In 2015, I got the phone call while I was in the Dallas airport, on my way to Minnesota. I remember feeling like the wind was knocked out of me and tears immediately started running down my face. “Your baby screened positive for Down’s Syndrome. But a lot of times people get false positives, so you will need to come back in for another test.”
And while my world seemed to be spinning out of control, everyone around me continued their day. They are their ice cream and pulled along their suitcases and boarded their flights. The world just goes on, even when we fell like it has stopped.
After a tear filled call to my husband, I boarded the plane to Minnesota in a fog. And I took the first aisle seat I found. When I took a minute to look up, I realized it was next to a father and his little girl…who had Down’s Syndrome.
Ok, God. Well played. I watched that father be so sweet to his little girl and as we got off that flight, I slipped him a little note telling him about what was going on in my life at that moment and thanking him for being an unknowing inspiration to a scared, pregnant mama on that airplane.
By the time I got home and took the second blood test, I had researched more than you can imagine. In fact, my doctor said I knew more about the details of the screening than he did and he has never seen a patient who had researched like this. I don’t really think he meant it as a compliment, but if you say that type of thing to a Type A lawyer, it’s taken as one.
The next two weeks were filled with a lot of praying and impatiently waiting. Novenas to the Infant of Prague. Prayers for strength, regardless of the outcome. The sweetest words my husband has ever said: “If he has it, then we will have a baby with Down’s and we will love him and he will have a good life with us.” Amen.
In the end, it was a false positive and our son did not have Down’s. That experience, though, forever changed my heart. My faith grew in those two weeks more than I could have ever imagined. It causes me to have a strong interest in people with Down’s, their lives, their rights, and their stories. It led me to learn that it is estimated that 90 percent–90 percent–of babies who are diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome in the womb are aborted. A statistic that gives me nightmares. It made me so, so grateful that I had a doctor who never once suggested that was an option, and was so encouraging about the baby we would have, regardless of his chromosomes. It imprinted this cause on my heart, and while I don’t know where that will lead, for now, maybe all I can do is write and love and pray.
And, maybe somehow, God will use my words. Because I just think he uses every hard experience for good. And I have to think He is still at play in all this, because yesterday, the day before World Down’s Syndrome Day and almost 2 years to the day after I got that call in the airport, I boarded another flight. And the first aisle seat I saw? Next to a young man…with Down’s Syndrome.
God bless all of the people living with Down’s Syndrome and their brave parents who said yes to God’s important call on their lives.