By Christie Oates


Life is seldom what is portrayed in magazines, Pinterest and Facebook. Pregnancy is not always a quick push and 7 hours later you look like your ready for a romantic date night with your hubby. Things happen, and we are surrounded by disillusion every where we turn in both pregnancy and mothering.

With my first child, I left the gender a mystery, which was the greatest surprise, and yes it drove everyone around us bonkers, but I didn’t care. I had a well-typed birth plan, and I was going to be a tough momma and power through and have this baby the “normal” way.

That was all until the words, “heart rate dropping, C-section now, Dad get suited up and scrubbed in, were taking this baby stat.” That was not typed on my plan. Did they grab another mom’s printed out plan? That was my official introduction to what would be my new “normal,” which was very far from planned.

It was time to have baby number two, and again, the gender was a mystery. The pregnancy was beautiful, no issues other than a few more aches and pains and the exhaustion was intense, after all the first little boy was very busy being a two-year old and running around and testing limits and boundaries.

It came time to actually get a choice and schedule the second c-section, one of the few things I was able to plan for as it related to what was going to be my final pregnancy. This, of course, had to be scheduled at a time that was convenient for my son to be taken care of. The day had arrived to go in and have our last and second baby, thank goodness I was NEVER doing this again. Within minutes of arriving and the nurses getting us all very ready, the stress level was much lower this time around. The blue tarp went up and I held my husband’s hand and stared into his eyes as I was being sliced open for the last time. We anxiously waited for the sound of the first cry and for the doctor to tell us the gender (yes I was secretly hoping for a girl). That’s the “normal” thing to have one of each right?

Our names were ready, Oliver was our boy and Adyson was our girl, just say the words….the first cry was heard; Oliver had arrived. According to my plan of only having two kids, I would never be a girl mom once I knew I had Oliver, and that was just what it was going to be.

Oliver was healthy, emotions were all over and adrenaline was high. The first moment we held Oliver, we could tell something was different, there was a strange vibe in the air amongst the medical staff.  We fell in love instantly, but felt something unexplainable.

It was time for recovery, and it was there while I was holding my second beautiful healthy strong boy that a crew of white coats came in led by my OB/Gyn. This was not planned, and this was not feeling “normal.” My OB sat down and confirmed that our baby was healthy, he needed and few labs and in that moment she asked me if I was familiar with Down Syndrome. My answer was “no.” We were told that she believed that our son was born with Down Syndrome and that they were going to confirm with tests. She later confirmed that we were chosen to be Oliver’s parents, and chosen was what we were.

Regardless of tests, this was my son, it did not matter at that very moment. I loved him and was bonding with skin to skin and he was breastfeeding and we were a family of four now. Down Syndrome was now in our lives, we were going to need to learn a few things a little different in our journey as parents and yes we were scared, but he was our son and our hearts were open.

I left the hospital and within weeks knew that I could not have just two children, it would not be fair to my oldest to one day be the only person to look out and make decisions for his younger brother with special needs. Boy or girl, it didn’t matter and all visions of “normal” planning were completely in the rear view mirror. As the helm of my family, and our situation of not having much family, I had to follow my gut and heart and begin to plan for baby number three.

I needed to build a tribe for my kids to look out for and take care of each other. Almost two years to the day, we knew the drill, planned the third c-section, went into the hospital, and walked by the exact room that we were told our son had Down Syndrome, and my husband and I starred into the room, held each other and with tears in our ears said “we were chosen, and thank goodness we were.”

It was because of that day May 14, 2013 when we welcomed Oliver that were back in the hospital on May 29th two years later welcoming Adyson Maeve to this world. My tribe was complete and perfect, and very far from “normal”. Sometimes it is the unplanned things that get thrown our way and take us on a new and foreign path that make us stronger and able to conquer things we never knew imaginable. Realize that “normal” does not exist, open your heart and you will surprise yourself. As an advocate for my son and others with special needs, they are, too, the “normal” kids.



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