Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Bonus Baby Story...

i've been planning to write about this for a while and this week as we approach world down syndrome day on march 21, seemed to be a good time. this morning after i finally read kelle hampton's story, i decided it was the time....

i was what i considered to be old when we found out i was pregnant....42 at the time of conception. we seriously thought that i was going into menopause. i have an older sister who went into menopause before 40, so i thought "this is it!" we were wrong! i had not felt well for weeks, but was too busy to slow down and rest. a trip to a national conference in nashville, our own local women's conference, life...too much to do to slow down! i thought once everything was over i'd have time to rest and refresh. but my period was late...and i finally convinced tim that maybe i should take a pregnancy test. the monday night before thanksgiving 2008 i took a test and it was positive. tim still did not believe it. so, i went to target and got another test, a 2 pack, to take first thing the next morning.... sure enough another positive! still unbelieving, i called my ob/gyn, our good friend debbie edgeworth on her way to work to get her opinion on the accuracy of home pregnancy tests at my age..."if positive, very accurate" was her response..."why?"....2 she had me come into the office that morning, as soon as we could get there! sure enough, the ultrasound showed our precious baby's beating heart. 6 weeks pregnant...due in july. wow...we were dumbfounded, shocked, disbelieving. we had no reason to even suspect that we would be pregnant...precautions were ALWAYS taken....REALLY! but there we were, old and pregnant. we knew this baby would be special....God's plan, not ours. His special gift to us, beyond our comprehension! wow...a baby....our boys would be 16 and 8 when this baby was born. i told my 2 best friends immediately. we told our boys that night at supper, and then went and told my parents that evening, then tim's parents, siblings, all of our good friends...and that list was LONG! of course everyone was SHOCKED to say the least! how fun that was....

throughout my pregnancy, i must have seen 20-30 children and adults with Down syndrome. i knew the odds were in our favor to have a baby with Down syndrome, but we chose not to have any prenantal testing. it didn't matter...this baby was God's gift to us, our "bonus" baby as one friend called that title! we had lots and lots of ultrasounds, none of which showed anything questionable...nothing...he looked perfectly healthy! yet every time i saw someone with Down syndrome i'd think "maybe..." and tell tim about it. he's reassure me that i was worrying for nothing. everything would be fine. but i kept wondering.... only told one friend about my concerns, she was often with me when i'd see someone with Down syndrome.

wyatt was due on july 16th, but our other boys had been early, so i was expecting him early, hoping for july 4th. try as i might, he didn't arrive with the fireworks on the 4th, but did make his grand appearance 2 days later! we arrived at the hospital around 9:35pm on monday night, july 6th, and he was born around 10:15 pm. a very quick delivery...we were glad our dr made it in time for his arrival! wow! that was a fast birth. 8 lb 6 oz, 21 1/2 inches long, he fell right between our other boys birth weights/heights! he was so beautiful, looked just like ethan and forrest, except for one thing....his ears seemed small and flattened against his head. that was different from the older boys. hm, i thought....maybe.... but no one said anything. no one acted like anything was wrong. he was beautiful..perfect....and he is!

my mom brought the boys up to meet their little brother, one of my best friends, susan, was there taking tons of pictures; what a celebration we had! he nursed right away and took to it immediately! even better than our older sons initially did! we were up most of the night, were there for his first bath and his hearing screening, which he failed in one ear. hm, that seemed unusual too. but we were reassured that lots of babies fail their screenings initially due to fluids, etc. they'd recheck him the next day. when we were finally alone, i asked tim, "when do you think they'll tell us if he has Down syndrome?" we thought someone would have told us if they suspected anything...but no one did....

the next morning our family pediatrician examined wyatt and then came to see us. "he's a fine healthy boy" he told us.... great, i thought.... but i asked anyway, "do you think he has Down syndrome?".... "no, no, i don't think so" was his response. "he might have some features, but no.." all our boys have tiny slanted eyes, so we knew that was not a concern.....whew! that was that. the question was Down syndrome! i finally could relax and enjoy our new baby without that nagging question. or so i thought....

the next morning our ob/gyn came in to do wyatt's circumcision, and after what seemed an eternity she came in to talk to us. "what did dr. hunt say about the baby?" she asked. i replied "he said he's Down syndrome (she knew my fears...)" "well" she replied, "i have some concerns...i think he may have Down syndrome..." and our whole world changed. she shared her concerns, including the simian crease, his eyes, broad nasal bridge, gap between his toes. still i thought she could be wrong...maybe. i think she had already called our pediatrician by that time, to order blood work to confirm her suspicians. shortly thereafter a nurse came to get wyatt for the pediatrician to examine him...i said "no, he'll need to come in here to examine him...." and so he did, and he said "i understand i may have spoken too soon. perhaps he does have Down syndrome...he looks a little more like it today..." (which i did not agree with...wyatt's features had not changed over night!) as we talked, he said wyatt did not have the typical "floppy" baby appearance, but he had ordered the bloodwork to test for trisomy 21, to be sure one way or the other. he reassured us of how sweet children with Ds are, how he would bring us great joy, he'd be with us forever, we'd rejoice over all his accomplishments, no matter how big or small. not awfully reassuring, i'll tell you, especially that part about "always being with you..." AT THAT TIME it was not what i wanted to hear, to be honest.

i was devastated, scared to death, uncertain, many emotions. i wept. probably the first time in my life i ever truly wept. i stood in the shower and sobs just wracked my body. i couldn't stop crying. i knew basically nothing about Down syndrome, and i was afraid. terrified actually. i didn't want to tell anyone. i didn't want to see anyone. i wanted to just curl up with tim and wyatt by ourselves. and we did. and i cried some more. what a hard day that was... our good friend and associate pastor carl came in about that time. he'd stuck pretty close to us throughout our pregnancy and birth, so it was only natural that we would share what was going on with him. we knew he would be praying for us, and keep our confidence. i'll never forget that was just HARD.

that was also the day we were released from the hospital, so once they finally were able to draw wyatt's blood for the test, which was extremely difficult to do, we had to go home and pretend that everything was okay with our boys, parents and friends. i again told my 2 best friends immediately and that was hard too. of course they were wonderfully supportive, i was just so very sad. at wyatt's first checkup, only 5 days after he was born, the dr. detected a heart murmur that needed to be checked out. not a heart problem too...hearing, heart, when would it end? wasn't Ds enough???? of course those were both Ds related health issues. additionally we were told we'd know the results of the blood work within a week or so, however it took longer, about 12 days. 12 very long blood pressure had shot up after his birth, which was very scary too, and the additional stress of not telling anyone about wyatt's possible Ds diagnosis only compounded the issue!

i finally received a phone call from the pediatrician himself saying he had the results, did we want to come in to receive them, or get them over the phone? well, at that point i knew the results...he would probably have immediately shared if the test was negative.... tim was still at work, and came home immediately when i called him. my parents were here when i received the phone call, but i had to mask my emotions and not tell them then. after we processed the finality of the diagnosis, we went and told my parents, and then tim's parents, and siblings....etc. much less joyful news we were sharing this time....

or so we thought! wow! what a difference 8 months makes! what joy this baby boy has brought into our lives, so many lives! GOD IS GOOD...ALL THE TIME! and HE knows exactly what HE's doing, ALL THE TIME! and we rejoice over His perfect plan, giving our family this perfect bonus baby boy wyatt, who HE created, just like HE planned! i know HE has great plans for this precious gift...i can't wait to see what more of those plans are...


  1. Such a beautiful post, Penny!!! I too had that initial reaction and I used to feel guilty about it. I distinctly remember asking God, "Why?". Now I know that she's the exact child I prayed for...everything I ever pink little bundle of joy.

    God new exactly what He was are so right. Just look at all the people that were drawn closer to God through lifting Wyatt up in prayer during his surgery.

    I think God has BIG plans for Wyatt and Lily! They are going to show the world just how wonderful a life with Ds is.

    God bless you and your beautiful family!!!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this sweet story, Penny! He is such a blessing and God knew exactly what He was doing by blessing you & Tim with the honor of being his parents. I can't wait to see what God has in store for him!

  3. I had similar feelings and fear after Eon was born. Thirteen months later, I absolutely concur that God IS good and His plans are perfect! Nice to "meet" you, btw...I'm a first time visitor here.

  4. Thank you for sharing your birth story of your bonus baby, Wyatt. What a precious nickname.And what a precious boy he is.

    God's plan is a perfect plan - we just have to stand aside and let it shine. Our children are bonus babies each in their own special way.

    Beautiful post Penny. Thank you.

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  6. I was going to post a smile :) but it looked stupid all by itself! so, now I have to write...I am glad you posted this! I love watching you love this boy! :)
    Love, Kym

  7. WOW! Thanks for sharing your heart and being completely honest. I'm certain that was not easy to do. What a blessing it is to us for you to put that story into words and share it. What an amazing work God is doing in all of our lives through your bonus baby!! I can't wait to visit with your family more when Wyatt is ready to get out a bit.

  8. Such liars. You say he's perfect then you mutilate him?

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