Flash forward to 2007. Day of delivery. Brayden was born with no complications. My husband stayed by my side the entire 12 hours. Brayden made his arrival and oh was he a fighter. They laid him on my chest and my suspicions were confirmed. My husband cut the umbilical cord and immediately Brayden grabbed his finger and held on for dear life. Even when they took him from us Brayden would not let go. They had to remove his hand from my husbands and they took him from my room. An hour went by and I told Bernie to go tell them I want my baby. Bernie returned to the room with tears in his eyes and said I think something is wrong. There are doctors and nurses around him. I started to get up and he stopped me. It was then a doctor and 2 nurses came in, closing the door and after a brief introduction, the doctor said he needed to talk to us. I said you want to talk to us about Down syndrome. The doctor asked how I knew? I told him about my feelings all along, and that I knew for sure when they laid him on my chest. The nurses asked what took me so long to have another child? I told them I had to wait on the right man and I can only raise 1 at a time (My oldest son was 22 at the time). What came out of the doctor’s mouth was both devastating and demeaning to my baby. He began by saying, He will never be typical, he will never be able to do things normal children will do like ride a bike, go to college, or just be normal, but on the upside most of them were happy. With my husband crying, it was then I told him to stop. He did not know my child. He did not know what he would be capable of. I told him we just had a baby and we wanted to enjoy our son, to leave and never come back, we want our baby. He did just that and did not come back. It was then that I realized I would have to be my child’s voice. My husband still crying, not really knowing what Down syndrome was, said he wanted Brayden to be able to run and play, go to school, get married, to hear the birds sing and laughter. I told him things are going to be just fine, lets just enjoy him and we did, both of us together with our son. Tests were run on him in our room and shots were given there also. I would not let him leave our side. I knew from the articles that his heart would be a major concern. It had been checked by 2 doctors and we were advised of concerns.
The next few months waiting for further testing were very scary. We had to wait 3 months for testing to be confirmed that he even had Down Syndrome. Another month for tests on his heart. More education for me and my family. What a great baby he was. Strong, handsome (just like his daddy), so warm, and when I held him I felt nothing but love, peace, and tranquility. I knew that he was born to teach this world some lessons, to teach people some lessons. I knew then most of my prayers were answered. My husband asked what are we going to do, I told him his health is in Gods hands and we are going to raise him like I did my first son as I knew no other way. I still struggled internally, not just for myself, but for my husband and family. I did not know if I was as strong as everyone always perceived me to be, but I had to be. I had to be for Brayden mostly. I cried for him with the words from that doctor ringing in my ears, the articles I read weighing on my mind. I felt as if I had a death in my family. Not for Brayden being born with Down Syndrome, but for the worry of the health concerns. For the loss of hopes and dreams I had for him.
The day came and we took Brayden for his tests. The geneticist advised us that she could not look across a room and tell us he had Down Syndrome, but that the test results revealed that he had trisomy 21. She then said something I never expected. She told us it was okay to grieve. Grieve that we did not have the child we expected. Grieve that my hopes and dreams we would normally have for Brayden may not be the same. For the first time I cried. Relief filled me. The weight on my shoulders lifted when she said that because I had struggled with the turmoil of not having those hopes and dreams of my own that I had for Brayden fulfilled. I struggled for my husband, his only child not having what his hopes and dreams of a child may have been. For Brayden that hopes and dreams he may have may not be fulfilled. I grieved a loss. The next month the most important part of my worries, his health, was my main concern. Again relief. His heart was as strong as a horse the doctor said. No other health concerns related to Down Syndrome. God answers Prayers.
Flash forward to 2018. All those things I grieved over are but a remnant. God answered my prayers. He knows what is best for us even when we do not. Brayden has changed our lives for the better. Brayden has made my husband and I stronger together with God. Brayden has taught me more in his first three years of life than I have learned my entire adult life. He makes us strive to be better people. He helped me learn what is important in life. He helps other people feel happy, loved, and to know what is important in life. He helped me to see that I shouldn’t let anything bother me, and if I do, get over it quick. Time is too precious to waste. Our Brayden is smart, funny, full of love, full of excitement, full of happiness, full of forgiveness, full of wonderment, full of character, full of stubbornness, full of vim and vigor, full of determination, full of his own hopes and dreams just like any other child. He loves animals, movies, and music all with a passion like no other. He can do anything any other child can, just in his own time and in his own way. I am still Brayden’s voice. I always will be, and when I am gone, I pray there will be others in my community that will take over and stand up for Brayden. Others that will love him for who he is. Others that will see to it that his hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. Those people surround him (you know who you are), I know it! God answers prayers. You just have to pray and recognize the answers you receive. He has answered all of mine.