Let’s start at the very beginning…
I remember my parents being brave. Very brave. I remember we(the kids) decorated the nursery. I remember my Dad getting all of us together in the basement to talk about Tim, Down Syndrome and what that meant. I think he was trying to digest what it was all about and how to convey that to us. I don’t remember what was said, but I do remember how I felt. I felt sad. I felt sad because those around me felt sad. I didn’t know what all of this meant being so young. I don’t really think anyone in the family knew what this meant. We, as a family, became closer than any of us thought we could be.
I asked my mom to share some of Tim’s birth story. Because of the personal and spiritual nature of her experience, this is only a portion of his birth story. I have to say, my Mom is amazing. Tim sure thinks so. He absolutely adores her, as he should.
“Often Mothers feel like there is just one more child out there waiting to become part of their family. I felt that way. There were a few years between the last child and Tim. I had quite a few sobering thoughts surrounding my pregnancy with Tim. I didn’t want to express these thoughts thinking I may be overreacting. I thought that maybe I would be the one in my family to have a special needs child. I mentioned this to my mother. I also worried a little about my age. I also expressed my concern with my doctor at that time. So Tim’s birth really wasn’t a surprise. He was born during the time where you didn’t know the sex of your child.
At the end of my pregnancy, I was having unusual labor pains that never really amounted to much. Finally, I had enough severe pains that took me to the hospital. They monitored the pains. I never was monitored with my other children. During a contraction, his heart rate would drop quite dramatically. I called for the nurse to explain what exactly was going on. She called the doctor. He decided that a C-section was needed because the baby was in distress.
My husband was not allowed into the delivery room. When I awoke after the C-section, my husband was by my side saying there was something he needed to tell me about the baby. I, in turn, told him the baby was a boy and that there was something wrong. This was a relief to my husband not having to tell me. He didn’t really know all of this stuff about Downs Syndrome. My brother, who was a doctor and was at the hospital at the time, told him that his son would not be going to college and to take him home and love him. We were fortunate to have him diagnosed at his birth because there were families that didn’t know for quite some time that they had a Downs child.
When we came home from the hospital, Tim’s room was decorated with pictures and crepe paper. His five siblings were welcoming him home not knowing exactly what to expect. They have been supportive and loving to him for his entire life.
It is interesting to see how the birth of a child with special needs affects the people around you. My parents, being of an older generation, had a very difficult time accepting that this had happened to our family. Friends didn’t know how to approach you or what to say. Our siblings were supportive but really didn’t understand the impact Tim would have on our lives. I wanted to teach everyone about him so he would be accepted and others would feel comfortable around him. I have tried hoping others will love him as our family loves him.
Our children have an understanding of those who have disabilities. They can interact and feel comfortable around them realizing that these special people have feelings, wants, and desires like the rest of us. There is a soft spot in our hearts for these people knowing that they are trying their best to be as normal as possible. Tim wants to be like everyone else and enjoy the social aspect outside of his home. Our children love him. I mean really love him. The Grandchildren love him, really love him. He loves them as well. He loves his family.”
Tim is such a gift. He has changed us as a family, as individuals. We are blessed as a family. So blessed.