Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Luke makes 3

When Matt and I were going through premarital counseling with our pastor, one of the questions we were asked was how many children we wanted to have.  In separate rooms we each answered 3.  Well at least we agreed on that!  We also agreed that we didn't want children any time soon.  We were both 21 years old and still in college.  We had so much time and didn't even think about having children for the first several years of our marriage.  Finally one day in August of 2005 we looked at each other and decided that it was time to start thinking about it. . . 9 months later Gwenyth Kay graced our lives!  What a beautifully easy baby she was.  Calm and content and the center of our lives.  :)  Two years later it was time again and Colin Martin joined our family.  This time it was not as blissful.  Colin was fussy and had colic.  He didn't sleep well and proved to be a difficult baby and toddler.  Still we loved him and hugged him and told ourselves it would pass . . . (that will be a post for a different day!)

When it came time to decide about a third child I have to admit it wasn't as easy as it seemed at our counseling sessions before we were married.  We were pretty sure we wanted another child, but after you have children you realize the amount of work that is involved!  We decided if were going to do it - the sooner the better!

I took the pregnancy test the morning after we moved all of our belongings to Decorah.  The house was full of unopened boxes and Matt was leaving in a few days to finish up the last two months of residency in Mason City while I stayed in Decorah with Gwen and Colin to get the house in order. . .  I didn't quite hold up my end of that arrangement!

Baby #3 was on the way and we were so excited!

4 weeks pregnant at our new house

Luke makes 3!
2 dinosaurs and a fairy  :)

Now I'm going to get into a subject that may be a bit sensitive for some people. 
Just because I was happy NOT having the AFP test doesn't mean that every family functions that way.  I want to share our experience with it because we were surprised at how we felt after Luke's postnatal diagnoses, knowing that we could have potentially found out earlier.

We had the AFP test done with our first two pregnancies.  "To be prepared" we had said each time.  This time it was different.  We had no insurance and the window of opportunity for the AFP fell while we were between Matt's jobs.  No big deal.  I was only 29.  I didn't even really think about it until after Luke was born.  One of the biggest realizations I came to after Luke's birth was that being uninsured for those 3 months was a gift from God.  I am SO incredibly happy we didn't know about the Trisomy 21 until after Luke was born.  We never would have considered ending the pregnancy (like 90-94% of people who get a prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome do.)  I think I would have just been stressed out wondering what our son would be like.  Instead, when we were told Luke had Down syndrome, we were holding him in our arms and looking at the beautiful face of our son. (more about that moment and day on another post)

It is a very personal decision whether or not you choose to have prenatal testing done.  I told myself I would want to know, be prepared, do my research, get the kids ready, plan for the future.  I really thought I would want to know.  What I didn't realize is that you can't diagnose a child.  You can diagnose an illness or a syndrome.  No one could "diagnose" Luke's amazing blue eyes or his blond mohawk.  No one could "diagnose" how he looks at me while he is nursing with the sweetest eyes - full of love. No one could "diagnose" how he kicks and get excited every time he hears his brother or sister talk or how content he is to sleep on his Daddy's chest.  And no one can "diagnose" what his future will be like.  I wish they could tell you those things when you get the results back from an AFP test or even before you decide to have one - but they can't.  An AFP test couldn't have prepared us for raising Luke.
Luke is going to La Crosse tomorrow for a 2nd echocardiogram.  His first echo, done at 24 hours after birth, came back looking great and no complications are expected, but please keep Luke in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow.


  1. I think you may have to retract your "I'm not a writer" statement. Beautiful, Claire. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Absolutely beautiful Claire. Brought tears to my eyes. Best of luck at Luke's appointment - we will be sending prayers your way. Much love to you all, Ann

  3. I had goosebumps the whole way through. God bless your beautiful family, Claire!

  4. Definitely shouldn't have read this at work :) I also had tears in my eyes!

  5. Claire, I had no idea that he was diagnosed. He is absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful blessing to your family. Wishing you the best at the cardiologist tomorrow (that's our territory :)

  6. Claire, thanks so much for your beautiful words. I think you express what so many families feel. I'm so lucky to know you!

  7. '. . .you can't diagnose a child.'
    I love this.


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