Mom learns baby has Down syndrome after birth: “God’s plans are beautiful”


August 29, 2019

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Photo by: W. Jones Photography

I’ve never been much of a planner. I try sometimes, but it’s just not my personality.

However, when I saw those two pink lines, my imagination started running wild with plans for my sweet baby. I just knew I was going to be a baseball-watching boy mom.

But then, against my better judgment, I had a gender reveal party where I popped open a confetti cannon full of pink metallic confetti that I still sometimes find in the grass.

I cried.

My dreams were already going awry, but it didn’t take too long for me to get over my initial disappointment. I bought all the bubbles and gowns and bows I could find. My girl’s closet was stocked long before she was born.

I already had my ideas of what she might look like, where she would go to school, what extracurricular activities and hobbies she would be involved in. Isn’t that what all expectant moms do?

We never had a question of what her name would be. My husband, Lance, always spoke so fondly of his grandmother, Audrey Mae, so we just knew our girl’s first name would be Audrey.

Lance has a niece named Evie Blair, and I had always loved the name Blair, so with Evie Blair’s blessing, we chose to name our daughter Audrey Blair. However, we typically just call her Blair, or AudeyB, as you see her name in all of my Instagram posts.

I prepared a nursery, washed all of her clothes in Dreft, read a book on breastfeeding, and packed our hospital bags. I thought I was ready to meet my daughter and put my plans into action.

My water broke around 9:00 on a Monday morning. I was sitting on the couch watching Hallmark Christmas movies and writing thank-you cards. Once I realized what was happening, I called Lance and drove to the hospital.

They got me checked in and set up in a room. I hadn’t had any contractions, so they decided to start Pitocin around 3:00 p.m. I wasn’t progressing much, but finally at 10:00 p.m., they let me have an epidural.

At 1:50 a.m., several nurses rushed in and started moving me into all sorts of positions. I had no idea what was going on. But the next thing I knew, they were running me down the hallway like I was on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

I didn’t have much time to freak out, and by the time I did start to get anxious, the anesthesiologist told me to take deep breaths—and I was out.

The rest of that day is a blur. The anesthesia made me extremely groggy, and I honestly don’t even remember holding my baby for the first time. At 2:00 that afternoon, the hospital made everyone leave for quiet hours. I thought I was finally going to get some sleep. I was wrong.

Shortly after quiet hours began, the hospitalist came in to examine Blair. He had already seen her earlier that day and said she sounded fine, so I didn’t think anything of it. This time, though, while he was checking her, he looked up and me and said, “I have some concerns about your daughter.”

I instantly panicked, but in his next breath he said, “I think your daughter has Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome.”

“Huh? That can’t be right. Are you sure?”

In those first few seconds, that was literally all I could think. The doctor offered to do blood-work to confirm the diagnosis, but in my delusion, I declined.

I wasn’t upset. I didn’t cry. I was shocked—but in that moment, God wrapped His arms around me, and I knew that while I hadn’t planned for this, He had planned our Blair long before I ever did.

He made me to be her mama.

Lance handled the news quite differently than I did. He fell apart, and I don’t know that I’ve ever hurt for him more than in that moment.

He is a planner and a rule follower, and he has to have a reason for everything. This just didn’t make sense to him. How could this happen? Why did no one catch this before she was born? The doctor had said she looked perfect on the anatomy scan.

We just couldn’t quite wrap our minds around this life-altering news.

In the days following Blair’s birth, dozens of people reached out to tell me about every person they knew with Down syndrome. “They bring the most joy to our lives” was a constant theme in their messages. But that wasn’t the only common thing I heard.

Several moms of kids with Down syndrome contacted me in those first few days—I know they were trying to be encouraging, but they kept mentioning a “mourning period.” They told me it was okay to mourn the child I thought I was going to have. They told me it gets better.

Now, if you had to mourn, I get it. But as a new mom, that is the last thing I wanted to hear. I wanted to celebrate everything my new baby was, not mourn over what she wasn’t. My tiny baby was just like every other baby in so many ways. She ate, slept, and pooped, just like the rest of them, and I wanted to enjoy those newborn moments, not mourn them.

As the days went on, I did find myself getting emotional as I thought of all the things Blair wouldn’t get to do. But then, almost audibly, God told me to stop putting limitations on her. I don’t decide what she can or cannot do; only the Lord can do that.

Lance would even remind me of that too. He might have struggled initially with her diagnosis, but it sure didn’t take him long at all to get over it. Maybe it’s all little girls and their daddies, but the way he loves that girl is something I’ll never get over. 

Since then, I’ve been doing my best to embrace each day and enjoy my baby for exactly who she is. Blair is without a doubt the closest thing to perfect there could be. She smiles with her whole body and cries only when she’s hungry. She is the best snuggle buddy and gives the sweetest sugar.

Sure, she sees a Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and Physical Therapist to help her reach her potential. But I’m also okay knowing that she is going to do things on her own timeline.

I don’t decide what she can or cannot do; only the Lord can do that.

My girl has spent more time at doctors’ offices in seven months than a typical child would spend in seven years. We just recently tackled open heart surgery to repair a complete AV canal, and she took it like the champ she is. Watching her overcome obstacles like this is already showing her extraordinary strength, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

God gave Blair an extra chromosome when He created her in His image, and that just means she has extra love to give. Anyone who knows her knows she is extra special in more ways than one, and I feel so blessed to be able to embrace that extra every single day.

Comments +

  1. Celeste Cooper (Mrs. McNeill from RHS) says:

    I am so very proud to know you, Hannah!

  2. Gertrude Wells says:

    Loved your journey about Audrey Blair.

  3. Belinda Cook Herring says:

    I have enjoyed every picture and post since her birth. This is especially touching!!

  4. Elaine Collins says:

    Hannah, in my opinion God has given you the best. He only trust wonderful, loving, compassionate parents with his special children! She will probably teach you more than you know. Love to you all


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