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How My Child Inspires Me - By Aileen Schwarz

The inspiration from a child comes to most parents before their child is even born. Mine was no different. I was given "genetic counseling" about six months into the pregnancy. It wasn't a clear diagnosis, but it was given, just the same. Of course I became overwhelmed and even a bit manic. My pregnancy was good after that until a broken ankle at 8 months and pre-eclampsia to follow.

My miracle was born in the spring of 2003 on a Friday night at about 8:30. She was my inspiration then, but I didn't know it yet. I found that out in mid-June of the same year when her pediatrician noticed the lines in her hands and the depth of the bridge of her nose. Her chromosome test came back as 76% affected Mosaic Down Syndrome. Following my short-lived anxiety attack, I went into our room, stared at her beautiful little sleeping face and picked her up. I held her tight and didn't let her go. She comforted me with her soft baby breath in my ear and the gentle caress from her fisted hand.

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From there, it was appointment after appointment, trip after trip to Children's Hospital, where they were a wonderful part of my baby's life. My baby girl was such a little trooper, hardly complaining about the pokes, prods and machines hooked up to her tiny little body nearly every week. She is one of the lucky ones, though. It turns out her only health issue related to Trisomy 21 is an underactive thyroid.

She continues to inspire me. She is a 4-year-old little princess who doesn't want to share any of her thoughts yet, but I'm sure she will have tons to say once she figures it out. She is as tall and weighs as much as a 5 to 6 year old, after only weighing in at 5 pounds 6.6 ounces at birth.

There are days when I see children playing, or notice parents staring because my child is different. She can't quite climb the way the other kids can, or swing all by herself. It is also difficult at times to watch the other kids running toward mom or dad with arms wide open shouting, "Mommy, Daddy!" However, I am so pleased when my child isn't carrying on in the store because she's asking for something she can't have. As wonderful as it will be to hear her ask for something for the first time, I know I am lucky my daughter is content to play with me. Yay!

Every day of my life, I watch her as she grows and thrives. She does something new every day. I am sure every child does that, but it seems to be more inspiring to watch your child come from so far. She inspires me to become everything she needs and as much as she wants me to be. If not for her, there is really no telling where I would be. In fact, I'm pretty sure she saved my life (but I suppose that is a story for another time). I thank God for giving her to me, although I don't know what I did to deserve her. He, through her, has taught me patience and understanding. I have learned love and kindness. I have seen and held beauty in its most pure form. I am truly blessed with inspiration, and every day is different, but still inspiring.

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