Thursday, March 13, 2014


What. A. Year.

This past Monday, I turned 34 years old.  Holy Crap, how did that happen?

I am a lucky girl though.  I can honestly say that I am extremely happy with what I have done with my life up until this point.  I love my life.  I love my family.  I am truly blessed.

My 34th birthday brings back a lot of emotions about my 33rd birthday.  My 33rd birthday was slightly less celebratory than this one.

My birthday is March 10th.  On March 11th, 2013, Mark and I found out that there was a slight possibility that our baby had Down Syndrome.  The next week, there was a lot of denial.  There was a lot of research, and there was a lot of praying.

There were a couple of things which I still find fascinating.  The day I went in to take the test to find out whether or not Ben did indeed have Down Syndrome, I saw something.  I walked into the office at the hospital where they were going to draw my blood, and there was a Mama about my age waiting patiently with her little boy whom had Down Syndrome.  This was, literally, right after getting my first of many Level 2 Ultrasounds.  This was the waiting room where I was waiting to get my blood drawn to find out if my little boy also had Down Syndrome.  Her little boy was about three years of age with blond hair and blue eyes.  He was a sweet little thing, but I feel horrible because as adorable as he was, seeing him at that moment brought me to tears.  I wish so strongly that I could go back to that moment and see him differently.  Instead of seeing that beautiful little boy, I saw all my ignorance and fears about a syndrome I was about to become very familiar with myself.  I still feel ashamed for that.  I feel like I am getting stabbed in the stomach when I think that someone, probably more than just one, will look at Ben through eyes of ignorance and fear someday.   This wasn't a pediatric unit or a Down Syndrome unit I was at in the hospital.  It was just the lab and nothing more.  I sometimes wonder if God put that mama and her sweet little man in there to help me in some way and I misread the sign.  I let my fears disguise the beauty and the kismet in that situation.

A few days later, before getting the results back, we closed on our house in Dearborn.  The same day  we closed, I had to go to Nashville for work.  My amazing husband immediately began going about the task of de-catting (getting rid of everything in that house with cat hair on it because I am deathly allergic) our new home.  While removing the carpet from the finished attic, Mark found a picture of a teenage boy with Down Syndrome.  His name, as was written on the back, was Mark.

Despite these two highly coincidental occurrences, I slowly began putting myself into some serious denial about Ben's potential diagnosis.  They saw nothing at all in the ultrasound that led them to believe he had Down Syndrome, so I was positive that the results were going to come back negative.  Exactly one week after going in for the test, one week after my birthday, I posted this on Facebook:

Literally moments after this post, on March 18th, 2013, I got the call to let me know that my Benjamin did indeed have Down Syndrome.  I have already described that moment here.

Three days later, on March 21st (3/21 for 3 21st Chromosomes), it was National Down Syndrome Day.  Down Syndrome was everywhere, and could not be ignored.  March 2013 was a rough month for me. My self-preservation method of burying the thing that was stressing me out was becoming very, very difficult.

March 2014 was much different.  MUCH, much different...

I celebrated my blessed life with my friends out painting and drinking the night away and I got a Lamborgini from my husband (hot wheels style)!  I had a blast!  On my actual birthday, I took half a day off of work and spent the rest of the day with just me and my little man.  I spent the entire day feeling so blessed I almost burst.

It's so funny how something can seem so devastating at one point in your life, and turn out to be such a blessing later on.  I wouldn't change a damn thing about Benjamin.  Not one damn chromosome!  I wouldn't change anything about my life right now.

My Facebook update from March 18th was ironic in a way.  Later that same day, I thought I had been wrong about 33 being an amazing year.  Turns out, I was dead on.  33 was, hands down, the most amazing and beautiful year of my life.  Bring it on 34!  You have some big shoes to fill!

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Would love to hear your thought, comments, advice, or emotional outbursts!

-xoxo Jamie