It’s Just a Thing

We received the results of the baby’s genetic testing on Monday morning.

There is a 99.5% certainty that our child has Down Syndrome.

At my age, the chances of carrying a child with Downs is 1 in 10 (some statistics site a 1 in 30 risk factor). I am the 1.

When the doctor told me the news, I literally gasped for air. And then the tears came. And came. And came.

I know I will read this blog one day in the future so I want it to capture what I am feeling and thinking at this moment. And what is that?

I don’t want a sick child.

I don’t want a special needs child.

I don’t want to be this mom.

But I am.

I need to call this what it is – a cross and a burden. That might be shocking to some of you. It’s probably not what I am supposed to say. But it is the raw truth. I wish I could be full of grace and acceptance and understanding. I refuse to believe this makes me a bad person. I think it makes me real. And maybe relatable. And it captures where I am at this time. I will travel through this place and settle in a much better attitude.

I know God loves me. I know God will bless me and my family through this child. I know God is beautifully orchestrating the events of my life and leading us on a new path.

I know. I know. I know.

But right now I need to cry and feel the range of emotions.

I’m not angry. I don’t understand the situation but it’s not anger. It’s seems hypocritical to accept all the good and beautiful in life and then throw a fit when we get the bad and the ugly. Why do I think I deserve one and not the other? Why me? Well, why not? I don’t have a name for the emotion. I feel like a lost child, alone and searching for my family.

My mother once told me a story of her good friend Marilyn. Marilyn was a wildly talented woman who had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. As I remember the story, Marilyn heard the grim news, spoke with her family, and then asked for privacy. And then she let God have it. All of it. Anger. Despair. Hopelessness. Fear. But after that moment of raw emotion, she passed into a state of grace and moved forward with acceptance. That story always stuck with me. And it came back to mind as I received my own difficult news this week.

I hope the same will happen for me. With my faith sustaining me, I will move through these emotions to my new normal. My inner Pollyanna will show up eventually and I will play the Glad Game once more.

I will do the research and make the best decisions I can for my child.

I will become an advocate and a voice for this child and others.

I will be a new kind of mom and do it to the best of my ability.

Telling the kids the news was memorable. Gathered around the family room, Greta on the speaker phone from her office, I couldn’t get the words out. It was like I had cotton in my mouth. So Sam told them. Johnny immediately said that we either needed to play video games or eat chocolate. He then bolted from the room, grabbed a box of chocolate fudgcicles from the freezer, and distributed the bars to everyone. Johnny has all the makings of a great father and husband. The kids said they expected the news.

And then Michael said, “Mom, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing.”

He’s right. It’s just a thing. A really big, unknown, kind of overwhelming thing.

My family has been my rock. Through tears my mother simply said, “Kathleen, all I know is that God loves you. And I love you too.” It was if her arms reached through the phone and wrapped me in an embrace. As soon as we hung up, she began looking into flights to come stay with us for a few days. Her instinct is always to walk into the burning building. She knows that there are more important things in this world than coronavirus. She longs to be with people who are suffering. While she is not going to visit at this time, just knowing she was packing her trusty Witch Hazel hair spray and prayer books comforts me.

My older brother Dennis has taken his fair share of emotional phone calls from me. He allows me to speak my mind and share my rawest emotions. I’ve spoken things to him that I was afraid to even think. My older sister Karen is in full planning mode. She no doubt has a Plan A, a Plan B, and maybe even a Plan C. She’s changing our will to better accommodate and protect a special needs child. She has been with me when four of my children were born. I know she will be with me every step of the way.

My sister-in-law offered to take a couple of the kids for us. Michael and I will drive the girls to her home later this week. Rocky and Miffy will have a ball at Camp Miriam soaking up the love and attention from her three precious children. I can’t wait to see her and her family. What a blessing that they can go have some normal. We will swing through and see my sister’s family on the way back. I have received so many wonderful emails, texts, cards, and phone messages. I am slowly responding to each one of them. Thank you for flooding my life with hope!

Finally, I want to tell you about my new friend, Linda. We struck up a conversation at Johnny’s T-Ball practice last week. Linda has a beautiful, spunky special needs daughter who is 3 years old. I watched my children watch little Grace playing. I’m sure they were imagining what our child might look like. And I saw their faces grow gentle and soft. It just melts your heart to see a parent with a special needs child. You imagine what their life must be like and you admire the courage and dedication. Linda has fast become a wonderful support and has embraced my situation. Naturally, I texted Linda when I heard about my baby. She responded with the best advice I have received.

Feel all of it.

I am.

34 thoughts on “It’s Just a Thing

  1. God does love you and all the family. Baby Rauch will be blessed to have such a wonderful family. My love and prayers.

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  2. While this is not the result anyone wanted, this baby will be born into a loving, supportive, amazingly faith filled family. My prayers are with all of you.

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  3. Absolutely beautiful, meaningful and courageous! Continue to know the we’ll be with you and love you thru all that comes.  Love, Dad

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  4. You are one of the most amazing people I have ever been blessed to know Kathleen. This is so beautifully and truthfully written. God bless you and your expanding family!

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  5. Kathleen, you and your family are God’s gift to all that know you and this child will be no exception. I have read this post a few times today. I have cried for you,prayed for you and smiled at the images in my mind as your words paint beautiful pictures. You are so right, you will all travel through this, and settle in a much better place. We are here for you. Know God is being flooded with love and prayers from all of us. xoxo

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  6. This brought tears to my eyes! You are such a strong, amazing, talented woman and God is putting this baby into the care of a wonderful, loving, faith-filled family. You and Baby Rauch are in my prayers on this journey. I love you!

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  7. Kathleen, I’m sorry to hear about your baby. But I know you are a strong person and your family will help you cope. Having a Downs baby isn’t the end of the world. Just think of the baby as your special gift. They are such loving children!

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  8. I love you Kathleen and this Baby is blessed to have found you for its mother. God sends us the strength we need when we need it – trust in that. – Cousin Laura ❤️

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  9. It’s not what any mother expects to hear, or wants to hear. It’s so admirable to see courageous love in others, but so different when we are called to that courageous love ourselves. I know looking down the road, we can all see that this will be the best thing that ever happened to your family, but of course, you have to walk every step of it to get to that point. Keeping you and your wonderful family in my prayers. Proud to know you, and be assured you are an inspiration of true love to all who know you. I was told George was 100% spina bifida. I was 43 years old when I was pregnant with him. Had to change doctors because the first doctor was appalled that I would not consider aborting a baby at my age. Well, you know the end of the story….George is perfect, and is truly the most wonderful gift that God gave me. I’ll keep you on my daily prayer list….

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  10. Kathleen, God has this little one who He knows needs to be with the most loving mother. He chose you because there is no mother who loves and cares for her children more than you. He is proud of how you and Sam have raised such an amazingly caring and loving family. He chose wisely and knows your special needs child will THRIVE and be all they can be in your family’s care.

    I can only imagine all of the emotions you are having after getting this news. Please allow yourself to have all of those emotions. When that little, adorable baby is put in your loving arms your doubts will melt away. God has his loving arms around you and will sustain you.

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  11. My Dear Kathleen,
    Don’t be upset, you can handle this special needs baby. God would only give this child to someone as special as you. You know how you’ve always asked me “How’s Teaghan?,” my beautiful 5 year old great niece with Down Syndrome. She is the most precious and loved child I know. I tell her that she’s God’s little angel and Thank Him for her all the time. You’ll do the same when this little Baby Rauch arrives.
    Love and prayers,
    Anne Huene

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    • Kathleen, just finally reading this. My heart breaks for all you are enduring but I am a firm believer that God gives each child to the right parents (especially the mother). All I can say is “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!”. Your Faith is strong & your family all just want to love a new little person. He/she will be doted on every step of the way! Yes, it requires more planning for this baby’s future care but we all know that God has a reason for this challenge & I’m sure you’ll push through with flying colors!

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    • Thanks for the encouragement, Anne! I love your stories about Teaghan. If this is a little girl, I will remember to buy a very special doll. I know Teaghan loves her dolls!

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  12. Kathleen- Forgive me for not reaching out sooner. I wasn’t sure what to say. I am still not sure. However, I just watched a video that says so many beautiful words – words I would have wanted to share with you but didn’t know how. May you find God where the Holy Spirit leads you in your desert….

    https://wildgoose.tv/programs/the-spirit-and-the-desert-segment-10-the-wild-goose-series-ccddb8?categoryId=23145

    💜✝️🙏🏻🕊 Jackie

    >

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  13. Feel all of it…what great advice from a wonderful mother and beautiful advocate! Kathleen, I don’t know much, but I do know this. God loves you and will equip you with everything and everyone you need to get through this. Linda was no accident! Like all your other beautiful babies, this new little will be loved beyond measure and will have a family that loves and supports like no other. May God bring you peace, comfort, and wisdom. XxooxX

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  14. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt! Oh, the stories…

    Kathleen, your post takes me back to the first days when we got the news (24 years ago) that our son Justin was to be born with Down Syndrome. We even received the same news about the heart issue. Please know that you have another family praying for you, Sam, Baby Ocho and the rest of your family.

    God bless – I’ll keep reading! Michael

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    • Thanks so much, Michael! I’m beginning to learn that there are many, many families who have already traveled this road. It gives me hope to know that we are not alone. Thanks for the prayers!

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  15. […] Genetic Diagnosis – We are still waiting for the results of Becky’s genetic testing. Clinical observations do indicate a positive diagnosis of Down syndrome. But the lab will officially confirm it. I had a prenatal blood screening test called the cell-free DNA test. It screened for an increased chance of specific chromosomal problems, such as Down syndrome. It is 99.5% accurate but is still consider a screening test. Becky’s test will be a diagnostic test which will give us a 100% certainty of her genetic makeup. […]

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  16. […] It’s been awhile since I posted an update. Strangely, I have more time to post when Becky is in the hospital and I’m sitting long days at her bedside. I love to write mostly because I love to think. I’ve been keeping this blog for over a year now. What started as a way to handle Covid quarantine took an unexpected turn with Becky. […]

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