We're excited to bring you a new post from mother and actress Tori Spelling! Every other week, we're bringing you the best parenting and lifestyle advice from ediTORIal by Tori Spelling, which is Tori's daily blog about everything from food and fashion to parenting and relationships. This week, Tori shares a letter from her friend about her baby who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Today, I’m sharing a guest blog by my friend Lisa, owner of Evolution Vintage. Her son was born with Down syndrome, and in honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st, she has offered to share her story. When I read this, I had tears streaming down my face — not because I felt sorry for Lisa’s son Blake, but because she inspires me as a mom. I hope you are as touched by her story as I was:
Down But Not Out
By Lisa Graystone
Friday the 13th turned out to be the luckiest day of my life . . . in hindsight. I gave birth for the second time to my son Blake under very traumatic circumstances. He was born blue, lifeless and his first sounds resembled a watery gurgle, not a cry. His birth was fast and as a result he had lungs full of water and had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice. I was unable to hold him before they rushed him to the special care nursery for respiratory therapy and monitoring. We spent six days in the hospital. During this time, due to the shape of his eyes, the doctors suspected Blake had Trisomy 21; also known as Down Syndrome (DS). He fought to live and to be here, only now to be faced with a prospective hurdle he would continue to jump for the rest of his life. The postpartum hormones were swirling as I sat down the hall from my new son who was fighting for his life; quietly smelling the receiving blanket from his NICU nest and pumping my breasts alone in tears. Nine agonizing days later, the test results confirmed the doctor’s suspicions. The joy and relief that my son was alive was immediately shrouded in darkness, sadness, despair and shock. I am under 35 and was not given the option of amniocenteses (the test that can conclusively tell you if your baby has DS). The blood test that was available I opted not to do because of the high false positive rate and the fact that there were no "risk factors" — my first child was healthy and my ultrasounds were normal and we were reassured that everything was "fine." I was surrounded by fear and unknowns, questions with no answers and a baby boy to care for.
I have no time to be on the "why me" program being the ambitious mompreneur that I am. I had to force myself to say: "WHY NOT" and bring it on to my already full plate. There seemed to be no other alternative than to take it head on and realize that the only thing I can control is my attitude, approach and perspective. I feel very lucky to have been given this boy and with him the opportunity for personal growth, education and evolution.
I introduced Blake to my family and friends (many who live 3,000 miles away in Canada) via this letter written from his perspective: