I am strong because…
I went to work everyday with what I thought was an empty sac.
I chose to do genetic testing knowing I would likely continue the pregnancy regardless of the results.
I let the doctors push a needle into my uterus, near my developing baby, to get a CVS sample to see what exactly was going on with my baby.
I told people my baby had Down Syndrome in the same breath I told them I was pregnant.
Everyday I worried about miscarriage and stillbirth but still got out of bed.
I went to conferences, talked to experienced mothers and sought resources for the baby who would likely struggle inside me.
I knew enough to take someone with me to each ultrasound, just in case we got bad news.
I accepted the news that my baby had clubbed feet as good news.
I made a baby registry with all sorts of Down Syndrome specific things so I would be prepared.
When I was diagnosed with low fluid and my baby’s kidneys weren’t working and her lungs probably wouldn’t either, I still got out of bed.
I helped people end unwanted pregnancies of possibly healthy babies while I so badly wanted to continue my wanted pregnancy of an unhealthy baby.
I never once considered learning the gender of our baby before birth despite the numerous ultrasounds, because I wanted a good surprise for once.
I smiled at the woman who could not stop wishing me a healthy baby when she saw my large belly in the third trimester.
I decided a classical c-section would not be good for my health and future family.
I decided to prevent a very preterm birth because I didn’t think our baby could survive her medical complications and prematurity.
I cancelled my baby shower.
I went to work with pregnant woman, myself pregnant with a that baby might die any moment.
I listened to their complaints without judgement, even though they were having a healthy baby.
I still talked to my sister who was pregnant with a healthy baby.
I didn’t complain about legs in my ribs or difficulty sleeping.
I exercised all through pregnancy, even when hospitalized.
I was admitted to the hospital and lived for two weeks attached to a monitor, carefully watching every beat of my baby’s heart.
I was ok with two more weeks of hospital time when suggested we wait even longer for delivery to increase my baby’s chance of survival.
I asked my family to try to be there for her birth because we were unsure how much time we’d have with her.
I ordered a baby outfit and blanket so my baby would have something to wear in case she died.
I got an epidural, knowing I’d be sad about it later, but also knowing it would help me survive emotionally.
I pushed my baby out in three contractions.
I fell in love with my baby even though I thought I would lose her.
I listened to the doctor who told us her lungs were not responding.
I called all my family to tell them our baby was going to die.
When the doctor said it was time to take her off the vent, I said ok.
I held my baby as she took her last breaths.
I bathed a dead baby instead of a live one.
I held her lifeless body as lovingly as I would if she lived.
I show her pictures even if it will make others uncomfortable.
I visit her grave .
I still get out of bed every day.
I’m strong and I know some of you are too. Tell me, why are you strong?