By Khaki Cooper
I remember that fateful day in May of 2015 so clearly when I got the call from my OB regardung the results of my MateriT21 test. I’ll never forget it. I had just gotten home from. working the night shift, and crawled into bed. As soon as I closed my eyes to rest, the call came in, and I heard the words, “It’s positive for Trisomy 21”.
I couldn’t think, yet my brain wouldn’t stop. I could barely breathe. I didn’t know what to say…. The rest of the conversation was a blur…. Until the very end when she said, “Oh, and it’s a boy”.
Later, I remember having so many thoughts…. How strange that the excitement of finding out I was having a boy somehow got pushed to the end of a conversation as if it were not that big of a deal. I mean…. First of all, I’m carrying a baby, then add to it that this baby has made it when others haven’t or never had the chance. I should be so excited, yet I have a deep sorrow. All I want is to sleep away what news I’ve just been told…. Yet, I can’t. My world is upside down. Was this a cruel joke?! Seriously! It has to be a joke. It can’t be real.
The cruelty of it seemed immeasurable; “Just my luck”!
There’s no way I could bring this baby into the world….
There’s no way I could have this baby.
Thankfully, my mother had moved to Santa Barbara with Sadie & me during my travel nurse stint, so I went into the next room and woke her. I told her the news, and then I lost it… I was crying so hard; my head full of thoughts. I was about to vomit… The emotions mixed with morning sickness were overwhelming.
I remember telling her that I had to have an abortion. I couldn’t raise two children with special needs. I knew the complications of Down Syndrome medically, and I wasn’t strong enough to handle it. She held me. Cried with me. Mourned with me. We were at a loss.I tried to focus on other things, but my world was up-side-down.
In order to confirm the diagnosis, a week later I had a CVS done at CedarSinai in Beverly Hills. The following week or so while I waited for the official results…. The biological father was made aware of the preliminary ones, and then I knew this would be the last encounter I would have with him face to face.
If I were to keep this baby, I would not only be raising a baby boy with Down Syndrome, but I would be raising him alone.
I received the call…. It was official. The cells don’t lie. My baby had T21.
The days, weeks, and months to follow were full of so many mixed emotions. Some days I felt I just drifted…. Like I wasn’t walking, but instead just floating lowly from place to place.
The rest of my pregnancy continued with so many complications. It seemed as soon as one was resolved another popped up, then another, and another. I was scared to allow myself to love this baby. So many “what ifs” ran through my head daily.
Then, somehow, after he was born, this incredible, unbreakable, deep and precious love erupted inside my soul; a love inexplainable.
Today, I get to smile. I get to look at this precious baby boy with Trisomy 21, and be thankful.
I get to look at the most adorable baby face I’ve ever seen. I get to receive kisses from him. I get to hear his sweet little noises and words. I get to see him so proud of himself with each milestone of achievement. I get to rejoice Daily and marvel at the essence that is him. I get to feel the touch of his hand on my face. I get to hear him say my name. I get to feel his skin, kiss his lips, make him giggle, and lose my breath by thinking of the blessing that is him.
I get to see the beauty that is T21. The love. The cuteness. The funny faces. The sheer determination. The truth behind the word “Special”. All of it. Somehow the fear of that fateful day is covered with the joy that resides in my arms today!
For today…. I am blessed. I wouldn’t change that extra chromosome for anything else.