Thursday, March 13, 2014

Happy Souls are Contagious

Tara from Happy Soul Project has asked me to guest blog and I couldn't be more honored!!!  So, in honor of Pip and the Happy Soul Project, here is my story about how one beautiful little girl brought back my smile. 

In November 2012, my husband and I FINALLY became pregnant with our first child.  We had been trying for years, to no avail.  We were ecstatic.  We didn't even wait to tell everyone, like they usually say you should.  We were in love with this little man even before we knew he was indeed a little man and not a little lady.  I don't think I stopped smiling from the moment those two little blue lines showed up until my 4 month appointment at the OB.  That's when the smiles stopped.

At that appointment my OB informed us that I had came back as high risk for Down Syndrome on my Quad Screen.  The next few weeks were filled with level 2 ultrasounds, blood tests, fears, and lots of crying.  We were terrified.  Finally, we got the final results back of the MaterniT21 test, and found out that there was a 99% chance Benjamin had Down Syndrome. 

The next two days are a blur.  My husband left work without saying a word to anyone he was leaving.  I crawled in bed and sobbed uncontrollably. I am embarrassed of the thoughts that were going through my head.  I didn't know anything about Down Syndrome.  My husband came home and crawled in bed with me.  We cried together til we finally fell asleep. 

The next few months were nothing but doctor's appointments and anxiety.  I started hearing all the horrible medical problems associated with Down Syndrome that the doctor's said Ben would have.  Every day I was more exhausted than the next.  All I wanted was a beautiful little baby.  I wanted to show him off.  I wanted people to coo over him, and instantly fall in love with him.  With all the horrible information I was being given, I felt like I was going to have this sick child that nobody would love but me.  The picture in my mind was nothing like the perfect child I had imagined dressing up and taking pictures of.  It was nothing like the child I imagined at all (This is so hard to type right now, because I don't think i've ever admitted that to myself or anyone else). 

Around 8-9 months pregnant, I decided to look up pictures of babies with Down Syndrome.  I just needed to see them.  I needed to know.  Enter Pip...

One of the first pictures that came up when I searched for babies with Down Syndrome in Google was of Pip's smiling face.  I will NEVER forget that first picture.  She was wearing nothing but her diaper, with the biggest, most precious smile I had ever seen on her beautiful little face.  She wasn't a baby with down syndrome.  She was a gorgeous, smiling little light that instantly brought me to tears!  I am crying now just typing this.  I felt better and ashamed all at the same time.  I was ashamed that I thought Down Syndrome would define Ben.  I was ashamed that I thought it would make him less than anything.  I was ashamed that I thought having a baby with Down Syndrome was anything less than beautiful.  I looked at Pip and my favorite emotion of laughter through tears came pouring out of me like never before.  I instantly began cyber-stalking Happy Soul Project.  Every picture I looked at made me me feel stronger and stronger.  Every smile on Pip made me realize how amazingly lucky I was to have been blessed with a child that has even an ounce of the beauty Pip has in her.  Pip made my smiles come back...

The day I had Ben wasn't a sad day.  It was the best day of my life!  I was ready for my baby boy!  I was excited to bring him into the world and COULD NOT WAIT to show him off!  He was and still is the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on.  There was no fear, there was just love. 

Not only was I excited for him because of Pip's pictures, but I was also ready for him because of the information I read in Happy Soul Project.  Reading about Tara's struggles with Pip helped me prepare myself for what was to come with Ben.  I knew I could handle it because I gained strength and knowledge from Tara's stories.  Yes, I can get information on Down Syndrome from a lot of sites; however hearing about it from a fellow mama that has been there before me is much more helpful that a bunch of statistics.  It just helps your soul...

Today, I have started my own blog titled "Ben Through It All".  I know how much Pip and Happy Soul Project helped me, and I want to do that for someone else.  Getting that diagnosis is so difficult, but I thank God every day for that first picture of Pip.

Tara, thank you.  You have no idea how much what you do can heal someone else.  Your words and your pictures saved me from spiraling into a very dark place.  You gave me hope, and that, my friend, is something not just anyone can give.  I can't wait til the day Benny gets to work some of his charm on sweet Pip.  God help him if Noal is around... XOXO

*All Professional Newborn and Maternity shots by Angela Hibbert Photography


  1. Wow Jamie...I am sitting here BAWLING...Such powerful, kind words...Thank you for sharing your story...I am SOOO happy you found us...And so happy you will be guest blogging..And hello I think you wrote your first post right there...AMAZING...Also how freaking cute is Benny...I mean, come on


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

-xoxo Jamie