Mark Was Born

… Mark was born. I went into labor three weeks early, without a nursery ready and without any baby lotion on hand. Deep into a surprise labor, I went to Thrifty to get the newborn baby things. No newborn of mine was going to go without baby lotion! Panting in line, the clerk asked me when the baby was due. Soon as you ring this up- so hurry!

Waiting for my husband, Steve at the hospital, the only magazine next to the bed had a cover of ten Down Syndrome teenagers smiling for the camera. It was a crowd of happy teenagers, arms linked in camaraderie, laughing at the photographer. Inside was a list of Down Syndrome facts. Top of the list? “Commonly born three weeks early.” Mark was born at 7lbs 3 ounces. Nice and fat! At the first instant I saw him I suspected Down Syndrome and felt surprisingly comfortable with it. Later, sweet Doctor Wagner brought Mark to us swaddled and clean. In a most loving manner, he began to give us a “tour” of our baby. “Look at these toes, see this wide space between the big toe and the rest of the toes? As long as there were ten toes Steve and I were not impressed! SEE this curve in the little finger? Ahh! Thank heavens there were all ten fingers! See these little ears? Cute as could be! See these elongated eyes? So beautiful! See the long slant of his eyes? Looking back at us was a sleepy newborn. See this straight line across the palm of this hand? Love exploded as I grasped the little hand and it squeezed back.

Dr. Wagner had just gone through the Down syndrome fact checklist from the magazine in the waiting room, and I knew. I watched Steve’s face closely as Dr. Wagner finished his piece…

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About Carmella Miller

I live in Nevada City, CA with my husband Steve. I am a retired 7th and 8th grade English, Art and Drama teacher. I thought it would be fun to share the"Markie Stories" featuring our son Mark Miller, age 24. When a parent hears they have a special needs child, grieving and isolation often follow. Maybe because we finally "got" Mark raised up, that, now we see how funny it was at times. And we definitely know how how proud we are of him and ourselves.
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