All about the birth of Mack

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Today is Mack’s birthday. He is three!  Where did the time go?  The main reason I wanted to start this blog is to share my stories of Mack and his abilities.  He captures everyone’s heart and I know my heart has grown remarkably since he was born. I remember that day often with fondness.

Mack’s birth was an incredible experience. I had been having contractions the day before and did all I could to speed things up.  At midnight they were painful enough that I couldn’t sleep. I took a nice hot bath and when the contractions were three or four minutes apart I woke up my husband, Ben and let him know it was time to go.  I had planned for an epidural, but secretly wanted to do it all natural. When we arrived at the hospital it was to late for any medication.  Mack quickly arrived and I remember feeling an immense amount of relief as he made himself present.  Ben laughed as he saw his red hair. He was beautiful! Mack was born at 40 weeks. Right on time, unlike my other 41 week pregnancies.  As I held him in my arms, I noticed he looked different.

Ben had a premonition on the way to the hospital. He knew Mack would be born with Down syndrome. Of course there was no time to mention this to me. My mom and younger sister Kim were there at the delivery. My sister kept commenting on his cute little crooked pinky. “It looks just like Olivia’s” (Olivia is her daughter and was born with Turner’s syndrome and cute crooked pinkies). They knew Mack was born with an extra 21st chromosome. I did not. He struggled to latch on to nurse, but with some help from my doctor he got the hang of it. She didn’t notice he was born with Down syndrome either. It wasn’t until the pediatrician made his rounds later in the morning that I was made aware of the possibility that my son might have an extra chromosome. He simple pointed out a few physical characteristics and said he will run some tests and we will wait and see.

I called Ben in tears. I felt like the doctor had picked all my son’s cutest features apart and called them ugly. I took it very personal. I was 36 when Mack was born. Was his diagnosis my fault? What would people think of me? How was Mack going to be treated?

Ben spoke of his premonition. He let me know that Mack gave him a greater understanding of the eternities. A phrase I didn’t quite understand until I heard a quote from Elder Holland (of the LDS religion) “I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind.”  Ben said he was not sad and everything was going to be ok.

I searched for information about Down syndrome and was surprised at all the positive stories that I read.  I was given hope.  We shared the news with family.  Some were as ignorant as I was, but together we studied and learned these individuals were so much more than their diagnosis.

I talked with someone I knew who has a sister with Down syndrome.  He gave me his mom’s number.  When I called I was hoping to meet with them.  I could feel the love she had for her daughter through the phone.  I could also sense the smile on her face as she told me her daughter thinks she has grown out of her Down syndrome.  She is a college student at SUU.

I met with others who have loved ones with Down syndrome.  All my encounters were uplifting.  In fact I can only remember one negative comment.  A woman stared at Mack with a puzzled look.  I knew the question she didn’t ask, so offered the answer.  She quickly replied, “yeah, he has the mark”.  What mark?  I will never again offer information about Mack unless it is beneficial to him.  I admit it took me a while to figure this out.

I have been able to enjoy Mack longer as a baby than any of my “typical” children. He is a cuddler, and loves to be held. Recently he has started holding my face with both hands so he is able to kiss me with my undivided attention. I love him!

Mack brings so much joy to our home. We love to celebrate his milestones. As hard as it is to believe for some, he has not been so different from our other children.  Mack rolled over from the begging and sat without support at 7 months. He fed himself at 18 months about the same time he stopped nursing and learned how to drink from a straw. Mack did not start walking until he was 2 1/2. I remember praying…begging to have him walk before Emmett was born. Trying to carry Mack on top of my pregnant belly was taking its toll on my back (my age was starting to show). He would walk holding my hand, but never alone. Not until we went to Disneyland for spring break and Isabelle’s birthday. He wanted to walk on his own and stand in line all by himself. He has not slowed down since. In fact he has started to run. He is so cute as he swings his arms and moves his feet as fast as he can trying to keep up with is older sister Isabelle.  I often feel like I’m raising the tortoise and the hare, and that’s fine with me.  I have always loved the tortoise.

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The way home

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We started our day early in Orlando. Our flight home would leave at 7:05 am so we wanted to make it to the airport at 6:00. We almost made it. We had to stop and fill the rental car with gas. More like we had to turn around and find a gas station. We dropped the car off at six and made it to check in at ten after. No bags to check we just needed a boarding pass for Emmett, our four month old baby. Everything was going great until I asked for my boarding pass. The attendant had a confused look on his face. He couldn’t find my reservation and asked me a few times if we flew here together, which of course we did. Ben showed him the round trip reservation on his phone. The attendant said they took me off the flight because I was a “no show” from the previous flight. After discussing at length the fact that I did travel on the same flight as my husband and baby, he issued me a new boarding pass. By this time we had 15 minutes to catch our flight. The nice attendant escorted us through security and we would have barely made the flight if TSA wouldn’t have stopped me and searched my bags and patted me down. They were really nice about it though. As we ran to the gate, we knew there was no chance we were going to get on the plane.  Ben had a few heated words with the attendant at the gate and later apologized when they got us on another flight.

We flew to Milwaukee.  After we landed and were waiting on the plane to go to Los Angeles an attendant boarded the plane and informed us that we had to get off. She was not nice about it. She motioned for her manager, another discussion about how they lost my reservation, and then they agreed to let us stay on.  It’s all good.

There you have it, my first blog. I had decided not to start a blog when I quickly ran out of time on my so called vacation. But with the extra travel time I decided this would be a great story to begin with. Hope all goes well at LA and Emmett is content on the short flight to Vegas. And then of course there is the three hour drive to our little town of Cedar City.

The update: after 18 hours of travel we are home. The flight to LA wasn’t bad. We managed to get a bite to eat before the last flight to Vegas which is usually only 45 minutes. Not today. Bad weather delayed the take off and before landing we had to circle the runway for awhile. It took us two hours to get there.  It must have been some storm. As we were driving home, I-15 was a parking lot. We were stuck for over an hour as a road crew worked hard to clean off the freeway. Next trip we will fill the tank the night before and be to the airport well over an hour before our flight.  Lesson learned. Oh and Southwest is not my favorite airline.