Hard Questions

Taylor’s Diagnosis Story Part Two

Hard Questions

How did this happen? Did I do something wrong? Was it the coffee I drank? Or the prenatal vitamins I sometimes forgot to take? Is God punishing us?

What will he look like? Will he be ugly? Will he learn to read? Will we ever have an empty nest?

What will other people think? Will they silently chide us for having a 9th baby, and at my age? Will the grandparents love him as much as their other grandbabies? Will my 6 year old son get to enjoy the baby brother that he has so longed to have? Will people love him, or just feel sorry for him and us?

Should we still use the name we picked out?

What would happen if we let him keep sleeping, and didn’t force him to eat? Would he ever wake up on his own? Would that be the merciful thing to do?

Can we just go back to sleep and wake up from this nightmare? Can I just be pregnant again, and have a normal baby? Can I have the baby I thought I was going to have? Please?

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So many questions, so many thoughts. Things we felt ashamed to admit were going through our minds. An ocean of tears, flowing in the darkness of our room. Feeble attempts to shield our children from the pain we felt during the day.

In the midst of my confusion, I heard God’s whispers of comfort. “Your baby is fearfully and wonderfully made. He is perfect, just like the midwife told you.” And I prayed from the very first night that God would use Taylor’s life to glorify Him.

We occupied ourselves with writing down every detail of Taylor’s existence. Every wet and dirty diaper, every feeding, temperature every 2 hours, weight every day. He couldn’t handle the flow of milk from my breast, from the slowest nipple we could find, or even from a syringe. I started pumping to increase my milk supply, because he couldn’t stay latched on more than a second or two. I tried a nipple shield, but after nearly 24 hours of no wet diapers we were desperate. A wonderful friend gave us a special needs feeder, which helped immensely. Waking him up and keeping him awake for a feeding was a monumental task. If he took just 1/2 an ounce, we felt victorious. I started searching for breastmilk donors, anticipating the need that was to come.

After 3 nights of crying, praying, and soul searching, we felt ready to tell our family. Nelson said, “We’ve come over the hump, and now it’s time to count our blessings and rejoice!”

I asked Nelson to tell our children, I didn’t think I could handle it. We brought all of them upstairs to the bedroom along with my mom. Nelson gently told them about their very special baby brother. They were confused, and a couple of them cried. We had asked God for the strength to be strong for them, and we were.

We made a list of the people we wanted to tell in person, and over the next 2 days we talked to all of those people, either on the phone or face to face. God gave Nelson incredible strength to be able to say the impossible words over and over again. Most of our friends and family made it very easy for us when they commented on how different he looked than all of our other babies. Then Nelson was able to say “Well, there’s a reason for that.”

I didn’t want to hear anyone say “I’m sorry” to me. Even though I had grieved, I wanted my baby’s birth to be celebrated, not mourned! I didn’t want anyone’s pity, and we told them that. He is a blessing, and his birth was a cause for a celebration! Our extended family was more wonderful to us than we had dared to hope. They all said beautiful things about him, and thanked God for sending him to our family.

My sweet friend Keyla came with her family at my request, the same evening we told our children. She brought gifts, and pampered me with a foot massage and brushing/braiding my hair. Then she sat and held Taylor, saying over and over again, “I love him so much!” She had no idea how healing it was for me to see her love on my baby, telling him how handsome he was.

After we had gotten through our list, we told everyone that they were free to talk about Taylor having Down syndrome if it came up. I didn’t want to announce it on Facebook or by e-mail, I wanted the news of his birth to be only filled with joy. We made one request of our close family and friends, and that was that they would pass on the message that we didn’t want pity. We are so blessed that as of this writing I can say that we have received nothing but love.

We listened to the Lord, and heard answers to the questions that had tempted us.

God had a perfect plan in sending Taylor to us!

Taylor is beautiful, and always will be, no matter what he accomplishes in this life!

Who cares what other people think? We know what God thinks, and that is what really matters. Taylor’s siblings, family, and friends will all be deeply enriched by having him in their lives.

God gave us the name Taylor Justice long before he was ever conceived, and knew exactly what He was doing. He is the first child we have named after a missionary (Hudson Taylor), and we look forward to seeing how God will use our son to glorify Himself.

Taylor is a blessing, and God has given him to us for a reason. We don’t feel worthy to be his parents, but every day, God will give us the strength we need to love and care for him.

Taylor was only 5 days old, and so much had happened. He was still having feeding issues, but they were improving. We felt optimistic, although we still had many questions. Our lives had been forever changed, and we counted our blessings. Yes, we could say it now: “Thank you, Lord, for Taylor Justice.”

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Posted in Down Syndrome
3 comments on “Hard Questions
  1. Keyla says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts. I love you and I still love baby Taylor Justice! You and Nelson are blessed beyond you can imagine!

    Love,
    K~

    Like

  2. Hi, Brenda.

    I so enjoyed getting to meet you last week at Family Camp, and I’m so glad you subscribed to my blog, because that allowed me to find yours and also gave me a way to contact you.

    A lot of the hard questions you ask in this blog are questions we’ve wrestled with ourselves, as we are aware that the chances of giving birth to a Downs baby rise with maternal age, and I am now 48 and still (presumably) fertile.

    Yet we’ve always trusted God with the planning of our family (and continue to do so). It doesn’t make sense to trust Him through our twenties and thirties, and then at forty to stop, as if He no longer knows better than we what is best for us. Or as if only healthy babies are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

    No, we believe that God knitted Taylor together in your womb, just as surely and intentionally as He knitted all the rest of your children and mine.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the article “Welcome to Holland.” (http://www.journeyofhearts.org/kirstimd/holland.htm) I imagine by now somebody has shown it to you if you weren’t already familiar with it. I read it in an Ann Landers column soon after my husband and I were married. I thought it was lovely, so I cut it out and saved it, just in case the day might eventually come that I needed the reminder: God doesn’t make mistakes.

    Blessings on all your sweet family. I hope you’ll let me know how your next delivery goes. Looking forward to meeting your newest addition next October in Big Sandy!

    Much love,
    Jennifer

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    • Brenda says:

      Thank you for visiting our brand new blog and for reading my story Jennifer! I was very blessed to meet you as well, and thank you so much for your encouraging words. I read that article within a day or two of Taylor’s birth, and it was a great blessing to me. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more on your blog and getting to know your family better, as well as seeing you again next year at Family Camp. One of these days I’m going to write about your book! 🙂 Love in Christ, Brenda

      Like

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