Once Upon A Prayer

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ready or not...here I come!

Sometimes gifts don't always come to you in the way you expect them.  As most of you know, our family has been on a journey this past year in which we have experienced some incredible highs and some scary lows. God's Holy Spirit, your prayers, the love and generosity of our friends and family (some who are scattered across the world that we have never even met yet) have given us the strength to face challenges we never imagined we could survive (my 10th grade English teacher would have made me change that sentence for being too long!). Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love and support. However, we recently learned of a new challenge we are bracing to face.
Because of Emily's high blood pressure, Carcinoid tumors, and her being pregnant in her 30's (and yes, she is much younger than me - and way hotter too), her pregnancy is deemed "high risk". That is code for plenty of ultrasounds, which increases the likelihood that some medical professional will ruin the surprise and accidentally tell us the gender of our unborn baby. Grrrrrrr.
During one of those ultrasounds, a doctor noticed some small indicators that lead him to suggest we take a simple blood test to rule out or confirm his suspicions. We took his advice. We waited not so patiently, and a week later, we received a phone call. Our baby has down syndrome. 
It is my guess that no couple on the planet can ever be prepared to hear those words. Maybe the fact that we had two perfectly healthy babies prior lured us into assuming everything would go as planned with this birth.  But like I said earlier, not all gifts come to you the way you expect them.
Surprise #2! We decided (since Emily practically lives there for now) to transfer our care to Children's Hospital in D.C. We love their doctors & nurses, and the care is wonderful. They preformed yet another ultrasound, and as well, just to be safe, an echocardiogram.  It was an emotional day to begin with. The rare days Emily and I get spend together are precious. We were (and are) still wrestling through how this new challenge will impact our family. We are hanging on by a thread to the hope and prayers that God will preform a huge miracle in our little Lily.  At the end of the day, we sat across the table from a Cardiologist, holding each others hand, only to hear what no expecting parents would ever want to hear - that our unborn baby also has a serious congenital heart defect that will require surgery.  My wife can fill you in on the details in a later posting - she is much better at explaining medical stuff than me!
As you can imagine, this is a lot to handle - on many levels.  As a husband, I have watched Emily show more love and give more strength to our Lily - making incredible sacrifices to get her the care she needs to give her a chance to live.  I wonder how much more one mom has left to give.  She is an incredible woman.  I have watched our girls - all four of them - endure having their worlds as they know it turned upside-down.  It amazes me how well they are doing.  I wonder how much more change they can handle.  For the time being our plan is to wait until the baby is born to explain the complications.  I'm sure when the time is right to talk to our girls, we will know it.  For that reason, we are asking any of you who are around our children to guard your conversation so they can enjoy this pregnancy and delivery without the added stress of trying to make sense of something their young minds cannot understand.  Since their only frame of reference for heart complications is Lily, we would like them to experience the arrival of their sibling without fear.
I told some of my family when I shared the news with them, that God must see something in me I don't see in myself.  If that' s the case, than He will provide emotionally, physically,  relationally, and spiritually everything we need to face this - and face it we will, both willing, and in his strength, able.
James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above".  Our soon to be born baby is exactly that; a good and perfect gift from above - God's incredibly beautiful gift - to us. For not all gifts come to us exactly like we expect.  And although we definitely didn't expect this, we accept this gift with arms wide open.  Because Emily's belly reminds us everyday, "ready or not, here I come!"
Peace and Goodwill,


  1. praying with and for all of you. love you!

  2. With all that you're going through, this is a lot to handle. I have one biological child with DS, and have adopted two more kids with DS. Your baby is just like any other baby. Just love on your new baby like you would any other. The DS community is a VERY tight community. 80% of our kids are born with heart defects, many requiring surgery at birth, others who can hold off several years before needing surgery. It just depends upon the type of defect. While Facebook is a good way to connect, a MUCH easier forum to find all the information you could ever need is located here http://www.downsyn.com/phpbb2/index.php If it happens within the world of DS, you'll find posts about it in the archives and can read at your leisure. Remember this: Your baby is a baby first. DS, while a part of your new little one, will not define them. Your child will be more like you than other kids with DS. As far as explaining it to your girls, there isn't a need right away. Let them love their new sibling. THEY won't see or understand why you're upset (if you get upset) To them this is just a baby, and they are right. Your new one is going to rock your world, and it's going to be good. Here's a link to my blog http://gardenofeagan.blogspot.com/ and while my daughter doesn't blog very often, she has some fun videos on hers http://itsmylifemom.blogspot.com/
    One thing is true. You have just found yourself in this club. You didn't ask for a membership, you were just thrown into it. You will find this club to be quite amazing, even on those days you wish you weren't in it.

  3. A friend posted about your family on facebook asking for prayers. I have only had a chance to read this post so I don't know the whole story, but I wanted to write to say something...anything to try to convey my admiration for your family. I love that in a culture that considers abortion first when discussing Down Syndrome, that there are still families like yours that, without a second thought and with faithful hearts, put your trust in God and start preparing for the road ahead to love your precious child. My words fail to convey the admiration I have for you! I wish I had great words to encourage you on this road you are on. I feel blessed to have been "introduced" to your family and it is an honor to pray for you!

  4. The story God is writing has already reached thousands... perhaps it will reach millions.

    Though you don't understand everything now, one day, it will be revealed. The faith and endurance that you and Emily have shown through every circumstance this last year has been an incredible testimony to the love of two beautiful girls once known as orphans.

    God is a GOOD God... He loves each of His precious children, born and unborn.

    Prayers will continue to be prayed all over this world for you and your sweet family.

  5. I found out my second child would also ave down syndrome.... I was 13 weeks preggo and in shock. I had a hard time believing it... I thought I couldn't handle it... god had other plans and the truth is that my daughter has changed my life so much so that every aspect of my life, every aspect of my being is better. I can not count the blessings she has brought to our lives.... Congratulations on your pregnancy and you will be amazed at how much more wonderful your life will become... Trust me!!!!

  6. Hi, I am a mommy to 5 incredible kiddos - 3 biological and 2 adopted. Our oldest and youngest bio boys were born with heart defects and both required surgery. Our youngest son's was very severe and required 3 open heart surgeries. It was originally thought that he had Down Syndrome or another chromosomal difference, but when he was born, he had normal chromosomes. We recently adopted 2 little boys from Eastern Europe - one cognitively typical but with a severe heart defect that will require a third open heart surgery next month and also a sweet little boy with Down Syndrome. Yes, we CHOSE Down Syndrome. Let me tell you, all of our children are blessings from God, but our little guy with Down Syndrome has brought such a joy to our family that we would have never had without him. He is honestly one of the greatest blessings in our life. Most days, we forget he has Down Syndrome. When we see him, we just see an amazing almost 2 year old with such a love for life and who fills our lives with so much joy. A year from now, you are going to look back on this day and wonder what in the world you were so worried about....trust me! This new baby is going to be such an INCREDIBLE blessing.....a blessing you never knew you needed but one you will be SO THANKFUL you have! I will leave you with a quote I love "I don't know what I did to deserve a child with Down Syndrome, but whatever it was, I am sure glad I did it!" Praying for you and your family!

  7. Like you, my baby was dx with Ds before he was born. He was our 4th pregnancy. I had lots of ultrasounds and fetal echocardiograms to check on his health. The results were great - no problems with his little heart. Then he was born. Lots of heart problems, resulting in open heart surgery at < 3 mos old. He's now 6, joyful, silly, precious, and healthy! His 3 older siblings adore him. He is the light of our lives, and such a boy! On the way into school this morning he found every puddle in the parking lot and managed to kick a pile of snow covering his pants; all while I held his hand! We like him so much, as a matter of fact, we adopted a little girl with Ds from Ukraine. Upon visiting our cardiologist when we got home, we found out she had the same heart defects! Same repairs, same current great health :). Of course I can't give you any guarantees about your sweet bundle of joy as far as heart issues, but my kids have brought so much joy and love and fun to our family, I'm sure you'll feel the same way. Sending much love to you!

  8. i JUST FOUND YOUR BLOG I'm amazed and kinda ashamed My baby is 22 now she was born with a rare birth defect. Funny thing while I was pregnant I would pray(read tell God what I could and couldn't handle. Mind you this was my 3rd child my first it was thought had cats cry a deadly birth defect she grew into a healthy mom of 2,My second was extreamly healthy hardly ever sick. My third had almost everything I told God I could't handle...Seizures that was #1 one on my list and God said ok I'll show you what you can handle for 3 years just as quickly as they showed up at 1 year at three they disapeered.was told she had a brain tumour at the same day of the first siezure luckily I had taken my bible to the hospital. because this was a friday we wouldnt know if she had a tumor until monday.Monday came and she had a mri no tumor but thats when they discovered the defect evidently in her case it was a stroke inutero most of the time it is chromosone we lived 5 years in and out of hospitals she is enrolling in cllege this semester God does things to teach us to grow us to depend on him your strong family he knew what he was doing.I forgot to say my first child was kidknaped by her father sexually abused abd told i was dead for 9 years then when she was 11 she was told never mind your moms alive and your going to live with her.

  9. Bless your new little precious baby on the way - so glad you see him or her as a perfect gift and not something to throw away. A treasure indeed is any child God gives us. I am so sorry, though, for all you are going through - a lot to deal with for anyone. I have been praying and will continue to pray for Lily (I have a daughter from China named Lily too) and for all of you. When even one of my little dogs is sick I get physically ill I feel so badly - I cannot even imagine what it is like to have a child so ill, cannot imagine how you cope, even in the midst of faith. God bless all of you.

  10. Welcome to the Down syndrome family. I'm not at all eloquent, I'll leave that up to others, but there is love, and understanding, camaraderie and an overall good time (most of the time) in this family. My youngest, now 5-1/2 was prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. I allowed myself to feel bad for a day or two, then just put myself out there, met via internet and in person as many people in the new family as I could, and well, here we are. Welcome to the family.

  11. wow! another addition, that's awesome!Just like another person posted, love this child is all you need to do. I am excited to watch your family grow.

    Emily in Canada!

  12. I pray this blog will bless you...I think it will.


    I've been praying for you all...and will continue to. <3

  13. Know that I am praying! Know that I am a regular prayer warrior and will continue to be in prayer! Love you all so very much!


  14. Thinking of you all! I wish I could be closer to help out with the children and to bring food!
    I am POSITIVE that your new baby, just like your 4 other children,will bring you incredible joy and you will be asking yourselves how you ever lived without such a sweet blessing!

    Chris and I tried for months to adopt a little girl with Down Syndrome and our hearts were broken when we couldn't get through the red tape to bring her home. God always sees more in us than we see in ourselves because he knows our incredible potential - because of HIS love and creation.

    Take care,
    Tammy & Chris

  15. Wow.
    This is one lucky baby to be born into such a special, loving, Godly family.
    God knows what he's doing when he matches us with our family - he's got a vision of what will be just right for your bunch. I'm praying for much joy and laughter to rain down on the Rancourts.
    And I'm praying for the health of all of you, strength to face each battle, and peace through the roughest times.
    You're an inspiration - all of you. I can't tell you how many times I've looked through your pictures or read your posts, without commenting, because I'm crying too hard, feeling so many emotions for you.
    Love you guys,

  16. Hi! I was sent to your blog from your friend Jill Winslow. I first want to say congratulations. This new addition to your family is going to bless your socks off - I am a mother of 3 and my youngest also has designer genes & is a heart hero from open heart surgery to correct a complete balanced av canal at four months of age. I friended your wife on facebook & look forward to getting to know your sweet family! I know that this journey is hard and the path is unknown, but I do know that God has a great plan and purpose in your life & this new addition has a huge role to play in it. Congratulations again! ~Annie