Audrey 2

When we had Audrey, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl and we didn’t share our baby names with people. We were looking forward to the surprise.

Strangely, my mother, who was obsessed with us promising that we wouldn’t make a name up or have something American sounding that’s really a surname (Taylor, Page, Madison…), found Audrey to be a shock name choice.

My brother overheard her telling relatives on the phone (as she rang around to confirm Audrey’s arrival); “They chose the name Audrey as they love Audrey Hepburn and Vicky loves The Rocky Horror Picture Show so much” (!). Hilarious. Yes, she meant Little Shop of Horrors and, no that wasn’t really part of the naming process.

Anyway, this was post was drafted to announce a little “Audrey 2” in my tummy, but sadly it’s sad news instead.

A few weeks ago, at 10 weeks pregnant, we had a miscarriage. As I type that, it does feel strange to be sharing something so personal online, but the fact is, it happened and we’re ok.

When I lost my job, I was about 5 or 6 weeks pregnant and I was instantly worried about how we were going to cope financially and also how on earth I was going to apply for jobs knowing I only had 6 months worth of work before going off to have a baby. But we had to get on with things and the pregnancy was good news, so we couldn’t let redundancy overshadow this.

The timing was very similar to Audrey, her due date was 17th July, this baby’s was 2nd July. So like my pregnancy with Audrey, we planned to tell family at Christmas, with a toast to the new baby on Christmas Day. Sadly, this was not to be, but we were very lucky in that this happened to our second pregnancy, so we had Audrey around to keep us smiling. She made all the difference. And at 10 weeks, we weren’t too far along. It was devastating, we had started planning for Audrey 2, but it wasn’t quite as I had imagined. Not quite like the drama in the movies… for example, we got the bus to the hospital. Seems so silly now. The early pregnancy unit is closed on weekends, so we had to sit in A&E for an hour or so. It was… unpleasant.

We still hope to grow our family and would love for Audrey to be a big sister, but we recognise how fragile human life is and how lucky we are to already have a beautiful daughter in our lives.

Sorry for this depressing post. Belated Christmas wishes to you all and have a Happy 2015!

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Blessed

When Audrey was a newborn, I read other parents’ accounts of having a child with Down Syndrome and, well, I thought in some cases they were lying. Or at least kidding themselves by piling on the positivity.

“Our child is a blessing” or “we wouldn’t change anything about our child” or “he/she is simply perfect”. I thought come on, you would change the Down Syndrome! And you know they’re not perfect!

But guess what? They were just further down the path than us and now I know what they know, I’m all over this positivity and “blessedness”!

But let me be clear, Audrey isn’t a blessing to us because she has DS, she just plain and simple is a blessing. She’s our daughter, we made her and ok, something “different” happened in the making and she got an extra chromosome, but that’s just part of Audrey.

When I look at her, I am overwhelmed by how much I love her and how perfect she is for us, for our family. I genuinely wouldn’t change her. Yes, I want to wipe out health issues, prejudices, difficulties… But if we took away the DS, she wouldn’t be the same baby and we love this baby, just the way she is. She’s perfect. And yes, I know that really there is no such thing as perfect… In fact, as I said, when I read other families call their child with DS “perfect”, I felt a twinge, an uncomfortable stab… Thinking, c’mon, how can you use the word perfect?!?

But I get it now. How can anyone? What is perfection? Does it even exist?

Audrey isn’t really perfect. She had terrible reflux and used to puke all over us. Sometimes she gives wonderful long kisses; covering us in snot. Sometimes she wakes up at 5am. She pulls my hair. She dribbles a lot. She has rough patches on her thumbs from over-sucking.

But she is amazing. She fits into our family and brings us so much happiness. We are deeply in love with her and wouldn’t change her for the world.

So there. Gushy positive Down’s Syndrome family believes they are blessed. Because they are.

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