“Every Life has a Value”
Its been a long time that I wanted to dedicate this page to my son Mario Emmanuel. I have been thinking so much about him that I never made a start; today while looking at some of his beautiful pictures - I felt that I am not going to wait to write a perfect post, but just start writing whatever comes to my mind. The purpose of writing this page is to share and relive some of my valuable experiences and learnings from this child who was an Angel in my life.
When I went for my first trimester check up to the Gynecologist a wonderful doctor from our city, Dr Evita Fernandez. She looked at my scan report and told me that this could be a special child and at this point of time we will not be able to identify any issues of the child. Also added to it she also told me that the fetus is so small that I might have a natural miscarriage. I did not know how to handle this information, to know that I have a special child in my womb and I do not know what the child will be like, what kind of problems that child may have is take the unknown path, that gave me fears, anxieties and insecurities, for many days I could not sleep and all the time my focus was on the child in my womb.
The doctor also spoke to David and told us that we have a choice to continue this pregnancy or to do away with it but she will not do the abortion but refer me to another hospital. So we had a choice, being a pro life person it was very difficult for me to take a decision to do away with the child. All sorts of thoughts came to my mind - what if I have a normal child and something happens to the child while growing up and God forbid if the child develops some problems, will I do away with the child ?
Myself and David prayed as we trusted God and we believed that everything works for good for those who trusted the Lord (Rom. 8:28). Finally we made a decision to continue this pregnancy as the doctors also told that there is no possibility of this child reaching full term. I carried on my pregnancy full term and completed 9th month and dates given were during Christmas week. So we thought that it will be fitting if we name the child Emmanuel if he was a boy; my in laws family being a Marian devotees added Mario to the name Emmanuel.
I never felt any movement of this child and I had put on lot of weight with swellings in my leg, with under active thyroid, and blood sugar rising up and down. The doctors felt that a C section would be better than the normal birthing, so we chose the date as 8th December 2003 a small little child was born quietly and for a moment I thought it was still born child, and when the doctors just gave a tap on his back, he started crying and we knew that this child is a fighter who despite all odds survived for the full term. He was very small weighed only 2.5kgs and was very weak and slept 24 hours and i had to wake him up for his feeds. He was like a feather, never cried, no noise in the house and It was hurting for me to see him so small and weak that I used to get worried for him.
I am grateful for good friends in my life who were kind, and always in touch with me, encouraging me and I even got 3 months of paid leave from my work place. One of my best friend who was always supportive during my pregnancy and was generous with her time, constantly and consistently helped me deal with my fears and anxieties. I was so happy with the kind of support that i wanted her to be my Son's God mother.
When I asked her she willingly accepted and we baptized him in our church naming him Mario Emmanuel. Mario is significant for mother Mary, and Emmanuel means "GOD WITH US'.I was so insecure that every time I called out his name; I was reminded that God is with us and He will take care of him. We celebrated his baptism just like we celebrated my daughter's with immediate family and friends. Emmanuel was small and light and he slept all the time, there was no noise because even if he cried his voice was feeble... I was with him 24 by 7 and it was quite stressful for me; for the first 3 months I used to only cry looking at him as he was just sleeping and took very little milk. I was fearing what problems he would develop as he grows.
The doctors told that they cannot say anything as of now, he has to grow up a little more and suggested a DNA test, which showed one chromosome extra and we were told that he will be a Down syndrome boy and IQ needs to be done to be able see the level of retardation in him. David was running around with getting the DNA test done and we continued our visits to the doctor and they also found that he had hole in his heart.
I shared with my friends about the extra chromosomes and that he was a down syndrome child; and i also started browsing and looking out for information of these children on the Net. I had very good and supportive friends who also sent me a lot of material to understand and be prepared. I prepared myself for the worst and kept myself constantly updated and also observing him. I found that his developments were delayed as it took him almost six months to put on some weight and could see and smile. By 3 months normally babies turn on their bed and and support their neck.
I had to be extremely careful while holding him; there were no sounds, no babbles, no active movement of hands and legs. I followed the immunization schedule and regularly visited the pediatrician. when I told him about Emmanuel that he is not moving hands and legs and the progress is slow. I was shocked at the way he reacted, which I can never forget in my life - he told me that these type of kids are painful and they will have some problem or the other and when we knew that he is going to be a special child... why did I continue my pregnancy? I kept quiet as I did not want to get into an argument with him and justify my choice, he also told me that we don't know when he will walk, it will take a lot of time and we have to be prepared. Emmanuel took 5 to 6 months to turn on his bed and support his neck.
I shall keep updating this page as and when I am free... thanks for reading my post.