Child Inspires Me - By
This is a speech that
Linda gave at RMDSA's Breakfast
of Champions event in May, 2007.
I am Bridgette's Mom. I was asked
to speak about my experiences with
Down syndrome and the life of our
daughter Bridgette who is now 27
months old. I struggled to try to
include everything that we have been
through in the last 27 months and
limit my speech to just 5 minutes.
It has been quite a wild ride to
say the least.
I would like to start by saying,
most other mothers I talk to about
the birth of their child experience
much difficulty to conjure up the
memories of that day, as it is simply
too painful. I am happy to share
with you my experience, which although
was very difficult, was also the
beginning of a very beautiful journey.
Bridgette was born on
a Friday in early 2005. She was a
healthy, full-term baby, 7 pounds
12 ounces, breastfed. She was perfect
except for a little gurgle in her
Your Inspirational Story
Along the lines of the "Chicken
Soup" stories, RMDSA would like
to inspire the world with our
own heartwarming stories and
words of wisdom.
Two Hours Later:
Two hours had passed since the nurses
whisked Bridgette away for her 'bath'.
Longing to hold my new baby girl,
I called the NICU and asked about
Bridgette. The nurse's response was
shocking: "I am sorry, but I
am not qualified to talk to you about
the condition of your baby." And
she hung up. I was floored. Was Bridgette
dead? Was she sick? What did this
I ran down the hallway towards the
NICU when our pediatrician and my
husband rounded the corner. [Our
pediatrician] smiled as he came towards
me. "Congratulations on the birth
of your beautiful baby girl!" he
said. The racing in my heart started
to calm and I asked, "Is she all
right?" "Let's go to your room, sit
down, and talk," he said.
calmed my fears and shared with us
the truth about Bridgette. He informed
us about her medical conditions,
the holes in her heart, the murmur,
and that Bridgette had Down syndrome.
I went into shock, but his facial
expressions, and his calm presence
pulled me back as he said, "You both
have been blessed with a wonderful
gift. God does not give these babies
to just anyone. You have been chosen,
hand selected, and your life will
be so much more fulfilling, you just
won't believe it." He then shared
that he had just been through the
[health care provider] training through
RMDSA and was so excited that we
were his first patients. As I look
back, I too am so very glad that
we were his first patients after
he received the training, which planted
the seed of hope and positive attitudes
that we live by today.
I knew nothing about Down syndrome.
So [our pediatrician] hooked me up
with RMDSA and I received my visitation
the next day. When I met Jeanette
and her two-year-old son, Tait, it
was from that moment on that I knew
everything was going to be all right.
Jeanette had tons of information,
and she seemed so calm and relaxed,
like she had been doing this for
30 years! And Tait, he was just like
my kids at two, exploring everything
in my hospital room. He was cute,
funny, lovable, and my knight-in-shining-armor.
Bridgette came into our lives, healed
relationships between my family members,
and pulled our family together. Her
heart healed miraculously on its
own, but she had another problem.
She was diagnosed with Hirschsprungs
Disease at 8 months old. I had been
helping her to stool everyday for
8 months, thinking this was normal
for Down syndrome. At an RMDSA support
group meeting, I discovered that
this was not normal and we took Bridgette
to a specialist, who confirmed that
she would need surgery. Then the
roller coaster began again.
Surgery went well, but Bridgette
went septic and ended up having seven
surgeries all together. We almost
lost her multiple times, and one
day, when it was all too much, I
called Jeanette and told her I was
ready to give up, ready to let go
of Bridgette's little foot as she
was being pulled back to heaven.
I did just that, I stopped fighting,
and told God, if he wants his littlest
angel so badly, then I release her.
Shortly after that conversation,
I received a telephone call from
[the hospital] and the nurse was
telling me that Bridgette was suddenly
making a remarkable recovery, and
that we could come and take her home
in a week! The lessons I have learned
in the last 27 months go beyond anything
I can explain. I am a different person
since our youngest daughter arrived.
I want to thank RMDSA for the training
you provided to our pediatrician.
Thank you for your intervention.
I can only hope and pray that training
will be provided to all the nurses
that simply "don't get it," to
all the OB/GYN's, and even midwives
that desperately need RMDSA to help
educate them. Most of all, I want
to thank you for the support that
you have given me and my family,
through the good times as well as
the tough times. We never have to
walk this journey alone and have
made lifelong friends from day one.