Ruby turned two last month! What a complete joy she is, still.
As I watch my other children grow and develop so quickly, I am blessed with this wee one who is on her own time, slow motion aging. She is just now on her hands and knees to crawl, and isn’t making words yet, but her loving demeanor and ready smile is a blessing to us all. Sometimes I just look at her and wonder why I would have ever worried about having a child with Down Syndrome. Someday she will meet the Lord face to face and be healed and whole, but in the meantime I am glad she is a part of our family.
Because we are homeschooling and discipling our children ourselves, Ruby stays where she is loved: home. We work with a neurodevelopmentalist to create a program that fits Ruby, and her parents and five siblings are her physical therapists, speech teachers and nutritionists. So far she is thriving and I have no reason to believe that she won’t reach her greatest potential under our loving roof.
Unlike adopting a special needs child or having an ultrasound in hand ahead of time, Ruby was a surprise to us at birth. Her birth itself was adventurous! My midwife abandoned me the morning I went into labor (via email, no less), *feeling* like I didn’t like her (what?!). I was left with driving around town that morning, in labor, to get an ultrasound first of all; there was a question of this baby being breech and now was the time to know for sure. I had trusted this midwife to birth a possible breech and had full confidence I could do so under her experienced hands. But like so many people these days, she trusted her (very wrong) feelings instead of what was true.
I didn’t know of any midwives I could just call on while in labor (“umm…I know you don’t know me…but could you help me deliver my baby, like within the next 12 hours or so?”) so I ended up at the hospital (where else was I supposed to go?). I still remember how cold the doctors were, standing there in their blue suits with their arms crossed asking how come I didn’t have any prenatal care done and listing all the labs I would need because my midwife was dragging her heels to send those labs in. I was protesting in between contractions and was frankly very frightened! The nurse attending me was cold as well, pushing paperwork for me to sign in between the shooting pains without so much as a comforting hand.
So, the baby was declared breech and, because they don’t *do* breech births, I was told I would be having a c-section. In the morning. After their other patients who had appointed surgeries were finished. I was in dismay! They were telling me I had to continue in labor all through the night and then not be able to birth my own baby in the end anyway. I felt nauseated and made my way to the bathroom.
“Oh God!” I remember crying. “Save me from this torment!” And then the blood gushed, and suddenly I was given priority. Oh, how I love Jesus.
I watched the clock tick for the “one hour” rule post surgery, And then I watched it tick longer. And longer. After more than two hours, I finally got a call from the nursery. It was my husband. He told me, “…they think she has Down Syndrome….”
“I don’t care!!!” I wailed. “I want my baby!!!”
The Lord provided me shelter in the hospital as a boarder at a time when other moms with their babies in the nursery were being told to leave to make room for delivering mothers. He also spared Ruby from a heart defect, which she had a 50% chance of having. While we were in the hospital those ten days waiting and hoping for her to maintain her own air intake, a friend arrived to deliver her baby. And then that very same night we mourned the loss of our other friend’s toddler, having died in a horrible accident that very day.
I waited two months for Ruby’s first smile. In the meantime, I read lots of books and literature about Down Syndrome. I consoled family members, which was difficult as I felt I, myself, needed none. I was satisfied and happy with my baby, and horrified that more than 90% of mothers with a Down Syndrome diagnosis in utero would abort this precious gift of God.
I am enjoying every moment with Ruby. I feel entrusted with a special jewel, straight from the Lord. I am certain she will live at home with us as an adult, and I am dreaming of what we could do together, she and I: maybe quilting or gardening or weaving or some sort of ministry. I am thankful she has a wonderful daddy and five fabulous siblings who love her so much, as well.
Some people may believe that the circumstances surrounding her birth were ordained by God to save her life. To me that sounds too much like the “end justifying the means”. I believe that what happened was plain cruelty; what midwife abandons a woman (in labor, no less!) who has entrusted her to deliver her baby?! I believe that what was meant for evil, God meant for the good of Ruby being born where she would have the best care, that He turned these things for our good because He loves us.
So Ruby is two. I do praise the Lord for this very special child and for all the ways that He will use her to grow me up and to teach me that He alone is trustworthy and neverfailing. It is a joy to be His.