I love meeting new people and learning how they “do” life. Before this interview I had never met Sarah. It was suggested I talk with her because of the grace she shows daily despite the hardships she had been given. There are multiple events Sarah encountered I have been sheltered from, and although I felt pain and grief throughout our conversation, it was only a tiny ounce in comparison. I have replayed pieces of our Sarah’s words in my head and it has guided me through some of my own tough days.It is my hope you all will be able to use it too. As I say in most of these posts, we have much to learn from each other.
I expected to learn a great deal about being a good mother and even a little about being a great human being, but I was shocked to see a marriage strengthen, more than once, where others deteriorate dramatically. It is imperative to note this, because life and motherhood are too difficult alone. Our society is pushing for no one to need anyone in order to have success, but I personally believe we need to begin to lean on others more often… starting at home.
Warning: There may be some words that could be a trigger for some women. Included below is a story of child loss. Please read carefully.
Without further ado, meet Sarah.
Share with us your story of you and growing your family.
Mikey and I have been married for eight years. We have known each other a long time because I grew up dancing at his mother’s dance studio. We never actually spoke until our first date which was set up by his cousin, but we ended up dating six years before eventually getting married in 2009. We have three children: Reed (4), Gracie (3), and Millie (8 months). Our first born, Reed, is in Heaven. He was stillborn at forty weeks and two days due to a knot in his umbilical cord. No one knew about the knot. It was a horrible and terrible tragedy I don’t wish on anyone. Mikey and I feel like life’s greatest tragedy is a parent burying their child.
The months after the loss of Reed were very dark. I was constantly anxious, angry, jealous… but there were also really good things that followed. For starters, our marriage grew stronger than ever. We were so close and our love for each other grew immensely. Our faith grew as well, much stronger than before. Though I had been angry with God for not allowing our son to be here, I also knew I would be with him again and we would never be separated. He was in Heaven, and I felt great comfort in this.
With God’s grace, we were blessed seven months later with our second pregnancy. Though my pregnancy with Reed had been practically perfect and both he and I were healthy throughout, I was told to see a Neonatologist at fifteen weeks just to check everything out. It was at this appointment we found out our sweet baby was a girl. We were thrilled! As soon as we found out we were expecting I had a feeling we would be blessed with a girl and we already knew here name would be Grace. The neonatologist also mentioned she had seen two markers that were typically associated with Down Syndrome. One being nuchal-fold thickening in the back of her neck and the other a bright spot on her heart. What??
I made my way downstairs of the doctor’s building to have blood drawn and we waited a week to hear the results. That week felt immeasurably long. I was driving when I received the call, thinking I would find relief in the geneticist’s words, but that would not be the case. We were told that with 99% certainty Gracie would be born with Down Syndrome. I was beside myself. I couldn’t see strait from the fountain of tears and I was screaming! I was screaming at God, loudly. I composed myself enough to call Mikey and told him to come home immediately. He knew who I was just on the phone with and he could tell from my voice I wasn’t okay. I was angry, so very angry. Why? Why me? Why us again? Why can’t things just go smoothly for us? What did I do wrong? Again, I was found grieving. I was grieving for the loss of a life I thought I would have, the child I thought I would have, and every little dream I had for her I might now have to change.
Once we wrapped our heads around the diagnoses, we turned our focus to the sweet baby girl growing inside me. We embraced her and our new life. My ultimate goal during the pregnancy was just getting her here. I will never again have an innocent pregnancy… unfortunately everyday I worry. I worry of what can happen because I went through the absolute worst. You can imagine the relief I felt when Gracie was born on December 10, 2014 and you can imagine our excitement as we were thrilled with a healthy baby girl. She was a very special girl too, her cardiologist said her heart looked much better than in utero and wouldn’t need surgery for a few years! She didn’t have to have oxygen, no need for a sty in the NICU, and she wasn’t hooked up to any sort of machine. She was healthy! In the Down Syndrome community, this is nearly unheard of and we were grateful to be able to take her home just two days later. Thanks be to God. He knew I wasn’t leaving the hospital again without our baby. God has continued to bless us greatly with this little girl… our Grace is more than just a name.
Once again, we were given an opportunity to become parents. We just had our third child last February, Camille or “Millie” as we call her. Although her pregnancy was mentally stressful at times for me, we were both healthy. She was watched closely by my high-risk doctor just to ensure everything was alright and I thank God it was. Millie’s favorite person in our family is Gracie. Gracie is embracing her role as big sister pretty well, although she’s not a fan of Millie’s crying, but who is?! Now that Millie is crawling, she follows Gracie around everywhere. She smiles and laughs the hardest at her big sister.
Tell us something you value.
Honesty and kindness go along way. I value people telling the truth and being kind to one another as well as to themselves. As women, we are very hard on ourselves (especially myself!). We need to remember to be kind to our own bodies and our minds. We all see what is going on in America these days and I really think if we had more kindness towards one another things might be a little different. You never know what personal battle someone might be going through. As a mother of a child with special needs, I pray others are kind to her. I want her to be included, treated with respect, and viewed as a person with value. I want this for her now and to continue as she gets older. Transparency among my friends is important to me, I want real and valuable relationships at this point in my life, and I want them to be meaningful and honest.
What are the hard parts of being a wife and mother?
Where do I begin?! I absolutely love being a wife and mother. They are two of my biggest roles in life but MAN being a mother is hard. It is a 24/7 job which is filled with joy, stress, belly laughter, crying, love, yelling, snot, hugs, poop, and sometimes all of this can happen within a two hour time period! The hardest part for me is trying to do it all alone. I want to schedule all the appointments, get everyone everywhere on time, volunteer at school, be home to make everyone’s food, etc. and I put a huge amount of pressure on myself! Remember how I said we need to be kind to ourselves? I expect myself to be able to do it all and I WANT to do it all, but I’m slowly learning to ask for help, give myself grave and also acknowledge when I do my best. If it all doesn’t get done, or I forget something, its okay! Reminding myself my husband is my partner in this parenting gig instead of “I’m the boss and you’re the employee.” We are constantly making decisions together on Gracie’s development needs and teaching/disciplining together. Yes, I’m usually the one who goes to all the therapy sessions, reads the blogs and information books/articles but we are doing this together and I need to value what he thinks as well. It can be tough, but at the end of the day, we lean on one another as well as our faith in God to make decisions and He guides us as parents.