Today marks 7 beautiful weeks with Adaline. These weeks have been full of beauty, grace, love, joyful tears, learning, and laughter. First off, I am so excited to say we have retired the pump and the bottles! But this took 6 weeks. 6 weeks of yelling, crying, fighting, and praying. At one point I almost gave up. My milk had almost completely disappeared and my baby was starving, literally she was loosing weight. We had to resort to formula. I remember driving to the store in tears. My body was betraying me. What was the purpose of these boobs, that have annoyed me my whole life, if they cannot sustain my child. I was unable to give her the “good stuff”. And with all of the moms on instagram who post adorable (modest) photos nursing their babies, I became angry. I wanted to nurse, I wanted to share that bond with my baby. I felt like a terrible mom having to resort to formula. But why? Because I couldnt post nursing photos? Because I didnt want to post photos with my baby eating from a bottle? Because I wouldnt be a “cool nursing mom” ?These were not good enough reasons to refuse formula and let my baby starve. That would be being a bad mom. Though we are now exclusively nursing ( and I couldnt be happier), nursing is not the only way. Nursing isnt for everyone. Some women cannot produce milk, some women have to work and cannot stay home to nurse every 3 hours. So if you’re struggling with breastfeeding know you are not alone. And if you choose to bottle feed your baby you are no less of an amazing mom than those who nurse. You are a rock star. Ignore the pushing of nursing. Do what is best for you and your baby. And feeding your baby is what is best, no matter how you choose to do so.
Because we are breastfeeding, Adaline has had a rash on her face for almost two weeks now. I am unsure what I am eating that is causing her reaction. She has very sensitive skin on top of her allergic reaction to my milk. (( The rash doesnt hurt her, she doesnt even know its there. It just bothers me to see on her poor little face.)) We saw her pediatrician and he was not worried about it, but instructed me to monitor what Im eating and see if it causes any flare ups. We’ve learned milk is a no-no, which is okay because my tummy doesnt like it either. It is a constant trial and error. Heat causes a flare up as well as when she pushes so hard to poop. And this girl is a pooping machine. She eats and poops right away, with massive force. Her daddy will be proud! haha. She is now too long for preemie clothes, but too small (in her arms and legs) for newborn clothes. This girl might be a model when shes older. Lord knows she doesn’t get her height from me.
She can roll over from her tummy to her back (I have video proof), she loves to stick her tongue out and smile. She loves music, mostly country and worship. She cannot fall asleep with out it, unless she is in the car. Baths are her favorite, until she has to get out and get dressed. She does this adorable thing when we nurse, she kneads at my side like she is excited. She gets to facetime her daddy multiple times a week, which just melts my heart every time. When I think about them finally meeting, my eyes well up with tears and my heart feels like its going to explode out of my chest. That will be the third best day of my life.
As a mom with a daughter who has a down syndrom diagnosis, I can tell you that life is very normal. I think back to the moments when the doctors were trying to “prepare” me for this life and everything they had to say was negative. “Life will be hard. She won’t develop as quickly. She will require a lot of doctor visits. Lots of surgeries are in her future. She wont be able to nurse. She will need phsical therapy to accomplish most milestones.” What they didn’t tell me was how much love I would feel. How every little facial expression will make my heart jump with excitement. That she will learn my voice and my touch. She smiles just like “typical” babies. She will be loved, and loved hard! That each day she will grow and change. And on top of that, she has defyed all the odds. She is developing just right, if not quicker than “normal”. We have only seen the doctor once more than needed, and that is only because I am a new mom who worries about everything, like the rash she had on her face. Yes she spent a week in the NICU, but for reasons that have nothing to do with DS. They could have happened to any baby. As of right now, there are no required surgeries and she nurses just fine! Maybe she will need physical therapies for future milestones, but at 7 weeks she is rolling over, holding her head up during tummy time and when she is held. She’s perfect to me. I actually have to remind my self she has Down Syndrome. If it wasn’t written on paper I wouldnt beleive it. When I look at her I see perfection. I don’t see markers for down syndrome. I don’t see the down syndrome eyes that my mom sees, or the flattened nose bone. I see Adaline. Just like God had showed me through my pregnancy. I was always too afraid to public tell people this because I feared my feelings would be wrong. But now I know I was right. Every day of my pregnancy I had this overwhelming peace that my daughter was not down syndrome. That the tests were wrong and she was perfect. So I truthfully never mourned the “typical” child I thought I would have. I guess technically I was wrong, because the tests were right. However, this feeling of pure raw love for my perfect child is real. She IS NOT down syndrome. She HAS down syndrome. It is not her identiy. It is not who she is. It is simply a diagnosis.
Maybe you can say I am blinded by love. Maybe I am naive or in denial. But I don’t see what others see. Shes the baby I carried for 9 months. The one I cried over and prayed over for months when I thought I was loosing her. Shes the one that lived in that belly that everyone wanted to touch. She is the one I prayed for my whole life. The one who made me a mom. She is Adaline. And I am part of the lucky 10%.