One of the wonderful things about living in a small town is you become fellow storytellers with the townsfolk–you come together at the park, the store, the church pew, and you just share about doing life in the same area. I did a series in 2012 entitled “31 Days of a Small Town Gal” and it fostered in me a renewed appreciation for our town. (You can peruse through the series by clicking here). So, for the next four Wednesdays in September, we are doing just that here at Letters from the Nest–sharing small town stories. Four amazing, strong and brilliant ladies will meet you here each week to offer you hope, encouragement, and a safe place to land.
Today let’s welcome our first guest writer, Kristy Osborn:
Hello! My name is Kristy Osborn. I am proud to say that I was raised and still reside in Campbell County, TN. I am a wife and mother of two beautiful children and we are expecting a baby in February of 2015. Preslee, is five years old, and just started kindergarten. She is a wonderful big sister and has an awesome personality! Neyland is ten months old, and joyful and loving.
They brighten the darkest day. I would like to tell a story that I haven’t been able to share with many people.
I had a healthy pregnancy with Neyland and was scheduled for a cesarean on October 7, 2013. Everything went great and we had a healthy baby boy. He was absolutely beautiful. We spent the day with our Neyland and our family and friends came to love and kiss on our sweet boy. I thought the day was perfect!
The next day, they came to get Neyland for his 24 hour check up. It seemed like he was gone for days. I asked the nurse what was taking so long and she assured us that the doctor would be in soon.
Little did we know that our world was about to change.
The hospital pediatrician came in to the room, with little to no tact, and told us that he thought our son had Down syndrome. We were in complete shock. All I could do was cry. My heart was broken, filled with fear, sadness and a bit of anger. He let us know that Neyland was being placed in the special care unit, because he was unable to eat by himself. I prayed so hard everyday and I know that God heard my humble plea to help our baby!
While in the unit, we waited for the results for the three day long blood test, to determine if he had Down syndrome. Since there were genetic concerns, they ran tests on his heart and we were so thankful that everything was fine. We finally met with the geneticist and received the news that Neyland had an extra 21st chromosome.
I felt as though the walls were closing in on me. I could hardly breathe. Family and friends were there to hear the news and support our little family. My husband was my rock. He stayed so strong and loved our son with his whole heart. We continued to be at the hospital with Neyland , while trying to take care of our sweet girl. This was a very difficult time for our family, especially, Preslee. I am so thankful that I had family to help take care of her and continue to surround her with love while we were at the hospital.
I was able to take Preslee to Boo at the Zoo while there was no visiting allowed for the unit. It was a very special time for us. We were not expecting to leave the hospital without our baby. After many prayers, help from doctors and nurses, family and friends, and co-workers, Neyland began to improve. I could literally feel God moving. Every day Neyland got better and everyday, my heart hurt less and less. We loved our baby with all of our hearts and were so thankful that he only had a few complications. After two weeks in the hospital, we were able to bring our boy home. Our journey of understanding Down syndrome began.
We began to learn exactly what it meant for Neyland to have DS. It is not a disease or something contagious, but simply an obstacle in his development. We have to make sure that we gave him every chance to develop as best as he can. We started Tennessee Early Intervention Systems (TEIS) and therapy right away. He is so special to us and we have learned so much from him. He has taught us what hard work really means.
We’ve learned that life is not about what the world says you need to accomplish on a certain timeline, but we have learned to cherish every single milestone on Neyland’s time.
He’s worked very hard in therapy to build his core muscles. I am thankful he has great therapists and doctors. I am also very thankful that I get to stay home with him, so I can work with him daily. We currently do occupational, physical, speech therapy and weekly TEIS visits at home to continue strengthening Neyland. I love to watch him grow stronger everyday. As a mother it is hard to watch him struggle, but he always impressed with his hard work.
I wish I could take back all of the tears that I cried when I found out about Neyland. Looking back, it hurts to know I felt that way about the situation. It’s real though and I can’t deny it. I had to learn from it. I was upset, because I knew nothing about Down syndrome and it scared me. Not that I loved my son any less, but was afraid of the unknown. I had to have faith in God, that he would see us through and take care of all of us. God has surely blessed us with this amazing child. I am not sure why he chose my husband and I, but we are so glad that he did. We will be his biggest fans and will do everything necessary for him to be the best that he can be. I will continue to proudly advocate for him and others. I want others to know that Down syndrome is okay, it’s actually the biggest blessing. I am so thankful for the love that we have been shown from family, friends, and our community. I’ll never forget the day that our community wore blue and yellow for Neyland and Down syndrome on World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. It meant more to me than they’ll ever know.
There will be many challenges that Neyland will face, but with God’s help we can conquer them all.