Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Grace Marie!

When I turn my mind from the everyday and really stop and put life with Grace in perspective, my heart fills to overflowing with love and gratitude for the life of my little girl. (Sometimes the overflow squeezes out my eyes.)

Today our special little girl is two years old. We never could have dreamed on that cold cold night in February when she was born in the little cabin in Kingman what a journey we were beginning with her!

We were nervous of course. I remember Paul staying up all night with her the first night, just to be sure she kept breathing. As I lay in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, I heard him praying with her and singing his own version of the popular James Blunt song "You're Beautiful". We were just a pair of proud, happy parents. We adored our little seven-pound package of sweetness.

At five weeks came 'The Big Reveal'. Grace and I had been having some trouble with nursing. She was only a few ounces over her birth weight. I had been to see a La Leche leader and started pumping to increase my milk supply, but I decided to visit the lactation specialist at Wesley as well. The doctor in charge of that department had been a pediatrician for thirty years. She was the one who told me that day that she was near certain Grace had Down Syndrome. Having no point of comparison, we hadn't really found her short, stubby fingers (fondly referred to as her 'little sausages') or the different shape of her eyes, or her generally small features to be remarkable. There were many tears for me, and much uncertainty for all of us.

We also learned that day that Grace had a significant heart murmur, indicative of a congenital heart defect (or two as it turned out). One BT shunt surgery, one heart catheterization, and one open heart surgery later, Gracie is all better. Those experiences are a whole 'nother story.

Every child's life is precious, and perhaps parents who have struggles less life-threatening than our own love their children just as fiercely and dearly as we love our Gracie, but perhaps, just perhaps, our appreciation for her life is surpassing because of the struggles God has chosen us to bear. Even if this is not so, my gratitude to God surpasses what it would have been had He blessed us with a 'normal' child.

So Happy Birthday, my Special Dear One, and may mommy and daddy always be thankful (especially on those days when you make mommy feel crazy) for the blessing we have in you!


Karen Mikols said...

WoW! What a powerfully beautiful story, Patty. She's cute as a button! I wish I lived closer so I could see more of her antics ... because I'm sure there are PLENTY of them! ;-)~

Patty Arnold said...

Oh yes! :) She's a mile a minute.

simplemama said...

so beautiful :)

Donkeyknight said...

Patty, you are a really talented writer and a great momma! Thank you for bringing little Gracie into our family! That photo of her is the cutest I've seen yet!