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Challenge: Bringing Home Baby: What Do You Wish You’d Known?

Letter To Myself (Before Josie)

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February 3, 2009

You probably are starting to feel some pre-labor symptoms. At first, you may think you ate too many wings while watching the Superbowl, but it is going to become apparent to you that you will soon be welcoming your new baby girl.

Hold on.

You are in for the adventure of a lifetime.

Early tomorrow, a baby girl with deep chocolate eyes will be placed in your arms, and your life will never be the same.

She is your seventh child, but what you will experience will only rival new motherhood. Everything you thought you knew will have to be relearned.

Nothing will come easily this time around.

When Josie is merely one day old, you will find yourself staring into her dark eyes trying to unlock their secrets. You know deep down from bottom of your heart that somehow she is different.

In fact those words will come out of your mouth as you lie in your bed and beg her to be “normal.” You will hate yourself for feeling this way. It is mostly the hormones talking, mixed with a bit of fear.

You will try to explain to the nurses that something isn't quite right, but your concerns fall on deaf ears.

Keep pressing until you get answers.

Josie will scare you at six weeks old, but she is strong. For the first year of her life, you will sit in the waiting room of countless specialists who will poke and prod her tiny body. She will overcome every obstacle she faces. Don't ever back down. You are her greatest advocate.

Always trust your intuition. You know this child better than anyone else. Eventually, the doctors will come to respect, and even trust your opinion.

After a few months you will open your door to total strangers whom you will trust with your child. Josie will gain a second family of Early Intervention providers who will work with her, and in turn grow to love her as well.

There will be days when you think Josie will never walk. One day, you will notice a mother at the park staring at your 18 month old who can just about stand on her own. When she approaches you to ask how old Josie is, prepare yourself for when she looks away uncomfortably and changes the conversation. Remember, good things come to those who wait.

Just before her second birthday, Josie will take her first unassisted steps. From there, she will learn how to run and jump and finally attempt the stairs on her own. You will never need a baby gate with this one, but be prepared for the one who comes after her.

Josie's diagnoses of Dypraxia and Hypotonia will bring with them an overwhelming sense of frustration for her, and for you. Listen carefully at all times. Josie has so much she wants to tell you.

Until she finds her words, you will know how Josie feels about you by the way she wraps her arms around you so tightly. Josie loves unconditionally with all her heart and soul.

She will be speaking in sentences before you know it.

I promise you, soon, you won't be able to keep her quiet.

When she is four, she will receive yet another diagnosis. Tell yourself that chromosomes are overrated, because above all, Josie is a person, not a diagnosis.

No matter what gets thrown at you, she is the same baby you brought home from the hospital.

Unfortunately, there isn't a crystal ball to look into. No one, not even you, can predict what the future will be.

More than four years into this journey, I can assure you that though the road is long and sometimes bumpy, it is worth the ride.

The sweet baby you are about to meet is going to change your life. Mark my words, she is going to amaze you each and every day.

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