very well, Abby turned out fabulously. So I shouldn’t judge these girls. But I really can’t help it, and I am so glad that Abby did not repeat the cycle and get pregnant. Life is tough, and I think having a kid very young makes it tougher, for you and that baby.
So anyways, I was pregnant. Things were moving right along..until maybe 18 wks or so. I had a test come back ‘low value’. I remember this day distinctly. I was home alone, and the phone rang. It was my obstetrician telling me that I needed more tests. The test had come back low, and this could mean Down Syndrome. My world flipped upside down. All of these things I had thought about didn’t matter at all. I was 18- could I handle this? Could I parent a baby with Down Syndrome?
Now, obviously had this happened today I would say no sweat, bring it on, its still my child. But this was long, loonggg before I had any experience with children with special needs. I heard Down Syndrome and I thought severely challenged, possibly even dying, I really had no idea what it meant for my baby. I called Seth at work and sobbed into the phone “the doctor called”..I remember him saying “what? the dog got hit?”
They scheduled me for an amniocentesis– which terrified me. Again, if this were today, I would refuse and just take my chances. I went in, and there wasn’t enough fluid to draw. They sent me home to drink more, and see if there would be enough amniotic fluid to draw out for the next time.
3 days later- same thing. Another 3 days- same thing. This went on for a couple of weeks. They were finally able to do the amnio. It wasn’t pleasant.
By the time I got the results of the test, I was 24 weeks pregnant. I loved this baby, and it didn’t really matter at this point. I just wanted it to be healthy. The results would also give me a 100% gender determination.
They called and said “Your daughter is totally fine”.
Joy, elation, umm, totally freaking psyched comes to mind.
We chose her name, and that was that. She went from ‘the baby’ to ‘Abby’ and we started to really prepare for her to arrive.
Today she is 20. I look back at the last 20 years in awe that it’s gone so fast, and that I did it. I grew her, I taught her, I nurtured her, I loved her, I raised her. No job, no diploma, no marathon, no Oscar can make you feel the same way. To look at your child and know YOU DID THAT— unbelievable.
Happy Birthday AbbyGirl. You are the light of my life, the stars in my sky, and the peanut butter to my jelly. I didn’t always know if I was doing the right thing, but I always tried my best, and above everything else, I always loved you. I would kill for you, die for you, walk through fire, swim through sharks, even hold a spider for you. You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.