Pure Love- A Letter to Carter

Pure Love- A Letter to Carter

My Sweet Carter,

After having your big brother Will, (you can read the story here) we were excited to grow our family even more. We knew Will needed a little playmate close to his age, especially when the girls are gone. I found out we were expecting you and knew you were meant to be with us already. My fourth pregnancy was the VERY best. I was able to exercise five days a week my entire pregnancy, and stopped only days before I delivered. It made me strong and I felt so prepared to give birth. Just like all mothers do, I dreamt of what you would be like. I imagined you'd have thick curly dark hair and big blue eyes, dimples like your brother, tan skin and the longest eyelashes around. But you didn’t. 

The day before you came, I was outside pulling weeds at 38 weeks pregnant and went on a nice walk with Will. The next day while shopping, the cramps I normally felt during pregnancy now felt different and I realized that I may be going into labor. We decided to head to the hospital. I was grateful that I had packed my hospital bags early, we were ready to go!

Once arriving at the hospital, they checked me and I was at a 4, they told me if I progressed in an hour then I would be admitted. The next check, I was almost to a 6. It was time to meet you! 

I needed a c-section due to previous birthing history. We gowned up and were all ready. Once they started, I felt the tugging and told my husband, "he's coming, he's almost here!"

The beautiful sound of a newborn's first breath- crying. You were here! They lifted you up so my husband could take pictures of you, I was trying to see you but I couldn’t. I was so excited to meet you. Then they brought you to me. All wrapped up with a cap and perfect pink little cheeks. I remember the soft warm feeling of your cheek against mine. I didn’t get much time with you since your blood sugar was really low and you had to be rushed off to the NICU. Little did I know that would become your permanent home for quite some time.  

Your dad came back by my side while they were stitching me up. “Do you have pictures of him?” I asked. He started to show me pictures. I was confused. You didn’t look anything like what I had imagined. My first thought was "does he have Down syndrome?" but quickly dismissed it because it couldn’t be true. 

I went to my room for recovery while your dad went off to be with you in the NICU. Those moments after having a baby are so special, so unique. I sat silently, while the nurse checked to make sure everything was good. No baby. No husband. No answers. I kept thinking to myself, "why does he look like that?" I scrolled through pictures on my phone looking at photos of my other children to see if you looked like any of them. I couldn't find many similarities, I knew something was different. 

When your dad came back from the NICU, I immediately bombarded him with questions: "Why is he in the NICU? How long will he be there? What’s wrong with him? What about his blood sugar. Why does he look different?" Then he said the words I had feared..."they think he might have Down syndrome". 

I began to cry. Not because I didn’t want you or that I didn't love you, but because this was different than what I expected. I felt inadequate. I felt like God had got it wrong. Your dad tried to calm me and tell me that nothing was for certain yet. But I knew, I knew deep down in my heart that they were right.

It was finally my turn to meet you. The walk to the NICU felt like the longest five minutes of my life. I walked slowly towards your little bed, you had SO many cords and wires attached to you. Underneath all those cords was the most beautiful baby boy. You were awake and had the most beautiful almond shaped eyes. There was no doubt in my mind that you had Down syndrome. I felt peace. They laid you in my arms and I wept. Tears of sadness and joy. So many things came to my mind. How long will you live for? Will you have a normal childhood? Will you talk? Will you ever be kissed? So many emotions. I knew those answers would come, but at that moment it was my job to love you and protect you no matter what. We were all you had in the world. And we would be there for you every step of the way. 

After four days, it was time for your dad and I to go. It was the Fourth of July. Sadly, you would not be coming home with us. Such a weird day, going home without a baby and still a very heavy heart. Flashback to before this all happened. We thought we’d be coming home with a baby boy, a best friend for Will. Two perfect boys. It turned out different than I was hoping, but I knew one day I would still feel like it was perfect.

The next month was full of emotions, and a lot of learning. I decided to let go of my expectations of when you would come home. We were waiting for you to be off oxygen and eat really well on your own. You had a feeding tube and oxygen. We would come and see you twice a day to feed you and give you lots of love. You became quite the celebrity in the NICU. Everyone knew and loved you. I am so grateful for the care you received and the friendships I made with them during this time. 

One month and one day old we were given the green light to bring you home! Everyone was so excited to meet you. You weren't put down once that day, constantly being snuggled. Carter, you make us feel complete. 


Love, Your Mom

It's now been over 8 months since Carter's birth. I’ve come to accept his Downs and think it’s the very best part about him. I see it as a happy trial. We are here to support Carter all the way and give him the very best. We take each day one by one and don’t think too far into the future. The joy he has brought into our family is indescribable. He radiates joy. Whenever I’m having a hard day I pick up Carter and hold him close. His sweet spirit calms me down and keeps me going. I thank God every day that he chose our family. Carter is the missing piece we never knew was lost. 

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