Day Thirty

October 30, 2008 at 7:55 pm 1 comment

Having Polly home, dressing her up, giving sponge baths, willing her to eat her three ounces of formula before tiring; it all helped.  It made the connection real.  She was my daughter. 

The first day home from the hospital my mom, Sergei and I took turns feeding Polina.  She fed so slow that by the time she was finally done it was time to start again.  It was similar to nursing a baby; waiting for the milk to come in although my milk had dried up before I even got to hold her.

When it was bedtime Sergei pulled out our green sleeper couch and made it up.  My mother would have been no use to us without sleep so she stayed in our bedroom were she initially was installed. 

Polly was nestled in a carry size bassinet on top of the living room/dinning room table up against the wall.  She sleeped soundly while we watched reruns of Mad About You my mom brought from the States.  Sergei would laught so heartily, I remember it made me angry.  How could he laugh effortlessly, totally engrossed in a half-hour sitcom when our lives were changing as quickly as the wind.  I lie there in the night, exhausted, unable to sleep, listening for Polina’s breaths…and then it was morning and I frantically jumped up and checked the baby, realizing I had not fed her at all in the night.

My sleepy husband patted my shoulder, went to the kitchen for a bottle and handed it and the baby to me.  He had been up with her most of the night and did not want to wake me. 

Thus started our life after the birth of our daughter Polina.  The next few weeks found us packing up boxes of things to store at a friend’s house.  Our church in Michigan was preparing a place for us to stay.  Airline tickets were purchased.  We put a for sale sign on the car and met with the owner of the apartment to break our lease.  Sergei forfeited his position as pastor and friends and family came by throughout it all to hold the baby and spend time with us.

We left for America three weeks later.  I was sad to go but ready to touch down on American soil.  Our closest Ukrainian friends stayed at our apartment late into the night the day before we left.  They did not want to say goodbye and although we still had last minute packing to do, we sat with them and talked and prayed till the morning hours.

We left Ukraine unsure of the future; unsure of Polly’s needs or how to meet them, but a family of five nonetheless.

For the next year in Michigan my mood flipped and flopped from grief to thankfulness to joy to fear to grief again.  I remember when I first started talking to other parents of kids with Down syndrome.  One mother told me to let the baby change me.  And slowly, through Polly’s first year, she did. 

I grieved the loss of the child I expected, that’s true.  But I have been blessed with so much more than I could ever imagine. 

Tomorrow is the last day of Down syndrome Awareness month.  I wanted to end these posts with a nice bow but I didn’t get as far as I thought I would.

Check back tomorrow.  I have a new story to share.

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Entry filed under: 31 for 21, Down syndrome, Family, Kiev, Ukraine.

Day Twenty-nine Day Thirty-one

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jennifergg  |  October 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Yes, let the baby change you. All babies change us, don’t they? And it seems, especially babies with Down syndrome.

    xo

    Reply

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