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I have a beautiful granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. She has enough challenges to face in her life and I want to make sure that finding appropriately fitting clothes will not be one of them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Special Angel

My first experience with Down syndrome didn’t begin with Maggie.  It really began on September 17, 2002, when my daughter gave birth to her premature twins, Bridget and Brendan.  They were about 3 months early and were very tiny.  Bridget only weighed 3 pounds and, unbelievably, didn’t need any life support; but Brendan was not so lucky.  He was even smaller yet, weighing only 2 pounds, but had to be intubated immediately.  Brendan also had Down syndrome. 

As Bridget grew and got stronger, Brendan struggled for life.  He remained in the NICU on life support for weeks and went through some very traumatic times.  Bridget continued to thrive and came home from the hospital but little Brendan had to stay behind.  By January, he was finally released from the hospital but still remained on oxygen.  He was the most beautiful child and, somehow, always managed to find a smile. 

Our family did all we could to help my daughter and her husband.  Even my parents, who were in their late 70’s, were amazing.  I remember how they spent every day at the hospital sitting in the waiting room after Bridget was released.  My dad would hold Bridget for hours while my daughter would tend to Brendan.  She also had two other children at home that needed her attention but was the most amazing mother to all of her children that I had ever seen.  My son-in-law's love and devotion for his family cannot be compared: and even though he was a busy physician, his family always came first.  The times were very difficult for all of us, but for my daughter and son-in-law, I just don’t know how they did it!  I believe their strong faith in God held them together during these exhausting and worrisome times.

We thought things would get better once Brendan got home, but his time at home would be short lived.  His lungs were very weak and a sniffle from a sibling would soon turn into pneumonia and he would be back in intensive care.  This went on for months and on June 1, 2003, he lost his battle for life.  Our family was devastated to say the least.  This is very painful for me talk about even now, but I feel that without knowing about Brendan, my story is not complete. 

My amazing daughter and her husband did not let Brendan’s life pass without giving his life an even bigger purpose.  Two years later they adopted a child with Down syndrome.  Maggie is that special child who was blessed to be given two of the most wonderful parents any child could ever have.  She was born March 29, 2005, and they brought her home just a few days later.  From the moment I held her in my arms, my heart began to heal.  My love for her was instant and she has continued to bring us so much joy that words cannot express.

All the wonderful things that have happened since I began my journey with Downs Designs are because I have a guardian angel watching over me.  I know there have been no coincidences and I could never have planned for things to work out so well.  It seems that whenever I have a problem, there is an immediate solution.  If I need to know something, the answer finds its way.  If I need help with something, just the right person comes along.

Brendan was only here for a short time, but he touched our lives in so many ways.  I think he will continue to touch many more lives as he watches over me during my efforts to build this business.  At age 62, most people are thinking about retiring but I feel that I've just begun my true life's purpose.  With a little help from my special angel, I hope to continue to find a way to develop this clothing line for people with Down syndrome.  Little Maggie faces many challenges in her life ahead, I hope that as she grows up, her wardrobe won't be one of them.

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