October 8, 2014

The Darkest Days: “I Want Everyone to Know He’s My Son” {Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis}

Receiving a Down Syndrome Diagnosis

This is the third part of a series about finding out our unborn son has Down syndrome through an abnormal ultrasound and a Harmony blood test.  I wrote throughout the month and have kept every piece in tact so that it may help someone going through the same thing. Read part 1 here and Part 2 here.  Please note that these were my feelings at the time of receiving the news.  Everyone grieves and processes life-altering news in different ways. Any hurtful or judgmental comments will be deleted.

I was trying to think of a good opening line to start this post, but I’m just going to call it like it is: 2014 has been hell. Between moving to the middle of nowhere to getting this unexpected diagnosis, it’s been an emotional pit and at certain low times it seems as if there’s no end in sight. With how heartbreaking the past few months have been, I think it’s necessary to reflect on how wonderful my life actually is; in particular, how great of a man my husband is.

Let me take you back to Andy’s High School years. I like to tease him about not only being Captain of the Football Team  and Homecoming King, but also being voted “Best All Around”.  He says that he “peaked early” which is far from the truth, but it makes me laugh.

Andy in High School…pretty dreamy!

 Andy’s mom, Debbie, told me that once Andy was in college, she would run into kids from his high school class who weren’t part of the cool crowd and they would stop her. They would stop her just to tell her how much they appreciated Andy taking time to get to know them and how special he made them feel. When Andy and I were dating, Debbie told me a story about how some guys on Andy’s football team were making fun of a kid. He was small, different and had an odd voice. Some of Andy’s team members started calling the kid “Aflac” like the duck on the insurance commercials because of his voice. Andy wouldn’t stand for it and put a stop to it. That’s the thing about Andy, he’s as sweet as pie, but he can be absolutely fierce when he knows he’s right.

Even today, the only time I’ve ever really seen him come home angry, has been because someone at school or at work has tried to make a classmate or co-worker feel like less of a person. My husband has SO many wonderful qualities and recently I’ve been reminded of one of his best: he is a protector.

As we began breaking the news to family and friends, something odd happened. We started learning that people, who we have known for years, have siblings or close relatives with Down Syndrome. It really bothered Andy. He didn’t understand why he was just hearing about these relatives now. Why were they omitted from all of the stories he had heard? Andy got really emotional talking about it. He refused to let our son be invisible, he turned to me and said, “I want everyone to know he’s my son.”

Talk about melting and breaking your wife’s heart at the same time. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve this man, but I’m so grateful that God chose me to be his wife.

And so we have a name. We tossed it around our last pregnancy, but we were originally leaning a different direction this second time around. Our son’s name is Anderson, “son of Andrew”. It’s also the last name of Andy’s great-grandfather (another kind soul) and it’s who Andy is named after.   I think it is perfect. We may call him “Sonny” for short, which if he’s anything like his Dad, will fit his happy personality. I hope he’s like his dad. I hope all of my children are. We need more Andy Benfields in this world.

To my southern lady friends, don’t go breaking out your monogramming machines just yet!  Since we know he has Down Syndrome right now (he has been diagnosed and I will write about this later) as I mentioned before we are still praying for healing.  We know God is capable of all things, including miracles and if he chooses to heal our son before he enters this world, we may decide to come up with a name that reflects that great miracle.

The Darkest Days, Receiving a Down Syndrome Diagnosis

Read part 1 here and Part 2 here


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11 thoughts on “The Darkest Days: “I Want Everyone to Know He’s My Son” {Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis}”

  1. Your love for one another is a beautiful reflection of God’s love for you both. Until I met my husband I wasn’t quite sure that everything happens for a reason. Now I am certain. Our marriage has given me the ability to see why things happen, not always but often. I pray your son is a miracle and does not have down syndrome, not for any other reason than I know it will make things difficult. However, YOU Jill can have such an impact on this world and be a crusader for those with Down Syndrome. You are beautiful both inside and out, you are an eloquent writer and you have passion. There is no doubt in my mind that you will handle this with grace as you have always seemed to handle everything else. Grace doesn’t mean you don’t cry or maybe even yell sometimes – to me GRACE means when it comes down to it, you not only hold your head high and get through it, but you inspire others when they see you doing it. Jill, I have always admired you and since our lives seem so parallel (news to military wife) I feel such a strong connection when I read your posts. I know you have a million people to turn to but If you ever need anything please don’t hesitate to call- you have my number! -Erica

    1. Erica, Thank you so much for all of your kind and empowering words. They give me so much strength! Thank you.

  2. I love this so much. I’m terrible with words, so I have to just say it again… I love this so much! Also, I love you guys. All four of you. :) I hope your package has been delivered!

    1. Manda, thank you for your love! We love you too! No, I haven’t received a package, but I will be looking for it! How nice of you. I love, love, love you!

  3. Hi Jillian,

    I wanted to let you know that I am enjoying reading your blogging series. While I know the circumstances aren’t what you would want to be writing about, I love the strength and compassion you are showing by sharing your story. I am praying for God to heal your miracle along the way. I love the name you picked for your son and the thought that went into it. And I must say, I knew Andy in High School through Church. We weren’t friends, but he always showed kindness and respect to anyone he came across. Don’t put yourself down so easily though… I’ve never met you, but if I can tell from your writing, you absolutely deserve him and he is lucky to have such a strong wife with a faithful passion. I wish your little family of four all the best!


    1. Kacie,

      Thank you for reaching out! I love his name, too. Thank you for your kind words, I know you put so much thought into them. They mean so much to me. Thank you!

  4. Your son will be perfect and loved so much..you two are awesome people and parents..God bless you all

  5. Please continue to share your story. I am so proud I know Andy! You most certainly deserve him and together you both are inspiring and encouraging others. thank you.

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