I'm not sure that I even know where to start today. The past few days I keep rethinking everything that I was doing last year and how everything unfolded. Last night while at the Gala, I kept thinking back to last year on this Saturday and how the neonatal doctor from Children's came into my room to tell me they thought Tera had an infection and was being moved to the NICU. It was the last time she would be in my room and ended up in the NICU until the following Saturday. At that point we were still somewhat reeling from her diagnosis and now we had to deal with the fact that she was being moved. I remember feeling very numb and overwhelmed and in shock all at the same time. This morning, her actual birthday, I couldn't sleep. I just kept waking up and looking at the clock and thinking about what had happened at that time last year. At 4am I was having pretty heavy contractions, at 5am we called the doctor, by 6 am we were at the hospital, at 7am she was born, and by 9am we were told she more than likely had Down Syndrome. By 10 am people started arriving to visit and we kept the news to ourselves.
Last night at the Gigi's Gala we were reminded how many opportunities there are for her and how capable she will be and also that we are now part of something that one year ago we never really thought about. I only teared up twice (I think). They asked everyone who had a child with DS under the age of two to raise their hands and it just hit me again. I think that's one of the hardest/strangest things for me still; to know that so much of our lives revolve around DS and that it still doesn't always register with me what it actually means to us and to Tera. The Gala was wonderful and we really had a nice time. We were lucky enough to have several people there who were close to us and were fortunate enough to sit with a very special young man and woman who reminded me that love is in Tera's future and that her having DS doesn't mean she won't have someone special in her life to share all the love that she has in her.
When she woke up this morning I was so overwhelmed with my love for her and I can honestly say I am excited for her turning one. I didn't think I would actually get to this point, knowing that it was so hard for me these past few weeks to come to grips with the idea that one year is already gone. But as I look outside, I realize it is just as beautiful a day today as it was one year ago when we met our daughter for the very first time. And just like last year, we will spend the day with family and not think about what difficulties might lie ahead. We will celebrate the fact that she's here with us, how she's changed so many people already, and know that whatever challenges lie ahead, we will tackle them head on. We are stronger as a family than I ever thought we could be and dealt with more than I ever thought I would have to.
Anyone or anything that tries to stand in the way of our girl's dreams coming true will have to deal with a whole army of family and friends; and we're a hockey family so it won't be pretty. I will never stand for someone telling me Tera can't or won't do something I feel she can. We will support her in her quest to dominate every task set in front of her and when she succeeds we will be her biggest cheerleaders, but we will be followed closely by hundreds of others who will be cheering just as loudly. Every single person that has supported our family in the past year has a special place in my heart and know that every time you send words of encouragement and love, they are felt deeply.
Happy Birthday my sweet, sweet girl. You are one of the two best things in my life and if I never accomplish anything else for the rest of my life, I will be happy to know that I created you and I will forever be the most proud to be your mom.