Sunday, February 8, 2009

Memoir Monday~The News

**This piece was written with my students and revised with them as we began our journey to "revising to be better writers" series.**

Dr. Saddiqui and his messengers entered my room quietly. He came over to me. “I’m sorry, but we believe your daughter has Down syndrome,” he stated. “We are performing genetic testing and will have the results by Friday,” he continued. As the entourage left the room my mind swarmed with many confusing, racing thoughts. This isn’t happening. This can’t be happening! Not my daughter! This only happens to other people! My silent room was filled with emotional chaos. Outside my room the buzzing of the nurses continued, while the doctor’s voice echoed in my ears. I kept replaying the scene: genetic testing, no eye contact from the doctor, and I knew he was right. Emma had Down syndrome. Tears flowed down my cheeks in furious streaks and my temper flared!

“There is nothing wrong with Emma! How can they even think that? I exploded. I could feel the protective instinct envelop my child even though I had only been a mother for 24 hours.

How can this be happening? How can I possibly wait 3 days to find out? What do I do? Well, I waited. I prayed. I visited my tiny baby. And I waited.

On Friday, the hospital social worker called and asked us to come up to the conference room. My heart was thumping in my chest as I walked into the elevator and then into the room. On the table sat a box of tissues. My heart sank. I gasped. My heart began to break into tiny pieces. My sobs could be heard own the hall.

“Shh…you don’t even know the results,” said the social worker.

I wanted to scream what!!! This is my child we’re talking about! Instead I quietly replied, “True, but I don’t believe the news is what we want to hear.” I pointed to the tissue box and sat down.

A rush of activity caught my attention. Dr. Saddiqui entered the room with an unfamiliar doctor. She was very animated and it was obvious she was talking about my daughter. She turned and smiled at us. Then it seemed the whole world came crashing down around me. While I tried to stop my sobs and tears, Dr. Moghadan tried to explain what it meant when she told us Emma had Mosaic Down syndrome. But, it seemed that someone had pressed the mute button. I could not speak; I could not hear her words. My mind was rushing with many different thoughts. Will she be “normal?” Will she fall in love? Will she walk or talk?

Dr. Moghadan’s words changed me. I was no longer a “new parent,” but a parent of a special needs child. Not only did her words change me, but they changed others. People went from saying, “Congratulations” to “I’m sorry,” as if someone had died.

However, I learned a lot about my self that day. I would gladly sacrifice my life to prevent my child from being hurt. Now four years later, I see and experience the love of my daughter~who does talk, who does walk, and “woves” me.


  1. This is very honest and touching. I can imagine the flood of emotions you must have had. My grandma adopted a child in 1950-something and they didn't know about his special needs until about 6 months later. She was disappointed, and a lot of people told her to get a refund and give him back. This only made her more determined to give him a loving family. I think know now how that must feel for people to offer sympathy instead of celebrating your new baby. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow! I am so touched by your memoir. It's amazing and courageous that you were able to share that with your students. I'm sure that they will be better writers because of your openness.

  3. Wow. This is an excellent piece.