Saturday, March 3, 2012

Three years in Holland

Three Years in Holland.....Life is Good
Three years ago today, if you had ask me where my life was going I would have said Italy. Pregnant with my 3rd child. Papa Baer and I were excited and ready for our new trip. I was working full time, taking care of brother baer and basically just living life. No where important to go. Nothing really special to do. Just daily routine life with children, a home, jobs, and bills. I never gave a second thought to anything but the ordinary. And then came the landing....
St. Patricks Day 2009.
Trenton was born on St Patricks Day morning. Amazing and perfect. I heard the delivery room nurse talking to the doctor.... Physical markers for Trisomy 21. What?...I'm waiting. The doctor tells me they "believe" he has Down Syndrome. Well, I think to myself. You must be wrong. He's perfect. I'm searching his face. Looking at him. Trying to figure out if I see it. Do I? I don't know. Are they just being cautious? Why are they saying these things. I don't see it.
Looking back, I'm not sure what I was thinking I was going to see. Other then an amazing little baby. But whatever it was I didn't see it. I spent the next few hours loving him and holding him and looking at him. So beautiful, so innocent. So amazing. How could this Down Syndrome thing be true? He didn't look defective...or strange. And certainly not like a child with Down Syndrome. Psst...They are probably wrong.
Then came the Dr to tell me they were taking him for a "quick look" at his heart. Children with Down syndrome have a 50% chance of a heart defect. So, they wanted to "rule it out" Well...I think, if you must, but first off he doesn't have Down Syndrome, and so it's just plain old silly, but go ahead.
1 hour passes...then 2....then 3...We are starting to get worried. Why aren't they bringing back my baby? Then 4 hours...After asking numerous nurses, Papa Baer goes to investigate. Then 5 hours...They won't let him see him, or tell him anything. NOW I'm getting mad.
Then comes the final blow...
The Cardiologist from Children's comes in. He starts talking and my head starts spinning...I remember my sister taking Brother Baer out. That's about all I remember. Other then real pain. Pain in my heart. Pain in my head. I can't wrap my head around what he is saying. I can't remember the defect. I can't pronounce the defect. Oh lord, I think....this can't be happening. He asks if I have any questions? Oh God I think, I didn't even understand what you told me, how can I ask questions. Open Heart Surgery? Is there another way? (Knowing the answer) No, there's not. No way except STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF HELL I'm thinking.
And then he left. And here we were. With a tiny, perfect little baby in our eyes. With a world of problems in other peoples eyes.
So, I cried. I cried and cried till I couldn't cry anymore. I was sorry, I was scared and I was full of guilt. What had I done wrong? What did I do to deserve this? And how on earth was I ever going to get through it?
Looking at that tiny little perfect prince in my arms. All I could think of was whatever it takes, whatever we have to do, we will do it. Whatever he needs we will do. Just please God don't take him away from me.
And so Papa Baer and I found ourselves right smack dab in the middle of Holland. Without a map, without knowing the language. Without the smallest clue of what this strange land had in store for us.
Settling in....
As time went on we started to settle in in Holland. It was an ok place. not too different I'm thinking. A little extra Dr appts and some new friends to meet. But...we can manage. Are people staring at me I think on occasion? Do I fit in here? With these "other" people? All my friends are back in Italy.
Then people started showing us around. :) Like spectacular tour guides they came from all around. Who knew Holland had so many people? Hmm....I had no idea. And they are all so nice...and happy? How are they so happy? What's their secret? Are they in denial? Are they lying to me? Why the happiness? But each time I saw their faces I would immediately feel at ease. Each time they spoke of happiness I felt better.
Living here in Holland the past 3 years hasn't been easy. But, from the talks of my friends in Italy, it's not always a Rose Garden there either. I guess you never know what to expect from this journey, regardless of where you live. Somedays are great. Some days aren't. But in reality Holland isn't that much different. We have an awesome place here. I wish more people would visit us. See the sights. Enjoy their time. Life may be slower here, but it's filled with unconditional love.
I'm sometimes jealous of my Italian friends. But I'm happy. Believe it or not life is good. I wouldn't change my journey or my landing in this strange place. I was thinking last night how far we had come. How far we had to go. How everyday is a reminder that life isn't about the destination but about the journey.
Little Baer is the sunshine of my life. His smile is infectious. He can light up a room with that amazing smile and laugh like no one I have ever seen. His hugs are the greatest. He finds beauty in things that others would skip over and ignore. This land called Holland has made me a better mother. Has made my children better individuals and better siblings. Has made Papa Baer a better father. Little Baer changed the course of our lives in astounding ways. Nothing can ever change the fact that we came to Holland on this unexpected trip. But nothing would ever make me want to go back.

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