The day after he was born:
I wanted to share an e-mail that Vernon had sent out to one of his friends. It sums up very nicely how we both feel about this unexpected situation:
Thank you for your response, thoughts and prayers. Reflecting on my life so far, I can immediately recollect dozens of experiences that God has used to help me to prepare for this specific road ahead. Casie and I are fine with the diagnosis-we feel privileged that we have been selected to take on this challenge and that God trusts us enough to care for this child. We would rather be the parents of a Down's child than, say, an 18 year old single mother who may not have the resources to provide for the child or another couple who rejects their child because of this diagnosis. Whether Vollen is with us for only a few days or 56 years, I am confident that our life will be more fulfilling and rewarding because of this experience and with his presence in our lives. He is a gift to us greater than any other.
Another one of his friends had written us this nice story we also wanted to share:
By: Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this. When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland.""Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice Holland has windmills and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy. and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss, but if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I miss holding my new baby and this whole experience is so different than our first.
In total I don't think Vernon and I have held him more than an hour each. He was in the NICU overnight on some oxygen and monitors for his lungs and heart.
He is resting peacefully at Bergan and had the EKG and ultrasound done on his heart. We have no results as of yet. Vernon went down there to be with him and try to get some skin on skin and snuggle time in with him. He will have to stay there overnight and depending on the results he could be released back here tomorrow and then we would be here a couple more days. Otherwise, if he has to stay at Bergan, then I will be released tomorrow and we can go visit him there.
One of the nurses was shielding his eyes from the bright lights an he was opening them. I haven't even seen his eyes open for more than a couple of seconds. We are praying that everything turns out good with the results, but he still has rapid breathing and they need to get that all figured out. Thanks again for all of your thoughts, prayers, calls, and e-mails for our baby boy. We know that is it difficult for people to know what to say. It is hard for us too, but we want to let everyone know that we understand and that it will hopefully get easier for everyone to talk openly about. This is all new to all of us and we will all get through it one day at a time together!