Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our Own Little Awareness Campaign

This week, I was on a mission. I scheduled my annual ob/gyn check-up with the doctor that delivered Levi, not because of my fondness for her, but because I wanted her to see that we are okay. You see, when Levi was born, I cried...and cried...and cried. I didn't stop crying until after we were home from the hospital. This ob/gyn never saw anything but tears from me. 

This particular doctor just ended up being the one on call when I went into labor and wasn't someone I really knew. At one of Levi's check-ups, a week or so after his birth, Levi's pediatrician told me that she called his office to check on me. It made me so sad to think of the impression I must have made on her...a mother disappointed by her baby. I found it very interesting that she called to see how I was doing a week after the delivery because while I was still in the hospital, she asked me why I didn't do testing to find out ahead of time if Levi would have Down syndrome. I said, "Because that would never have changed my plans to have him." With a raised eyebrow & shoulder-shrug she responded, "That's what everyone says."

Those words have been frozen in my mind. I don't know exactly what was meant, but it made me really, really sad. Did she think I'd have chosen not to have him if I had known?

I have wondered what on earth I could do to change the impression I made on her. I wondered if she thought I was unhappy with Levi. I wondered if she'd ever encourage someone to terminate a pregnancy so they wouldn't be sad, like she saw me. It was really eating at me. The only thing I knew to do was to see her again and tell her that we are happy and that life is good.

So yesterday we did just that. I told her his diagnosis was surprising, but not disappointing. I told her that my post-pregnancy hormones amplified my worries and fears, but that this kid is amazing and has made me a better person.
Of course, he had to do his camera face for me!

Since we were near the mall, I took the boys out to run around the play area there. Adam made some new buddies and enjoyed a game of hide & seek. They all played so nicely together and were very kind to one another.
Here they are deciding who will count while the others hide.

"I don't think anyone sees me up here!"
It was such a thrill to see Levi run around the play area for the first time. We haven't been here since he started walking. He had a big time.
His favorite thing to do was run toward the exit! That's what he's doing in this picture! Little Stinker!
We went on another awareness mission today. Levi got to be the big man on campus at the University of Kentucky. We went to a class for future physical therapists, and they practiced doing assessments with Levi as their "patient."
PicMonkey sure makes it fun to conceal a person's identity!
The students had a lot of questions about Down syndrome, sign language, and our therapies. It was fun being there. I am so glad we went.

Even after expending lots of energy for the class, Levi LOVED walking around on campus.

"You comin'?"

And here he is five minutes after getting into the car, when I stopped for gas.
Making a difference in the world takes a lot of energy out of a two-year-old!


Laura said...

You are doing so much, April, to show the world that Ds is not scary! Thank you!

Jennifer Kanter said...

April, I attended one of your seminars earlier in the year & I just want to let you know that you've really touched my heart. You're an inspiration! Levi is beautiful. God bless!

lovemy3 said...

You are a much bigger person than I am. I have no desire to ever see the OB/Gyn that delivered Hailey. Yes, I would love for her to see that we are okay, but that would mean I need to be in the same room with her. I'm still trying to deal with my emotions about her. I love all the pics of Levi walking around! Gives me hope that Hailey will get there! It must be tiring for our little ones...showing the world that DS is not scary and is a fabulous thing!

Leah said...

Way to go, April! :) Levi is doing AWESOME! :) We love the soft play at the mall, too!

Jenny said...

I loved this! Russell spent three weeks in the NICU and I cried pretty much everyday I went there. I too was afraid that's all the Nurses or Doctors saw...A Mother devastated by her childs birth. Two months after we got home I added some of Russell's Nurses to my FB, they have followed his journey faithfully for the past three years, and they have learned so much, and they see our life truly is one of joy.
I love that you went back to that Doctor, I think it is so important to reach out to the Medical community to show them that life with Down syndrome is pretty darn amazing.
Also, I LOVE seeing pictures of Levi running around...Makes me smile every time :)

Becca said...

I totally get that. I'm glad you had that opportunity to show her that life is good. :-) When Sammi was about a year old I went to visit the reproductive endocrinology office I had gone to, who helped me get pregnant with the assistance of Clomid. I didn't have any contact with them after the first few months of pregnancy, and had no ties to them, but I wanted to show them that Down syndrome is perfectly fine, so they could perhaps pass along some of that feel-good stuff to other patients of theirs who just *may* get a prenatal diagnosis or have concerns (they're the ones that gave me a piece of paper showing what my risk was for my age).