Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Healthy Baby...

This post has been rolling around in my head since before I had Ollie. I recently saw something briefly on Facebook that promped me to pour it out, so bear with me.
Since my pregnancy I've been around numerous people expecting after me including two sisters.
There is one comment that always stands out. It's meant to be a positive statment, but is it really??
People always say, "All I want is a healthy baby." or "It doesn't matter if it's a boy or a girl as long as the baby is healthy."
Think about that for a second. What does it really mean?
If I were to have a 4th child at some point - I'm afraid I'd get that comment all the time, because people association Down Syndrome as a defect, so they view Ollie as unhealthy. Which granted her heart was not healthy - I know that & don't wish it upon anyone. BUT her heart was fixable & she's healthy now, and we grew as people tremendously through that event. She has Down Syndrome, but it doesn't make her unhealthy.
To me when you say all I want is a healthy baby - doesn't it kind of slap me in my face?? Doesn't it kind of insinuate that anything less than "typical" is less? What does it really mean if your baby isn't healthy?? Does it change your decision?? I hope not.
During my pregnancy when nothing was certain anyway I received I'm sorry statements from everyone. And don't get me wrong, people mean well when they say they are sorry, but I was still thrilled by Ollie Faith. To this day I'm still thrilled with her. It would have helped my heart so much if instead of I'm sorry, I would have been told congratulations, your baby is a gift from God or congratulations just left as simple as that.
I'm pretty sure most of the apologies I received were really focused on Down Syndrome & this preconceived notion in peoples heads that my life with Ollie was going to be harder, that she may live with us forever & it made them uncomfortable, that they were happy it was me and not them...that sounds harsh, but I know that's the truth - for some people anyway.
Maybe you disagree, but then again you most likely haven't walked in my shoes and you don't have the perspective that I have on all of this.
All I'm trying to say is that perhaps we should just be THANKFUL that we are having ANY baby. That we should accept what God has given us with open hands. That we shouldn't apologize for something God has planned in our lives even if it's an unexpected gift in any form and we shouldn't just expect & want healthy babies.
In my case what people see as a genetic defect is by far one of my greatest blessings. Sometimes this unexpected journey is what makes us who we are and makes us grow into better people.
Besides if you saw Ollie's sweet face now, you have to admit - there is absolutely nothing to apologize for.

***I also want to admit that pre-Ollie I have said all I want is a healthy baby, in fact I probably said it about her because I didn't care if she was a boy or girl. BUT now I know better because all I wanted was MY baby, healthy or not.  I said it because I didn't really think about what I meant & assumed I would always have healthy babies.  In fact I delivered a very unhealthy baby with a broken heart.  My parents lost my twin brothers at 17 days after their birth because they were conjoined and shared a heart that couldn't be fixed.  I know what an unhealthy baby is & honestly I do not want anyone to  have to walk where we have walked in fear for your childs life or mourning your loss.  I wouldn't want those heart aches passed onto anyone.  That being said, I don't want people that are getting screened for chromosomal issues to view DS as unhealthy, to abort because DS is unhealthy.  You can in fact have a healthy child that doesn't have the typical amount of chromosomes.  I don't want a lynch mob upset with me over this because I seriously understand the want of a healthy baby, but we don't get to choose.  God gives us what we need & what he gives us is for a reason, a reason we can only wonder or ponder until the day we are called home.


  1. Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

  2. very true. being a mother of a special needs child i think i would probably think the same way as you. what does healthy really mean? a healthy baby can be taken many ways. but then again god would never give anyone more than they could handle

  3. Amen. Every baby is a gift, and should be treated as such. When Russell was born people didn't know we were testing for Ds, they thought he was in the NICU because he was so early, so all the comments we got were "At least he is healthy, that's all that matters"...And my heart would break each time I heard those words because I knew he was not the "healthy" they were talking about. And once people knew he had Ds, the congratulations stopped...And that hurt deeply...Because Ds or not, he was our son and we loved him and we wanted people to be excited for us that he was here.
    Anyway, great post!

  4. Annie, First off I have to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. But today's posting struck me the wrong way. My parents lost two boys to a very rare genetic disease. I watch as they lived their short lives in pain, knowing there was nothing that could be done for them. When I became pregnant with my first I prayed and prayed for a healthy baby. It was never meant as a slap in the face for any mother who has a child with a syndrome that isn't life threatening and debilitating. What you have is a healthy child...3 healthy children. Down Syndrome, Williams Syndrome and a host of others gives you chances and choices with your childern that my brothers never had. You are on one side of the spectrum. I am on the other. I would have given the world to have brothers who had a syndrome such as your daughter, because they would be here today...to love! When we ask for/pray for a healthy child...we want a child to love and to outlive us. I would never have given up the chance to have been there for my brothers. The short time I got to love them was extraordinary but the pain of losing them or of having a child that I could lose....is unbearable. That is what I believe most people want when they wish and pray for a healthy baby.

  5. Your blog had me thinking about sitting in the doctor’s office with both of my kids when the doctor asked if we want to do the test to see if they might have DS. I have never considered having this test done. Even when I was pregnant with Jack you had posted only a few weeks prior that your baby girl might have DS, I still never considered having the test done. I do not know why they have the test, if it can help in other ways or not. I know have signed off both times denying this test and I will continue to sign off unless there is a benefit that someone would like to educate me on. I do not see DS as an unhealthy baby and I never will! I see babies as babies, kids as kids, and people as… well good or ignorant, or many other words.

  6. Dear anonymous - I don't know that I had my words exactly how I want them to come across. My parents too lost twin boys, conjoined twins that shared a heart. I understand what it is to truly have an unhealthy child & to want a healthy baby. What I mean by this post is the people that say it flippantly because it's a phrase people use. The people that still apologize to me before meeting my daughter that she has DS & tell me it's such a pity because it's not. That people view her every day as unhealthy when in fact she is healthy now. If I were to have another child, people would pray for it not to have DS and to be healthy. That 90% of people terminate a child with DS because our children are seen as unhealthy - keep in mind that a lot of those babies may not have a single medical issue outside of a 47th chromosome.

    I just know my experience & also watched my parents deal with their loss as well. I know we wish my brothers were here. I wonder who they would be and what it would be like to have brothers. I know we would change that if we could & they would be with us today. However, it wasn't God's plan for us. His plan was different. My parents have risen up and learned from it and are better people through what they were given and what they have lost. Those are my experiences and why I feel the way I do.

  7. i love this! great words Annie!

  8. I wrote about the same thing on Sunday after hearing a similar comment at church.

    1. Sorry, hit post before I meant to, and then the baby started crying....We got these comments with Claire. Since we didn't know her sex, we also heard just as long as she's healthy. But we knew about Ds and her heart defect, even if most people didn't. And the comments hurt. And now, with a new baby, the comments hurt again. I know people don't mean them as a slap in the face, but they are.

  9. Ollie is just the cutest and always looks so happy! You all are blessed.

  10. I loved reading Pudge and Biggs the other day when she said she hopes this pregnancy produces a healthy baby- and that she's lucky that she already has 2 of them (and both have Ds). This was a great note that babies with Ds (and even repaired heart defects) are still healthy and desirable.

  11. Oh what a wonderful post!! She is a gift from God!! Love the picture of her to:)

    1. Also Al and I have eight children and that alone drives the world crazy but when I was expecting number seven and eight the doctors so wanted me to have the test as I was older. I told them no as we would never end a pregnancy as every child is a Gift from God and GOD never makes mistakes!!!

  12. She looks beautiful,happy and like a perfect picture of health to me!

  13. It's always bothered me when people say that, I want to reply, "so what are you going to do if it isnt?" Of course people pray for healthy babies, but your Ollie is the perfect example of the Lord knowing better than we do...

  14. When I was pregnant with my first, a customer asked me if I was having all the tests done. I said, "No, we've seen the ultrasound and we're good." The customer went on to tell me how I really should have the tests done because a baby with problems is a life long commitment. I was awe struck and said, "Every child is a life long commitment." I've never forgotten how I felt at hearing their hurtful words. I've often thought about that customer's children, as his wife was 2 weeks further along in her prenancy than me. What will happen if one doesn't do well and how the parents will treat him or her. Almost 9 years later and it still bugs me....

  15. Hi I have been reading for a long time but don't think I have ever commented! I just wanted to put my 2 cents in on this. I have three girls and everytime I was pregnant I said I wanted the baby to be healthy. But in my mind I never really linked birth defects with health. As long as my baby was alive, I would be happy. My first daughter was born 5 weeks early with a cleft palate and I told everyone she was perfectly healthy because she was! To me Ollie is perfectly healthy now. I know a lot of people probably do worry that they will end up with a baby that's not "normal", but I also know a lot of people really just plainly mean they want their kids to be born alive. I could live with any birth defect as long as I got to hold my living,breathing child. Of course God is going to give everyone the child he designed for them, I was just asking God to let me keep whatever baby he gave me. I hope this makes a little sense.

  16. Isn't it amazing how our children with Ds change us, make us better people. When I look back at the "me" before Noah, I don't like me very much. And when I look at Ollie Faith, all I see is perfection. I probably also said that all I wanted was a healthy baby while pregnant. I think pre-Noah, that my fears were that if I had a baby that were unhealthy or one born with any sort of diagnosis, that I would never be able to handle it. Surprise, surprise. You handle it, you do. You just accept what you are given and you run with it. You have no choice (well I guess you do, but you know what I mean). It's amazing how strong we are when we have to be, how we do things that we never thought we could do. Noah is one of the best things that ever happened to me, and if you would have told me that before I had him I would never have believed it. I think you have to be on this journey sometimes to understand that, and that's sad to me, because so many people will never understand how wonderful, rewarding and fulfilling having a child that isn't "perfect" to society can be.

  17. I am scanning thru your posts as it has been a long while since I came over! That Ollie photo is cracking me up. That girl is a total ham!
    I remember being pregnant at age 39 with Nick. They scared the daylights out of me! I think life is what it is meant to be! What God tosses at you! I never fell for their scary medical stories and my kid is graduating in 8 days from high school and heading off to college! No matter what they said or thought I knew God was going to allow what He felt I could handle.
    I am a big believer that God gives you the kind of kids only He knows you can deal with! No matter what anyone else thinks. I am a God go to kinda gal! I rarely trouble myself with thoughtless airheads of this world!
    A friend has a beautiful baby boy Vance. He was born on Christmas Eve 2011. Problem is the world sees him as a defect! He was born with a club foot. Oh that is fine. It can be repaired. But his left leg is a short little thigh with a perfectly formed foot and five wiggly toes attached! Vance has no idea he is imperfect int he worlds eyes. He is a happy boy! I feel sad, he may have to have his little leg amputated and he will deal with a lifetime of prosthetic legs. But....
    My older son Jeremy has a friend John and John is a grown man of 27. He was born with a withered leg which was tangled in the cord. Therefore John has spent his entire life getting fitted for a new leg as he grew. He is as right as rain. Smart, talented and life can stick their imperfection in their ear!
    My friend Lora will be care giver to Ricki her beautiful daughter who is in her 30s Ricki was born with cerebal palsy. Her mind will be forever 4 but she is an incredibly beautiful girl. A gift. From God. No returns for life and people who hate imperfections.
    My buddy Ivan who is expecting his own daughter in June has a sister Myra. "Retarded", that is the awfulness of idiots who don't know what a kind and beautiful young lady she is. He always says that to me. People are stupid, they do not understand how happy she can make everyone around her. So sometime Myra shuts herself in her room and cries. She wont be the one crying when she meets her maker one day. Those hateful and mean spirited people with awful name calling will be crying. For mercy from their maker who made each one of us in His image! Why would the bible tell us that if it were untrue?
    My son Nick, our baby, befriended a girl in an electric wheelchair. One day the school bully tried to dump her out..of her chair! Of course, in the politically correctness of public schooling we can not hurt the bullies feelings!
    In the 8th grade the bully smacked Nick in the back of the head! Nick politely asked him to stop. Smack a second time! Nick took him down to the floor and in a headlock beat him into submission! The little girl in the wheelchair called Nick her hero!
    Our lives are filled with ignorance and sadness. I am happy not to be part of that. Perfectionism is sinful in my opinion and if you don't believe me take a look around the world! We hate imperfection because somebody, probably the current government administration thinks we can not have imperfect people running around the world! Just abort them all! That is their sick thinking because they would not be qualified to care for such a wonderful child like Ollie Faith! They would be afraid she might teach 'em something of value.
    Please pray for Vance. He is going to get a second opinion at the Shriner Hospital in Salt Lake City.
    Pray for Nick he is running his second to last high school track 3200 race tomorrow.
    I need to pray for all the goofy people who run around thinking you did not have a healthy baby! Looking at this girl of yours I would never guess what obstacles she has already overcome. She is a ham I tell ya, a total ham! She knows it and why is she posing for that camera if she is so...whatever these people who dislike a little imperfection think she isn't?!?! She is cute and she knows it! I have nothing else to say!
    Hugs and blessings


Thank you so much for your kind words & support! I love hearing from you & read each and every comment you leave for me! ~Annie


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