Friday, October 21, 2011

We Belong Together

By Ellen Stumbo

     The pediatrician’s words taunted Fear. The same Fear that had showed up with Nichole’s first breath. Fear sat on my shoulder, arms wrapped tight around my neck, almost choking me. Its voice, whispering in my ear, trying to seduce me. Don’t you see, Down syndrome is something bad, really bad. Everyone will be sorry for you, like this smart doctor who knows all about this condition. Break down. Cry. Say it is not fair. Be angry.

     I stared at the man who looked at Andy and I with pity. It would be so easy to believe Fear. It would be so easy to feel sorry for myself and for my baby. However, God had spoken to me while Nichole was in my womb. I don’t make mistakes.

     As Fear whispered to me, so did God. A reminder of who I belonged to, and whom my baby belonged to.

     I don’t make mistakes.

     “Don’t say you are sorry.” I responded to the pediatrician. “Our baby is exactly who she is meant to be. God does not make mistakes.”

     He took a deep breath, and said slowly, “You religious people take things better.”

     His reply felt patronizing. Being called “religious,” while trying to understand my feelings, and trying to hold on to God’s truth made me feel like a child. Yet, it was all I had.

     Andy talked to pediatrician about Nichole’s heart condition and what it meant. They discussed some other health issues and things that maybe we should be keeping an eye on.

     When the doctor left, a nurse brought Nichole over to me so that I could nurse her. The matching electronic bracelets that Nichole and I wore “sang” when they were close in proximity.

     “We belong together” I whispered to Nichole.

     We belong together.

     Somehow, and for some reason, we belonged together. I believed that God did not make mistakes. I knew that Nichole was exactly who she was meant to be. Every single chromosome in her body was fearfully and wonderfully created by God. I knew it. But I did not understand it.

     “She looks just like Jennifer” I said to Andy as I thought about our friend's daughter who has Down syndrome.

     “I think she looks a lot like Ellie” he responded.

     Andy and I stared at our baby. We examined every part of her body. Taking note of all the characteristic physical features of Down syndrome.

     “Do you think God is punishing us?” Andy confessed.


     “I don’t think so either. I just had to say that aloud because I know God does not work that way. He gives good gifts, and children are a blessing. She will be a blessing in our lives.”

     We belong together.

     Nichole was having trouble nursing. I did not feel she was successfully sucking, yet the nurse insisted she was doing just fine. After my baby was fed and changed, we started snapping more pictures of her. Then we asked one of the nurses to do the one thing that we had forgotten. The one thing that was a symbol of celebration, although I did not know how to celebrate yet. We asked her to take a family picture.

     We belong together.

     A phrase that would become my mantra at the hospital. Words that I would work and work like a hard piece of clay that needed to be softened. A truth that I needed to remind myself of. A statement that I needed to believe.

     We belong together.

Next: A New Family

Don't miss:
Road Marker 321
My Body Is Cooking a Baby: Part 1
My Body Is Cooking a Baby: Part 2
My Body Is Cooking a Baby: Part 3
The Dream
Level 2 Ultrasound
Your Baby Might Have Down Syndrome
Surprised by Joy: Part 1
Surprised by Joy: Part 2
Surprised by Joy: Part 3
Surprised by Fear


  1. what great writing! Hopped over and now following :)

  2. I stumbled across your blog and I am so happy you have openly talked about DS and your feelings. I am a mother to a 14 month old princess with DS and it is so great to read about other woman's reactions at the time of their deliveries. Gives me a sense of calm as it is ok to feel the way we do! I am so very thankful each and everyday for the beautiful life I have been given. She is my angel and I couldn't imagine life any other way!:) Thanks again for posting such a beautiul thing:)

  3. Im so glad I hopped over.... new follower

  4. I love what you told the doctor!

  5. Thank you for your encouraging words!
    When Nichole was first born, I needed to know that it was okay to feel the way I felt. I felt so alone, and so afriad to share what was really going on inside of me. This is one of the reasons why I share. It was other moms and knowing they felt the same that made me realize it was okay to feel the way I did. they gave me incredible hope!

  6. great post! coming from the blog hop, but I already peek in on your blog :)

  7. Very beautiful. And you all look radiant. A wonderful testimony to trust in God

    barbara curtis, mom of four sons w/ Ds. 1 by birth, 3 by adoption

  8. Ellen, this is great! Thanks for sharing. I hadn't heard (or more likely, just don't remember) many, many of these details of Nichole's birth. As always, though, I greatly appreciate your honesty.

  9. Beautiful! Blog hopping tonight. She's a beautiful little girl!

  10. I'm so glad you addressed the dr's "sorry" comment. Way to be strong right out of the gate!

  11. Shana, our good friends have a daughter with Down syndrome. So they had already "educated" us before Nichole was born. I knew the "sorry" was the hardest thing for them to hear and I knew why. I am not sure what I would have said had we not known Nichole was most likely going to have Ds.

  12. you look so beautiful after just giving birth:) love this birth story1

  13. HI there! Blog hopping, but I already subscribe to your blog, so just stopping in to say hi. This post is beautiful!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. If you do not subscribe to comments, make sure you check back for my reply to your comment.



Related Posts with Thumbnails