Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Little Guy Turns 2.... Plus A Birth Story

     My little guy is two years old today and I can't believe it!  Time sure does fly and things sure have changed since he was born.  God has so changed my heart, my perspective and made my life so very full and blessed.
     Matthew Henry, Mattie as we call him, was born with an extra chromosome, much to my surprise.  I had had an uneventful pregnancy and a "normal" level 2 sonogram.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary and since he was the tie-breaker (at that point we had 4 girls and 4 boys) we didn't even find out the gender.  He was due on Thanksgiving, so my doctor agreed to induce me a week early so I could be back home and ready to cook the big Thanksgiving meal...crazy huh?  So we went in early the morning of the 20th and had a long induction with 12 family members at the hospital waiting for the arrival of #9.  By late afternoon, we knew he was coming soon and after 2 pushes, he was out.  I heard my husband yell out "it's a boy" and that is when things began to get a little strange.  They didn't let me hold him but took him right to the warmer.  I heard him crying, so I felt like everything was fine, but there were a bunch of nurses around him and the room seemed very quiet and solemn all of sudden.  I looked over at him and thought he was so cute but he did seem paler than my other babies.  Next thing I knew, two people with street clothes on came in and were checking him out.  I asked who they were and the nurses said "neonatologists."  I thought, oh they are just being so extra careful because I'm over 40.  Then they let all my family in (literally 12 of them) as I was just finishing delivering the placenta.  It was then I looked over at my husband and he was sitting down looking very pale.......he knew, God had told him 2 weeks before, but more on that later.  All the family "oohed and awwed" and then I finally got to hold him.  At that point, I looked closely at his eyes and asked Ron, "does he look different to you?"  Ron didn't answer.  Then the nurses showed all my family out and told me to get up and go the bathroom.  While I was in the bathroom, I heard the room get very quiet and a male doctor's voice speaking to my husband.  I knew at the moment and felt like my world was falling apart.  "God no.  Me?  I have 8 children already and I homeschool!  I can't do this!"  I was sobbing in the bathroom.  I came out and saw the doctor holding my baby.  He sat us down and told us that Matthew had several DS markers and that he was 90% sure he had an extra 21st chomosome.  He was very encouraging and nice about it, but I felt that I was in a dream and that this must be wrong.  Matthew looked perfect to me.  I just sat there and cried.
     Ron was taking it all so well and actually smiling!  My two older boys came in and we told them.  They sobbed along with me (that was so hard seeing two big teenage boys cry over their baby brother).  Everyone else had left the hospital and Ron was prepared to go home and tell the grandmothers, two aunts and the other children.  But then Ron looked at me and said, "God told me this two weeks ago, but I didn't feel I should tell you."  He said that one night he was laying in bed reading and all of a sudden, he heard the Holy Spirit speak to him the words, "Down Syndrome.  But it's going to be OK."  He prayed about it a minute and then kind of forgot about it until he saw little Matthew for the first time.  He was accepting this great, but I was a basket case.  I really did not know what to expect from it all, but I had such wonderful and supporting friends and family.  God even let a friend of mine, who is a nurse in the hospital I was in and who happens to have a teenage son with DS, be working that night!  We were so thankful to find out that Mattie had no major medical issues and he nursed like a champ from the get go.
    We didn't find out for sure that he had DS until the karyotype (blood test) came back 10 days after he was born.  At that point, Matthew was in PICU with RSV. He had almost died and I had bonded with him fiercly.  I was all alone when the doctor came to give me the report.  Ron had just left to go home to check on the other children.  When the doctor told me that he had that extra 21st chromosome and showed it to me on the lab report, I finally accepted it. As he was leaving, he looked at me and said, "You know, it's going to be OK."  Just what the Lord had spoken to Ron!  He left the room and with tears in my eyes, I looked out the window towards the setting sun and said, "OK God, we, You and me together, can do this!"
     Fast forward two years........I wouldn't have my little Mattie any other way!  I feel so blessed to have him and even feel so "special" to have been given such a gift.  The DS is what makes him Mattie!  As I get to know more people with these special children of all ages, I see what a delight they are and how all of us parents feel the same way.  Looking back, I wish that I could redo that moment when he was born.  It is so sad that the medical community cannot rejoice in the labor room when a child not "typical" is born.  I wish I could do it over again and not cry.  But I have to let go of that and I know that Mattie feels so loved. I'm so thankful to the Lord for placing him in our family.  God has truly changed me.  I feel like in the movie "Blind Side", when the Mom says to her friend, "No, we're not changing him, he's changing us!"


  1. Oh Becca, I am's all so fresh and familiar to me.
    You know, I was just having an emotional day- and I told God those exact words- I want to go back and do it all over again. I want to know what I know NOW- and go through my pregnancy knowing that we were going to be okay (because we did have ds suspicions, just never knew til Lily was born). We think Lily might be our last- I am 42...and I didn't want my last pregnancy to be like that. Not that I was miserable- just a little consumed with the ds issue.
    How old are you now? Do you mind me asking? Because I asked God today for another baby..and I don't even care now if we have another baby with ds. We'll see what God says...
    Happy birthday Mattie!!!

  2. Happy Birthday Mattie!
    Thanks for sharing that beautiful story :)

  3. Your heart is truly beautiful. Happy Birthday to your wonderful blessing!

  4. What a beautiful story. I love how honest you are! Happy Birthday Mattie :)

  5. How beautiful.

    Simply beautiful.

    When I had my daughter 10 years ago, friends and family would tell me that God only gives children with Down Syndrome to special people. I actually did not like hearing that because at that time I did not understand why. But as the years roll on I realize that God does see and know what is best.

    Her love is constant. Her joy and smile is the one of the highlights of my day. Knowing she is mine has made me a better person.

    All through my pregnancy, I kept telling my doctor and my husband that something is different about this pregnancy. They assured me I was worrying for nothing....I guess they failed to remember that I had three other children.

    When the doctors told me, I cried for three weeks straight. Until one day, I read a pamphlet. The first sentence read: This is a baby. I did not finish reading the pamphlet. I put it away along with all my other DS reading and proceeded to love and care for Lexy.

    The hospital had given me a name (we lived in a small town at the time) of a mother that had a two year old daughter with DS. I called her and we would meet up at a little place called Culver's yogurt. Boy, was that a blessing! Her daughter was the cutest child ever!

    Lexy went through all the therapies for little ones. And now, I homeschool her.

    So, yes I must be special to God to be entrusted with a treasure. And yes, you are blessed and as the years roll on for you your little one will bring you the most amazing glimpes of the love of an all-seeing and all-knowing kind God.

  6. Beautiful story, thanks for sharing.

  7. Happy Birthday Mattie!!! Thank you, Becca for your constant encouragement!!!

  8. Sweetie, this is the first time I've commented on one of your posts. I also teared-up reminiscing about Mattie's early story coming into our lives. You described it beautifully, however as usual, downplayed your strength. You have an indomitable spirit and will (especially in birthing children), yet this carries over in other areas of life. You fiercely loved Mattie from the moment your eye's met and are his biggest fan and cheerleader. None of us like surprises, even you :), so Matties DS was less "disappointing" and more simply "an unexpected surprise". While our lives are tough at times and extremely busy, I'm your greatest fan and andoring cheerleader. Yes, folks...she IS really incredible!

  9. Wow, what a beautiful story. You, are an amazing family. Happy birthday to your beautiful boy. Love the picture!Blessings,Marla

  10. Happy birthday, Mattie!

    I love your birth story - beautifully told! We found out a month before Ainsley was born, and here we are, 3.5 years later. She's amazing and she always brings a smile to people's faces, even strangers. Love that gift of hers!!

  11. Thanks so much y'all for appreciating my "story."
    Tonya, I love your story too. Thanks for the encouraging word. Patty, I didn't mean to make you cry! But I'm so glad there are others out there who can truly relate. And to answer your question, I'm 43. I had Mattie when I was 41 and a miscarriage at 42 and this little one is due early March. You are not too old!
    And thanks honey for your sweet note and just so all y'all out there know, my husband made me post his comment :o)

  12. WOW! I am so excited to tell my husband, we're not too old!! :) We'll have to consider the name Becca in honor of you if we have another girl some day;) Just a thought...I would love to read a post about your feelings about this next baby. As crazy as it sounds, it seems like a "normal" baby after our Lily would seem too ...normal. That probably sounds odd. I just mean we have been through so much with her emotionally, I almost think the next baby would not be as appreciated by our extended family and friends? I guess that's just a testament to how loved and spoiled Lily is:)
    Can't wait to see your post announcing that your newest blessing has arrived!!

  13. What an amazing story. I was crying as I was reading it. Not because I was sad but because that is how the Lord works in our lives. Jesus LOVES the Little Children No Matter who they are and we should all feel the same. What a HUGE Blessing your boy must be and I can only imagine how God is using Mattie in your lives and how the Lord is going to use Mattie as he grows up. Thanks for sharing.

    Anne @

  14. Such a beautiful story. Amazing too. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  15. I didn't want to leave without commenting...

    What a beautiful story! What a beautiful little boy! Thank you for your honesty, your faith, and your witness to life--and may God continue to bless you & your family.

    PS. I came here to take a peek at your homeschooling schedule after seeing a link on my friend Waltzing Matilda's blog.

    PPS. Your husband sounds like a total "keeper"! :)

  16. Beautiful story! I cried as I read it . . . just feeling the emotion of it all with you. I love that we can Trust our God to do all things well!! I LOVe the picture at the end! Priceless!

  17. Love your blog, love Mattie and so wish we lived closer so we could be a involved in a deeper way with these precious moments of your family.

  18. I am so jealous of you. My little man with DS is about to be 18. Enjoy!!!!

  19. Whlie looking for THM ideas this morning I was directed to your blog. What a huge blessing. I feel as if I have found a best friend. Some of your life story so mirrors my own. We have 7 children here on earth and 1 DS in heaven. He was still born. My stillborn story is a mixture of your DS and still born stories. What a sweet family. Have a blessed mother's day.


Thanks so much for your comments! I love them and they keep me writing. I really do read each one.