Taylor’s Diagnosis Story Part Two
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?
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.”