It's Mina's World, we just live in it

Thursday, October 26, 2006

So This is Mina.......
The most unexpected and most appreciated gift of my life. Her middle name is Ahyoka, which is Cherokee for "She Brought Happiness." Little did I know how perfect that name was going to be. But it wasn't like that the day she was born. That day was a day of fear, uncertainty, and sadness because she did not fit the image of what a child would be. In fact, she was born with the exact disability my husband and I feared the most....Down Syndrome. I cannot speak for my husband, but I had never felt comfortable around the mentally disabled, so this was the ultimate test of my ability to love unconditionally.

When I became pregnant, I knew I would never terminate my pregnancy, so I did not have the testing done to check for chromosomal abnormalities. The only test we did do was a second level ultrasound to check the gender, and it indicated one weak marker for DS, a calcium deposit on the heart. That put our chances at 1 in 145. The doctor also checked the length of the nasal bone to check for a shorter one, which would indicate DS as well, but it was normal. We went home that day with a clean bill of health, so we thought, newly appreciative of the girl we found out we were going to have (my husband was hoping for a boy at the time.) Boy were we surprised when soon after the delivery we discovered that not only were we having a girl, we were having a girl with Down Syndrome. I wish I knew then what I knew now, because I would not have gone through the absolute despair I felt at having a child with this disability.

After spending the last two years of my life with this child, I've discovered that she is nothing like the stereotypes in my mind, and she is a "real" child, which I embarrassingly admit I thought she was not going to be. She is so normal it's ridiculous! Mina chases the cats and grabs their tails, laughs at us when we dance silly, throws a fit when she can't watch Barney and cruises far distances in order to eat Gerber Puffs! She loves "Itsy, Bitsy, Spider," chocolate doughnut holes, car rides (she signs 'more' when we pause in traffic!,) and meeting new kids. I'd say that is a very normal, typical American child if I do say so myself.

And yes, she does have therapy, and yes, she does take longer to do some things than kids without DS, but I would not trade a thing even if I could. She is our joy, and frankly, for us, it has now become Mina's world....We're just priviledged to be in it!