One of the first major principles that I learned in the first few weeks of being Hayden's mom was what it means to be perfect. I mean, here we were bringing home from the hospital what the world would call a "disabled" child, a "defective" baby. (I would later learn that 90% of all babies identified, either correctly or incorrectly, in utero as having Trisomy 21 are aborted). He had this thing called DOWN syndrome for crying out loud! He was different than all the other babies in the newborn nursery. The doctors had to determine "what was wrong with him" from the minute he was born and when his characteristics matched enough, he was given the label of Down syndrome (a few days later a blood test called a keratype would confirm that). All of these terms and defnitions floated around in my head as I had him home with me spending HOURS gazing into his amazing little face. I searched for what was "wrong" with him but couldn't find much. Sure, we were concerned about him being on oxygen, even though the valve on the tank only needed to be barely open for him to saturate at 99% or above, and we wanted to know how long that was going to last, but other than that, I just couldn't see what was "wrong" with our new baby.
So what does the word perfect mean anyway? Everybody always talks about bringing home a "perfectly healthy baby boy or girl", but what does that REALLY mean? I had grown up with the phrase "God doesn't make junk" and there's that verse in Psalm 139 where David is talking about how God had known his innermost parts since he was in his mother's womb, so the idea that God was the Creator and Divine Inspiration for each and everyone of us wasn't foreign to me. But clearly not everyone was on board with the philosophy that God was THE designer of each of us because people everywhere, and certainly in religious circles, were VERY upset, sad, and even grief stricken when any baby was born with something "wrong" with it, something like DOWN SYNDROME. And I wanted a quick answer to have for those people who were in anyway going to feel sorry for us as parents, or for Hayden.
I learned that "perfect" essentially means "complete". It's a Greek word that Aristotle used to describe something that had attained its purpose, it was complete in and of itself, and something so good that nothing of the kind could be better. I immediately felt FREE. I knew Hayden was perfect! Yep, he had an extra chromosome (and I had made it my mission to read everything ever written on the subject, even going to the......get this: THE LIBRARY. A building that house millions upon million pieces of paper with information typed on them. Hayden's SO old that I had to search by hand periodicals (magazines) for articles on Down syndrome. Ya, I was that thirsty for knowledge!), and for sure his little body was floppy, but he was COMPLETE. He was exactly how God designed him to be. Whew
Knowing Hayden was perfect just the way he was born completely changed the lense through which I saw (and see) the entire world. Yep, Hayden was born with extra genetic material (along with thousands of other people). Yep, some things in life might be harder for him to master because of that extra chromosome, maybe some things he would never be able to do, only time would tell. But for now, my perfect baby was perfectly happy and content in my arms. Thank you Hayden for teaching me about perfection and so much more!!