The afternoon after Charlotte was born, a nurse came to our room after taking Charlotte's blood pressure and asked us if we had noticed that two of her fingers and two of her toes were fused together. At the time, I was really upset, my perfect little girl had fused fingers and toes? The thought of her going through surgery to separate them was devastating to me. Surgery? How scary! I cried when Katherine had her 2 month shots five years ago, how could I handle my baby going through surgery?
A couple hours later, the pediatrician came to tell us that she thought Charlotte had Down syndrome. Suddenly fused fingers seemed so minor. It is all about perspective.
After being mad at the world and crying my eyes out for three days after the Down syndrome diagnosis, we went for an ECHO. When the cardiologist told us that Charlotte had heart disease and would need surgery during her first year of life, the Down syndrome diagnosis all of sudden seemed minor. It is all about perspective.
Walking through the CICU last week, I saw babies who had been there for months, kids Katherine's age waiting for heart transplants, and newborns who have yet to be held by their mothers because they are so medically fragile. Suddenly, Charlotte's heart defect seemed minor. My daughter's heart had been repaired, she didn't need a transplant. Charlotte went into surgery healthy, and spent a mere five days in the hospital. It is all about perspective.
So many people have told me how strong I have been the past four months. I don't see it that way, I don't feel strong. I did what I had to for Charlotte, and for Katherine and Will. No one asked me if I wanted to deal with all these extra challenges that Charlotte has brought. Do you know what has made it easier? Perspective. There is always some one out there that has it worse off than you, and when you realize that, life doesn't seem quite so bad.
In fact, life seems pretty dang good right now. I can't describe the sense of relief I feel every time I look at my daughter. I know that challenges lie ahead for Charlotte, and we will take them one day at a time.