Michael James Snyder was born March 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm. I was in labor for 17 hours. They had prepped me for an emergency c-section because both of our heartbeats were dipping. My dr. let me try to push one more time before they operated. I pushed with every ounce of strength I had left in me and it only took 3! It was hard on me. I was weak and tired, but when they handed him to me I instantly fell in love. He was so round and red and perfect!
The next day his pediatrician came in to do an examination on him. She looked over him for a while. We were all standing around his clear plastic crib watching. She asked us if we knew that he had Down Syndrome. We told her we didn’t. She never once looked up at us. She just said “Well, he does” and walked right out of the room. There were no pamphlets or information, just three simple unfeeling words and a long list of medical tests that needed to be performed before we could leave the hospital.
My initial reaction was complete disbelief. I cried hard. I cried harder than I ever have in my life. I had so many emotions swirling around in my head at the same time. I just wanted to start the day all over again. I picked up my little boy and held him so tight. I stared at him trying to unsee what I was now seeing. He did look like he had Down Syndrome. I refused to believe it until I got the blood test back that confirmed his diagnosis
I was afraid. I was so confused. I was angry. I was incredibly sad. I thought it was my fault that he had a disability because I thought it was a birth defect. I felt disconnected. I felt guilty for feeling anything but love and adoration for our precious boy, but I had never been in such emotional agony in my life. I wasn’t quite sure how to process my emotions. I never cried in front of anyone because I was afraid they would think I was selfish. I was afraid they would think I didn’t love my boy.
My husband was a pillar during this whole time. He never even blinked. I don’t know if I will ever know what was going on in his mind. I still to this day wonder if he was only strong because he knew that I wasn’t. I wonder if my state of mind kept him from being able to process his feelings. I was mean and hurtful to him afterward. The truth is, I didn’t want to have a baby yet and I somehow thought blaming him would justify my hurt.
It was so wrong. I wish I could go back and undo all of that.
He stayed close and never said a word. He just loved our baby and loved me. He has more strength of character than I could ever hope to have. We have an incredible relationship now, but I know I hurt him.
I waited a while to tell anyone about his diagnosis. I was convinced that the only way I would know for sure is by getting the blood test results back. We told our pastor, Jake’s parents and my mom, but not anyone else. I needed a solid answer for myself before I would tell everyone else.
Once the blood test confirmed Trisomy 21 I texted all of my close friends and family to tell them Mikey had Down Syndrome. Every response was overwhelming. Everyone was so loving and encouraging. No one was sad like me. They were all so excited and happy. They were all so supportive. It was then I started to realize that I really needed to snap out of it.
I had a couple of friends who had adult sons with Down Syndrome. I reached out to them to ask them to share their stories. I cried as I listened, but this time they were healing tears. I started an Instagram account mainly for family and friends. I started typing in keywords like “Down Syndrome” and “Trisomy 21” into the search bar and soon found lots of accounts with children just like mine. They were all happy and thriving. I read blogs and watched YouTube videos of other parents and their experience on this new journey. Each story gave me hope and helped me to heal. We were going to be OK!
Michael is turning 2 this month. A lot has happened since he was born. We had another baby this past November. Mikey absolutely adores his baby sister Eden. I can already see a strong bond forming between the two of them. We would love to be able to adopt another baby with Down Syndrome in the next few years. My husband and I both feel that adoption would make our family complete.
We are so glad to be a part of the Down Syndrome community! We have met some of the sweetest and most genuine people that I have ever had the privilege to be acquainted with! We are proud to be considered one of #theluckyfew . “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little ‘extra’”
Laura is a stay at home mom of 2 kiddos. Laura is a proud Down Syndrome advocate and she is happily married to the love of her life. Mikey is her son that is rocking an extra 21st chromosome, and she will tell you, “He has changed our lives for the better!” Laura can be found on instagram @thesnyderclan.