High Expectations

Nothing in life is certain.

Not once did I think that’d be right here, right now. Three weeks from our due date and scared as hell. I keep thinking “What did I get myself into? I can’t do this.”

Down syndrome. Heart surgery. Stress. As her due date nears, I find all my optimism fading away. I second guess my abilities and am starting to grieve again about her diagnosis even though, by now, its old news.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on our decision to start a family. We were so naïve…

The plan:

  • Decide to start a family
  • Start a family
  • Life is great. 
  • The end. 

…Not that this was a decision that we made on the fly, but Jacob seemed to ease into the idea quicker. It took some warming up for me.

For months, I felt like the idea was following me around, slowly sneaking up on me with its scary claws. It gave me great anxiety when I thought of having a baby. There’s so much to learn and so many changes that have to be made. This would be the biggest and most important decision of our LIVES! I knew that I’d be ready at some point, but how would I know?!

Then one day it was easy. I got a package in the mail. It was a onesie I had ordered for a friend’s little boy. Tiny and blue with a sewn on belt and badge, finished with a little heart on the back. It was adorable. When I opened it up, I experienced the strangest, most unexplainable turnaround. I felt it in my whole body, my heart, my bones. I wanted to be a mother.

Nothing would scare me. I would juggle everything that’s on my plate. I might complain about nausea the first few months, but we would excitedly watch my belly grow bigger and bigger until our baby was here. We would be a happy little family, no surprises. And because of my competitive streak, he/she would walk within their first year, their first word would be two syllables, and they’d skip finger painting, only to reach for the brush…(I’m over-exaggerating these expectations, of course, but you get my point.)

Now here I am. This experience has humbled me more than I ever thought possible.

Now I only have the simplest of expectations. I take every bit of information with caution and every ignorant comment with a grain of salt. No longer does my competitive streak take charge when I think about where we should be and where we are going. Baby Girl will develop at her own pace and I am okay with that. I plan to provide her with everything she needs to succeed and that means giving her all my approval and support. Starting in the womb.

This week we went in for our third & final fetal echocardiogram. Her heart was pretty much the same as before (Partial Atrioventricular Septal Defect). The muscular structure of her heart is a little bit thicker than they’re used to seeing, but it doesn’t affect anything in anyway.

This was unremarkable news. However, there is a slight chance that there is a small hole in her heart that we didn’t see before. This one is between her bottom two ventricles. She will get another echocardiogram after birth and it may or may not confirm this pesky hole’s existence. Within a few days of her arrival, we will be able to formulate a plan. No need to worry right now. The worst case scenario is that she needs surgery a little sooner.

Something else we’re watching is her growth. This is measured every three weeks. She is currently measuring in the 13th percentile. We knew that she was on the small side, but this number was alarming to hear. Talk about heart problems, mine was racing! I’ve watched her percentile drop slowly every few weeks! Even though I had concerns, I was assured that there is nothing to worry about. Her next growth appointment is next week so we will get a good idea of where she’s measuring. We are so close to the end, I’m convinced that she’ll turn out just fine.

In the meantime, I am grasping for positivity and confidence to last me these final weeks. Her nursery continues to be a sort of a sanctuary for me. When I look around her room, I try to imagine what it will be like when she’s in my arms instead of my belly. I know that these feelings of uncertainty and anxiety will pass. I can’t wait for when they do. Until then, I’ll continue to distract myself with silly things like dressing my pups up 🙂

Buckaroo clearly likes to hang out in the nursery with me 🙂

One thought on “High Expectations

  1. Amber, what I read here is the same concerns and expectations and excitement of any pregnant couple. You hope for the best and fear for the worst and just wonder what reality is going to be. You are going to be wonderful parents no matter what you are up against. I am convinced you will find great joy amid the worries and concerns and your family will teach us all how to be great human beings. Your story is such a blessing to all of us who know you. Praying all goes well for your baby and your new family. I know you have a lot of people supporting you and Jake and baby lemonade, and I hope you count us among them!


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