In celebration of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st, Children’s Village is honored to share Kelly Baker’s story.
A self-professed planner with a bit of a type-A personality, Kelly Baker prided herself on being ready for anything. From little things like a weekly meal schedule to big things like buying a house and having children, Kelly never missed a detail.
In Kelly’s own words: the birth of her beautiful daughter, Lily.
After a pretty long and hard labor our beautiful little girl was born. She weighed 5 lb. 14oz and was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My husband made it to the hospital just in time to see her born. There was a room full of doctors, resident doctors, and nurses. In fact, the person that actually “caught” our little one had never delivered a baby before.
I remember the commotion and she started to softly cry…like a little kitten. I looked up at my doctor and I saw him mouthing words to the resident doctor and I remember thinking to myself, “Hmm…what was that he said?” I quickly dismissed it and enjoyed the nice skin to skin experience with my new baby. Everyone left that night except my Mom and sister and the doctor came in to check on her. He mentioned that our little Lily looked like she had some markers for Down syndrome but that there were only two markers to indicate this and he really didn’t feel there was anything to be concerned about. Everyone went home and I was alone with my precious baby. I felt like something wasn’t right. I don’t know what it was and I can’t completely understand or explain it, but I just knew something was going on with her. I called the nurse in and she agreed that Lily wasn’t keeping her body temperature up and that she wouldn’t take a bottle. She took her down to the NICU a couple of hours later and I called down there every hour to check on her.
The next morning a doctor came into my room and she carried with her a box of tissues. I remember looking at the tissues and thinking, “What does she have those for…oh no…what does she have those for…OH NO…WHAT DOES SHE HAVE THOSE FOR???”
I don’t remember the introduction but what she said next will ring in my ears probably for the rest of my life. “I need to do some additional blood tests but I believe your daughter has Down syndrome. I want you to know that the blood test is just a formality. I have never been wrong when I have diagnosed a child.”
Of course she was very nice…I mean she brought me tissues. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I was so lost. The person that plans EVERYTHING…could not have planned for this. The first person I reached out to my friend Delois, who has a little girl with Down syndrome. I sent her a message on Facebook and I remember her response to me as, “Congratulations Kelly. You have a beautiful little girl…she just happens to have Down syndrome.”
So many emotions washed through me. I couldn’t tell my husband because he was too fragile, I couldn’t talk to anyone because I didn’t know what it meant and I didn’t know if she was “sick.” I finally spoke with my husband a couple of hours later and then we proceeded to tell our close friends and family what was going on. Within a nine month period we had experienced a surprise pregnancy, Stage 3 cancer, and a little girl who just happened to be born with Down syndrome.
Lily spent three weeks in the NICU. I was up there twice a day, every day. I promised her every single day that I would take care of everything. All she needed to do was learn how to eat without the feeding tube and I would take care of the rest. Well…she held up her end of the bargain and I do my best to hold up mine.
To be continued…