It started with the hardest news I ever had to hear... the words that have since gone through my mind hundreds of times. The moment that changed my life... the line drawn in the timeline as the distinctive before and after I found out. I began to fade in and out of reality hearing my own sobs that were not yet met by tears. I saw how nervous but sure my doctor was and I could tell this was different. At the time, it seemed like nothing had prepared me for this. I fumbled my phone and tried to get a hold of Corey, calling him once, twice and the third time in a row when he answered all I could mutter was, "I need you." And then for the first time, the one that marked the beginning of this word in my life, I said the words, "They think our baby has dwarfism."
It went from the hardest news I had to hear to the hardest news I had to tell. My mom was first... I called her through my sobs and my heart broke for her and every time after that I had to tell someone the fate of our unborn daughter. It felt unreal, the word dwarfism-- not mine. It was so intangible to think this bump of a baby in my belly wasn't the sweet girl I had imagined looking so much like my own childhood photographs running through the garden of strawberries while the butterflies played with her hair. No this baby girl is attached to this new word. And to that new word... so many unknowns for me and questions that would go a long time being unanswered.
As nighttime fell on the worst day of my life... I tried so badly to sleep but I knew if I did, I would have a moment where I would wake up and think everything was normal and life was fine. I didn't want to be slapped in the face with the disappointment again. I didn't want to feel that over and over. I was overcome by emotions... fear (of so many things-- all you ever want for your child is to be happy & healthy and the second that comes into jeopardy, as a parent, you feel all of their future pain), worry (what was going to happen, what would her complications/limitations be, would people judge her and us), doubt (can I take this head on, what if I am not strong enough, why me) and grief (the mourning of the little girl in my imagination chasing butterflies).
The words of my doctor kept ringing through my head, "In a year from now you are going to look back on this and wish nothing was different." Even though the words felt like a pep talk for somebody else, I tried to make them apply to me, but I couldn't. Although deep down, somewhere... I knew he was right. But at the time, I had this huge gap like a tiny me standing on the edge of a huge ravine and on the other side was the me I was going to be. The "how do I get from point A to point B" seemed like a feat so big, it was almost unattainable.
Just seeing that tiny me all the way across the ravine waving at me smiling gave me enough hope to know that the gap in between, the journey from here to there... is my fate. This moment is where I realized, just because it is hard to get through and may seem impossible... it doesn't mean it is... bad. That's right, not bad, just different. This is where the learning, challenging, growing of the soul takes place... and why would I ever want to miss that? That's exactly what I told my doctor a week later when he responded with, "I love that."
When it rains it pours and boy did it ever. Once we reached out to friends and family we were flooded with support, positivity, stories, and personal experiences that absolutely blew us away. If every encouragement was a water droplet, there have been storms since the news and our rain gauge just keeps filling up, up, up. We soon realized all these words together made believers out of us that we can do this. But to know that everyone around us is forming a hand-linked chain to create our safety net gives me the confidence that this baby girl will be so loved not only by us but by everyone.
Some say they are intuitive, but I know I am. I knew my son was a boy-- no questions asked. I knew this baby was a girl even before the test came back positive for pregnancy. I also knew I was preparing myself for something big... something I couldn't place at the time. There were signs the whole way when I look back, I think I always knew this baby was going to be special. Not only is she going to touch our lives, but those all around us. She has the power to change stigmas and ignorances and labels. She is going to move mountains (right Dr. Suess?) I just know it. About a week before our news, I finally decided on a nursery theme and color concept. Pinks, browns, whites and a touch a mint with the theme: Dream Big Little One. Like I said, I think I already knew.
And dream big we will. It's been 3 weeks since the day I describe above. We have 2 or so weeks until she will be here, in our arms, ready to meet the world. And once again, we have been reminded that God is SO good. We trust Him and we are so glad that we can turn our worries and fears over to Him. We delight so much in the fact that He hand-picked us to be this little girl's parents and that He hand-picked her to be ours. He never makes mistakes and I am not going to start doubting Him now! Like Him, we have good things planned for this little girl but I know she has so much more in store for us. There are so many things to be grateful for and we are celebrating each and every thing, the way we always should have done but seemed too busy to appreciate the small things.
This is a journey that was chosen for us and although we kicked and pleaded when we began and fell right off the edge into the ravine, we turned around and saw a huge opportunity to become better and see things from a different perspective. We are taking the first few steps into the wild ravine and into the unknown with high hopes of getting to the other side someday where we can be everything we want/need to be. But right now, we are anticipating the adventure and we look forward to each challenge we can overcome, each step towards learning, and growing in the depths of our character. Our minds will be open, our experiences more rich and I believe we will be amazed beyond our craziest expectations.
Thank you for coming along this journey with us... any and every ounce of awareness we can bring to dwarfism and achondroplasia and celebrating differences and everything in between will be well worth it for us. Just by reading this, I hope you have found a little place in your heart for us and I hope we put down roots and continue to grow right there.
**Thank you to everyone for your letters, e-mails, phone calls and texts. It has meant the world to us. Also thank you to our new friends we have already made in the last few weeks. Thank you for reaching out to us and accepting us for who we are. We look forward to getting to know you even more.