Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Help Us Reach Our Goal ~ Buddy Walk 2012 Update

Help Us Reach Our Goal

Buddy Walk 2012!

Dear Friends and Family,

This year on November 4th, we will be coming together as family and friends to complete our first ever "Buddy Walk" to raise awareness for Down syndrome. We have an amazing one year old in our lives who deserves ou
r attention and focus, I think you will ALL agree! Connor and our family, rely on the support of many different agencies in the community. They focus on his Physical, Developmental and overall well being. The Down Syndrome Association of York Region, is one of those agencies. They plan activities, support groups, educational opportunities and many more programs designed to assist families. People with Ds deserve our attention, Connor NEEDS our attention and every participant helps to promote the importance of equitable opportunities for them.

So, you are probably can I participate? Read on to find out more!!!

How can you help?
- You can join "Team Connor" on Sunday, November 4th and walk with us on our 1 or 2 km trek. Please message me if you are interested.
- You can donate towards our team goal. Donations can be made via email money transfer to I will send you a confirmation once i receive it. or you can mail a cheque to me me for my address.
- You can donate prizing for our raffle event on that day. If you would like to do so please contact me at ""

Our Team Goal:
- To raise $1000 towards this cause
- To support Down syndrome through awareness and raising funds to support ongoing programs that greatly help.
* All funds raised will go to DSAYR and CDSS
* Tax receipts will be provided for donations $10+

About the Buddy Walk:
The Buddy Walk was developed by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to promote awareness of people with Down syndrome.
Buddy Walks are being held simultaneously across Canada in celebration of the National Down Syndrome Awareness Week (November 1st-7th).

Friday, 6 January 2012

From the beginning!

It's Sunday October 9th, 2011 and we are sitting in a small examing room on the 2nd floor of the was just supposed to be a quick check up at the new born clinic appointment to make sure our little guy is doing well. I know in my heart what is coming, but I am trying to hold onto some hope.. but now I am crying so hard and Mark is holding my hand, and with the Doctor kneeling in front of us he says the words "your son has Down Syndrome".  I immediately burst into tears and latch onto Connor..not my boy, oh god why...and then the flood of sorrow and worry sets in.  He then continues and on to say that our son is also dehydrated and has Jaundice and will require a stay in the hospital.  My heart is now so heavy that it feels like it might fall out of my chest. My little boy, the one I dreamed of having for so long was sick and would not live like a normal child. I am holding Connor so tightly and my tears are dropping onto his tiny head full of hair, what will be of this boy? These next few days were some of my darkest hours...but a ray of shine is on the way.

It's 5am, February 12th and I am standing in the bathroom debating whether or not I should take this pregnancy test...I mean could I really be pregnant? I decide to do it anyway, I can barely see through my cloudy contacts but I do it anyway and I am squinting trying to read the results.....OMG I see a plus sign..I grab the box and read it about 30 times it seems...............I'M PREGNANT!  I sit on the toilet and cry with so much joy...finally my dream is coming true and I am having a baby. I wake Mark up and say "you're going to be a Daddy again" he is instantly excited...sleepy but wraps his arms around me and says "you're going to be a great mom"...I fell back asleep with a smile and soo many wonderful thoughts in my head.

It is a textbook healthy pregnancy, despite a previous miscarriage and being a little on the "chubby" side my Dr is quite pleased. I am 38 years old and just blossoming with this baby inside me. I am overjoyed and at every appointment I promptly call my mom and give her an update. The Dr suggests that due to my age it might be a good idea to do a triple screen test, consisting of an ultrasound at 12 weeks, blood test, followed by another blood test at 16 weeks. Mark and I talked it over and decided we wouldn't do it, I mean this was our baby regardless so what good would the tests do.  Then... I had a change of heart. When I think back I believe it was god's way of preparing me for what could be...the unexpected.

It's May and Mark and I are planning a cruise to the south...ahhh Bahamas, Turks and Caicos how wonderful and we could really use the time away. I am busily getting packed and ready to go and then comes the phone call from the doctor. We need you to come in as we have some of your results back from the screening.  It is 2 days before out trip and I am sitting in the DR's office and she is telling me that my screening came back 1/8 risk factor for Trisomy 21. She looks uncomfortable and I can tell she wants to be positive but say's we should probably go see a genetisis at the hospital for further testing i.e. amnio.  She gives me a moment in the room and I call Mark from the examing room....I am crying and he says "we will deal with whatever it is, don't worry ok I love you".  He always seems to know how to calm me down. He also says he wants no further testing. I leave and go back to work..sitting at my desk weighing my options.  What if I have an amnio and it's positive for DS? What would I do?. I thought over night and the next morning I didn't go to the genetics appointment and I called my Doctor and said I don't want further testing, BUT I do want to know if the baby was ok.  We decided on a level 2 ultrasound that would be performed at a very reputable Doctor's office in Toronto.

I am 20 weeks now and we are watching our now formed baby in my belly. It was a looong ultrasound but in the end everything was great, and no soft markers for DS not is just perfect :)  I am elated and it's all I care I can relax.  The rest of my pregnancy was enjoyable, watching my belly move while he kicked and having no morning sickness I was able to just take it all in.  A good friend of mine is also expecting and we had fun often messaging each other daily for our check ins. I was due October 14th, we have no idea on the sex, it will be a complete surprise life is wonderful!

After 38 weeks and a couple days...our little boy decided it was time to join the world. Into the welcoming arms of his Nanny, Aunt and Uncle, Cousins and close friends. I had enjoyed my first day of no work that Monday and then bam water breaks first thing Tuesday morning, second day in.  It was a long delivery process, 24 hours of labour, epidurals, induction, pennicillan (strep B+), more pain meds and 5 cent dialated...Doctor says the words "I think you should consider a c section"......WHAT?? Mark and my best friend helped me to decide what to do...go another while or just bring this baby into the world.........and at 6:58 am, Connor Preston Bruce arrived via csection at 8lbs 3oz, 20 inches long. A perfectly healthy boy, I am elated, never happier and I feel my life is now complete, finally got my wish.

I am completely out of it, but I can hear Connor crying and it was the very first moment I felt that "motherly worry" come out. Is he ok? I cant see him or hold him but man can I hear him...........what a wonderful strong cry.  Mark and I are crying and kinda laughing...another boy! We called Connor -- Chelsea for 9 months LOL. We thought it was a girl.  I will never forget Mark looking at me and saying "thank you for my beautiful son, you were so brave and did so well, I love you".  We are wheeled out of the operating room and into my private room where our close family is waiting..they just want to hold the baby.  He is beautiful and even though physically I am worn out my mind is awake and I am in LOVE with this boy.

It is later in the afternoon and we are resting, the Pediatrician on call comes in to assess baby is perfect I am thinking so this will be quick. The Dr says to me " I did'nt realize you were a high risk factor for Trisomy 21", I am thinking why is that important? The words he starts to say are all jumbled now...something about his muscle tone and his eyes and here it comes..."If I had to guess I would say your son has DS".  He says he has been wrong before but he's pretty sure and we will do a genetics test to confirm. He leaves the room and I am just a mess, I feel like my boy is now sick and I am less of a mom.  The world is crashing around me, he doesn't look like he has DS, even the nurses don't suspect, it must be a mistake...I fall asleep crying but my baby is right beside me and I am not letting him out of my sight.  Family is positive and says " we will love him no matter what" he is our boy and this family will always be here for him.  I had many talks with my mom who simply said "so what" we will figure it out...prepare for him having DS and so if he doesn't then well he doesn't.

As we learned of Connor's diagnosis, those first few days were very lonely, dark and scary. In the hospital for Jaundice, I had to witness my baby having an IV, numerous blood tests, an Echocardiogram, Vision and Hearing tests....I just broke down every chance I got. I cried harder than I have every cried in my life. I remember that last night in the hospital, I looked into Connor's eyes and told him that I would love him no matter what...I hoped that he felt the love deep from within me. I told him I would protect him, love him and give him every chance to be anything he wanted in life. I sang to him, cried with him and most importantly I learned to let go of my expectations and embrace this amazing little soul I brought into the world.  I am a mommy and starting right now I need to suck it up and be happy.  I remember calling my best friend and Connor's God Mom Kelly. Her words I will never forget.  She said "Lisa, you are so lucky to have a baby". That was all I needed to hear. She was right, I am lucky and I am a mom and I have a son and life is going to be OK.  There was a peace that came over me that night in the hospital and from that moment on I made a decision to enjoy my boy.

I am constantly reminded now that things don't always go as planned and that a change in the journey can lead to something unbelievably rewarding.  Connor is just that for me...his diagnosis changed me, it made me realize to let go of expectations, accept that plans change and that there are no guarantees in life. When I look at Connor I see my son, his smile just melts my heart, his determination is incredible and the love I have for him cannot be measured for it runs too deep.  He is my heart, my life and I cannot wait for our journey..may it be healthy and joyful!

Connor has been welcomed by his three loving brothers William, Lawrence and Graham, his Auntie Julie and Uncle Paul, his Nanny Liz and Grandma Mavis, Grandpa Ray, Cousins Jessica and Amanda. If he could write a message to those that love him he would say:

My little hands play patty cake
They peek-a-boo and wave...
They catch me while I learn to roll,
And splash me as I bathe.

They hold your fingers tightly
And touch your heart so deep...
My little hands reach out to you
For hugs before I sleep.

My little hands are tiny now
But yours will serve to guide me.
And when I'm grown I'll still reach out
And know your right beside me.