I’m so excited to see some photos rolling in from my post below!
This is the first one I read, and — wow! — how inspiring. It’s from Cassy Fiano Chesser, whose husband is a Marine:
I wanted to send a picture of my son, Wyatt. He is currently 17 months old. I actually sent in two pictures, because it just seemed right with our story. The pictures I sent are both of Wyatt with his dad.
When I got pregnant with Wyatt, it was definitely not planned. Our older son, Benjamin, was only six months old. My husband was an active duty Marine, and already scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan. We knew as soon as the pregnancy test came back positive that he wouldn’t be home for the birth. But as a military family, we knew that this was always a possibility, and didn’t stress too much about it. At about 12 weeks pregnant, my nuchal translucency test came back positive for Down syndrome. I decided to have the amnio done, because I wanted to know. I wanted to have time to prepare myself, and I also knew it would mean that our doctors would be able to monitor us better if they knew what to look for. Matt deployed to Afghanistan when I was about 15 weeks pregnant; I had the amnio done without him two days later. I got the results back three days after that: male, positive for Trisomy 21. I had to get the news alone, grieve alone, cry alone. It was one of the hardest times of my life, and I didn’t have the one person there that I needed the most. But knowing beforehand meant that I had time to accept the diagnosis, which I eventually did. When Wyatt was born, I was thrilled and happy and 100% ready to love him as he is. Matt was able to Skype into the operating room from Afghanistan.
Three weeks to the day later, Matt came home from Afghanistan and finally met his son for the first time. (That’s the first picture.) He’s been home since then, and Wyatt definitely LOVES his daddy. I wish I could have told myself the joy that Wyatt would bring to our family when we first received the diagnosis, or that he would have the cutest smile ever, or that he and his brother Benjamin would be so adorable together. Down syndrome brings some difficulties with it — it would be a lie to say otherwise — but for the most part, Wyatt is just a normal toddler… a toddler who really, really likes attention, and loves to be tossed in the air by his dad!
The second picture is of Wyatt and his dad now. I love this picture of the two of them together. I think their smiles say a lot more than I can.
Cassy Fiano Chesser
Thanks, Cassy! (And Matt, thanks for your service!! You guys make America great.)