Journey to Cal Pal

It late Christmas night when my water broke. Four weeks earlier than our due date. As we drove to the hospital and the pace of labor quickened, I just couldn’t wait to have my boy in my arms.

After 4 short hours of labor Cal was earth-side. I heaved him onto my chest after delivery with such anticipation to see the son I had dreamed of for 9 months. As I peered down to study his features my eyes traced over his lips, cheeks…and almond shaped eyes. It was 3am. I was exhausted and wrote off those almond shaped eyes as delirium. 

Cal was taken over to the warmer for an assessment because he was a late preterm babe. A hush fell over the room and our OB apprehensively approached my bedside; Cal swaddled in her arms. She searched my eyes and in that moment I knew. She said, “We believe your son has Down Syndrome.”

Fear, panic, anxiety all gripped me as I slid into a dark hole. How could that be possible?! Everything had been “perfect” just moments ago. My hands trembled and I couldn’t do anything but cover my face and sob. I couldn’t even extend them to hold our new son. You see until that moment I was gravely unaware about what life with Down syndrome looked like. I had a skewed and incorrect, negative narrative that was FAR from reality overtaking my thoughts. We often fear what we don’t know or understand. 

My husband walked over with Cal swaddled in his arms and had the same beaming smile across his face that he did when our daughter was born. He looked at me and said, “He does have Down syndrome Katie; and he’s so perfect. He’s just what we needed.” His voice was so full of love and grace. So full of peace and reassurance. 

I sobbed as I mourned the loss of what I thought would be. I felt faint as didn’t know what our future would look like. Here’s what I do know now; after having 2 years with Cal-

Cal is NOTHING to fear. Cal has brought our family more joy than we knew possible. He daily challenges me to seek the good in all things; to set my expectations just a little bit higher. Cal is a typical toddler in so many ways. He’s curious and explorative. He’s funny, kind and caring. 

I’m convinced he’s actually more than “perfect”. That he’s going to teach me more about joy, life and the Kingdom than I knew were possible. Cal will ride a bike with his brother and sister. Cal will go to school and he will read and write. Cal will change people’s lives by the way he smiles at them; by the way he finds joy in the purest of forms. I’m so genuinely convinced that our world needs more people like Cal. Oh, what a GIFT that he’s ours! We’d choose Cal over and over again. Every single time we’d choose that extra chromosome. 

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