After our little girl was born with Down Syndrome, we knew we wanted to share her joy with the world.

It’s amazing how God works miracles in our life. He gives us glimpses along the way of where he is guiding us. If we walk with faith, no matter how difficult the journey appears, he will be there every step of the way if we let him in. My first experience with Down syndrome goes back to my youth. I remember sitting in church one Sunday, when a woman who had just moved into our ward blurted out random words in the middle of the hymn. Over the course of a few months I became used to her outbursts, but sadly kept my distance. It wasn’t until I was given the opportunity to serve her that I truly saw the beautiful person she was. Over the next year, frequent visits to her family etched a change of heart on my soul. I grew to not only love her, but have complete admiration for her. Shortly after, a new series aired on late night TV starring a boy with Down syndrome. I religiously watched “Life Goes On” for as long as it ran. Something in me was drawn to Corky, the character with Down syndrome on the show. Around the same time, our local grocery store hired a new bagger who happened to have Down syndrome. Everyone in our community loved him and hoped to stand in his line at the checkout. These experiences opened my heart and mind to future that awaited us. Down syndrome is God’s gift to those of us who are willing to see through his eyes. It will take you down a path that will forever change your perspective on life.

“My fear of Ellie has always existed in my life. She has created many sweet memories in my dreams. Now I know my fear of her was only the sorrow I knew I was going to experience. When I awoke yesterday and walked into our living room, an old friend who has been stored away since the flood was waiting for me in the corner. The rocking chair that I spent so many nights reading and craddling Eli in. I immediately found myself in thoughts of never rocking Ellie. Then I realized that although I may never hold her and rock her outside of my womb, Heavenly Father has given me the chance to rock her now. As I sat alone in the early morning, I enjoyed my precious time with her.”

These were the thoughts I had just one week before Ellie was born. We didn’t know what to expect. I could feel the deep concern at every appointment I went to prior to her birth. Each week that went by only seemed to draw closer to her departure instead of her arrival.

I vividly remember the emotions I felt the night before her birth. It took every ounce of faith I had to wash her clothes and prep for her arrival. The hour drive to the hospital seemed like an eternity. I felt numb as we drove past the women center. Everything was in slow motion as we pulled into the parking lot. I didn’t know if Ellie would leave the hospital in a coffin or a car seat. So many emotions that felt unbearable. The very thought of her death shattered every ounce of my soul.

Ellie’s pregnancy was a very difficult one. We were given a 50/50 chance of Down Syndrome with a high probability that she wouldn’t survive past birth. We had a wonderful specialist who worked hand in hand with my OB. They took her at 38 weeks via c-section. 

One concern was Ellie’s lungs. The medical professionals weren’t confident that she could breath on her own after birth. She came out very vocal and continues to break through all of the typical stereotypes that comes with Down Syndrome. We anticipated a NICU stay but she was healthy and never needed intensive care.

Eli was so excited to meet his new baby sister for the first time. Weeks leading up to her birth, he had planned and rehearsed this moment over and over. He so badly wanted to meet her for the first time dressed as a superhero because he said that’s what big brothers are to their little sisters.  

Ellie’s pregnancy was a very difficult one. We were given a 50/50 chance of Down Syndrome with a high probability that she wouldn’t survive past birth. We had a wonderful specialist who worked hand in hand with my OB. They took her at 38 weeks via c-section. 

One concern was Ellie’s lungs. The medical professionals weren’t confident that she could breath on her own after birth. She came out very vocal and continues to break through all of the typical stereotypes that comes with Down Syndrome. We anticipated a NICU stay but she was healthy and never needed intensive care.

Eli was so excited to meet his new baby sister for the first time. Weeks leading up to her birth, he had planned and rehearsed this moment over and over. He so badly wanted to meet her for the first time dressed as a superhero because he said that’s what big brothers are to their little sisters.  

I didn’t need a genetic test to confirm her diagnosis with me. I knew the instant I looked into her beautiful almond eyes in the OR. I had her on a Friday and by Sunday the test results came back. I remember the doctor who solemnly entered my room that morning to deliver the news to me. My husband was at church with our son when I texted him the results. His response melted my heart. “So, she’s 100% perfect. We are the luckiest parents in the world.”

After numerous tests and specialist visits, our lives settled down and we began living the unknown. The providers couldn’t make sense of how healthy she was. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Babies don’t typically come with instruction manuals, but Ellie was the exception. I was given every possible pamphlet on Down syndrome and special needs, yet with so much information I had no idea where to begin. For some strange reason she felt so fragile to me. Thinking back to how overwhelmed we were by the support we had from friends and family still brings tears to my eyes. 

As we grew into our new way of life, I was surprised at how “normal” it felt. To this day, I often forget that Ellie even has Down syndrome. She isn’t defined by her condition. She is Ellie to us and I couldn’t imagine her any other way. I never knew that Down syndrome would play such an important role in my life, but this is where God wants me to be and I’m so grateful that he has given me this opportunity to grow. 

After our first walk, a fire was kindled in my soul. I wanted to experience that feeling every single day. As a web developer who teaches other business owners and bloggers how to grow their brand in the online world, it was only natural to want to build something special for our sweet Ellie. What started out as a project to help secure her future has evolved beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. The more I work on this project, the more I fall in love with all of the amazing people we have met along the way.

As I dove deeper into the necessary research that it takes to launch a brand, I found so many parents who were not yet connected to local support groups. Many of them were still wandering this journey alone. That’s when I knew this was more than us. This was more than Ellie. This journey is about YOU!