Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nichole's First Birthday! October 2nd

Today is Nichole's First Birthday!
Time goes by so fast, but for once, I am not wondering where my baby went. She is still my baby, and I have enjoyed her tremendously. Most parents get to hold their babies for a little while before their children are eager to be on their own, move around, and away from their parents. I get to hold my baby a little bit longer and enjoy her soft skin and little hands close to my face. She is a joy and a real blessing.
I believe she already knows that she is deeply loved by her family, and those friends that have now become her family as well.

Here is Nichole playing her drum and singing.

I have read birthday stories from other moms that have children with Down syndrome. I never understood why some of them described birthdays as hard, but now I know.
A year ago, Nichole joined our family and she brought with her a diagnosis. A diagnosis that would shake our world, at least my world, to pieces.
I had dreams and hopes for a beautiful, healthy baby girl, and in an instant, that all seemed to be taken away from me.
A year ago, I faced the ugliest, darkest, most shameful parts of my heart. Parts that not only am I ashamed of, but parts that surprised me. I never knew that there was in me such hardness. My heart was an evil place, with little of God's love.
A year ago, I held a baby that I wished was not mine.
But God...He knew exactly what He was doing. And through all my tears I was confronted with the fact that I was "selfishness" in a pure, and raw form.
Psalm 139:23 says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
This was my prayer, my all time prayer, and I meant it when I offered myself to God. So here I was, being tested, with God searching my heart, and with Him choosing a little baby with Down syndrome, to lead me in the way everlasting.
Yesterday I was helping Ellie memorize Psalm 51:10, it says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." My spirit has been renewed and continues to be renewed because of Nichole.
I praise God because He did not allow me to stay in the muck of my depression for long. I praise God because even though my heart was dark, His love was abundant. I praise God because I know He forgave the depth of my darkness. I praise God because He showed me unconditional love. I praise God because He took me by the hand, and showed me the truth about His beautiful gift, His precious miracle, His princess...Nichole.
The value of her life is immeasurable. The lessons she has taught me, are countless. She is just a baby, but she is full of love, peace, gentleness, goodness. She is in the business of changing hearts, and transforming lives.
I am not the same person I was a year ago. When I look into Nichole's almond shaped eyes, my heart is touched by love itself, maybe by God.
Nichole is one year old today. I am so proud of her. She is a beautiful and healthy baby girl.
She is the baby that I always wanted, I just did not know it. She certainly is the baby that I needed, because I needed much changing, because my heart needed to be fixed. She is God's own hands in my life, and I am humbled.
Happy Birthday Nichole. You are a precious gift to all of those who know you. You are transforming hearts as you show us what love looks like. You are an angel, a little angel that I get to hold.

These are some pictures form the day Nichole was born.

10 comments:

  1. Happy birthday sweet girl!

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  2. Karina Guerrero4:14 PM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! Best wishes! And God, Ellen and Andy: thanks for giving the life to such wonderful girl!

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  3. Anonymous6:42 PM

    Happy Birthday!! Your post was so amazing and brought me to tears. I also had all of the same feelings when I learned of my daughters Ds and I am so ashamed of how I felt. It is always nice to hear that others felt the same way. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Happy Birthday Nichole! Thanks for sharing the journey Ellen. Your transparency and your heart are touching. So glad we were (almost) roomies :) Love you lots!

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  5. Drew and Chelsea9:42 PM

    Happy Birthday Nichole!

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  6. Happy Birthday Princess Your Birthday Buddy Eian Says Hope you had a good day. and sends wet baby kisses

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  7. Anonymous12:53 PM

    Happy Birthday to your little angel. Thank you for your honesty- it challenges me to look into the corners of my heart. Thank you for being real.

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  8. Oh my gosh she's adorable!!!! So beautiful. I'm enjoying your blog very much. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. Nicole is so cute. My mom and I just found your site and I know it is a little late but I am singing Happy Birthday to her right now. She is a sweetheart.

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  10. How appropriate to have an October birthday. My little Rachel was born October 10, 2003. She thinks the Buddy Walks are her birthday parties. I just found your site through the Gifts website. It is a joy to read. You can see my Rachel at tmkeirnan.blogspot.com. Here is a late Happy Birthday wish to your beautiful little girl.

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