Tell us your story.
@kensleyklausner | Instagram
Luke and I got married in 2019 and had planned to wait 3 years before trying for a baby. After almost a year of marriage, we decided to break those plans.
We drive to Birmingham, AL often to see family and have our best talks on those drives. We always imagined having a baby boy. We imagined him playing soccer and we always joked about being those crazy fun parents drinking margaritas at the games. So in May when I found out I was pregnant, we were absolutely ecstatic.
When I was 22 weeks pregnant we found out our baby boy would have Down Syndrome. We were thrown the toughest decision of our life and had 2 weeks to make a decision on if we would continue with the pregnancy. Luke and I made a joint decision that if Beckham could live a full life with no major health issues, it was a no brainer! We were going to be the best parents we could be to this child, Down Syndrome and all! We got affirmation at Beckham’s cardiology appointment when they confirmed no severe heart issues. I vividly remember the doctor saying “he could even play soccer one day.” We really didn’t look back from that point on.
Tell us about the table discussion.
The day we got the phone call that my amniocentesis came back positive for Trisomy 21 (that’s the medical term for Down Syndrome) we had our parents come over to our new house. My dad had just built us a custom kitchen table and I remember we all sat around it, mainly in silence and tears. The one thing that sticks out to me about that day is something my dad said. My dad is a pretty biblical person and expressed his beliefs that special needs children have an automatic way into heaven. I remember him saying “God doesn’t just give these children to anyone.” For us, those words were very reassuring. We felt like we were meant for this job… even if it wasn’t what we really had in mind for our life.
It’s pretty cool to sit around that same table now but with Beckham sitting with us. At that table, we went from the darkest moment of our life to the happiest.
How did you handle the initial diagnosis?
I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I cried for almost a week straight. I called work and told them I needed two weeks off and left my explanation pretty brief. Luke and I only told our parents what we were going through. We wanted this to be our decision with no one else’s input or opinion. I also didn’t want people to feel sorry for us or for my phone to blow up with messages. I just wanted Luke and I to lean on each other and that’s exactly what we did. Like I said… we had 5 extremely dark days. Luke and I made a promise to each other that no matter how bad the thoughts we were having, we would say it aloud to each other. I remember telling Luke “I promise whatever thought or feeling you’re having… I’ve already had it.” We were always on the same page!
I tell this story in my blog but it’s one of my favorites so I’ll tell it again..
On the 5th or 6th day after we received Beckham’s diagnoses it was by far my worst day. Luke had to go back to work for half a day so I sat at home all morning alone. It was the first moment Luke and I were apart. I remember hiding under the covers all day crying and praying to God to take away this diagnosis or send me a sign on what to do. Luke got off work early and asked me if I wanted to go get lunch. I hadn’t left the house in so long that it felt good to get out. Luke and I went to lunch at a random burger diner down the street. At first we sat in silence and tried our best to eat. Luke eventually spoke and started the conversation with a witty joke (I would give anything to remember what it was) but we both bursted out into a belly laugh. It was the first time we had laughed in days! Luke and I finished lunch that day and were in such better spirits. That’s the day we decided that If Beckham could live a life worth living, that’s what we would give him.
I’ve actually never told anyone this before. Before I tell this story, I first want to point out that I had been praying to God for a sign on what to do… I mean I felt like I was praying every second of every day. Luke and I had just moved into our new house the exact same week we got Beckham’s diagnosis. We were on our way to Target to run in and grab a few things we had previously ordered online. There was an old beat up car directly in front of us pulling into the same shopping center. I immediately noticed their bumper sticker… it read “God chooses life.” It’s not like this car had several bumper stickers with wacky quotes. There was just this ONE bumper sticker right smack in front of our faces. I remember tapping Luke to get his attention but he was already locked in on it as well. I may sound completely insane but I still to this day think that was a sign from God answering my prayers.
How did you come up with the blog name “Stop and Smell the Roses?”
During our round table discussion, Luke’s mom told us she had read a story about a mom describing life with a child with Down syndrome. She explained her experience as a typical person walks out the front door and bypasses all that life has to offer… but her child stops and smells the roses, waves and hugs the neighbor, jumps through the water puddles. That stuck out to me. Luke and I have always been “stop and smell the roses” type of people and now we get to do it with Beckham. When we got Beckham’s diagnosis, I wanted a way to share it with the world. I made a blog called “Stop + Smell the Roses.” It has mainly been my outlet but also my way to help advocate and be there for other mothers. I hope my blog helps moms with their child’s newly found diagnosis. I try not to blog just to increase my blog views. I blog when I truly have something to say…
Tell us what you love about Beckham right now, the age he is and a day in the life of Beckham.
Oh man… Beckham is the greatest! When we found out Beckham would have Down Syndrome, I remember being upset because I thought he wouldn’t look like us. He looks so much like Luke and me both… mainly me! He has the coolest personality! Hilarious, always smiling, and so chill. He has a mixture of mine and Luke’s personality with his own little quirks. We truly couldn’t ask for a better baby! There’s some challenges… Beckham has therapy twice a week and soon we will add on speech therapy. With Down Syndrome, they are monitored a lot more closely due to health conditions that come along with the diagnosis so we visit the doctor quite often! I have to hold my breath each time because there’s some scary diagnosis that runs in hand with Down syndrome.
This is a super fun age. Beckham is meeting the majority of his milestones. He is definitely behind but we take one day at a time and celebrate every single victory! He is doing so much better than I could have ever expected. He is so motivated and works so hard until he reaches whatever milestone he’s aiming for. He’s changed our lives for the better! He has taught us to slow down and enjoy life a lot more. Life with Beckham is just simply fun!!
Children and infants are not unlike our adult selves. We all get anxious in traffic or crowded, noisy restaurants. Whether we are in a high-end spa or it’s nap-time at preschool, soothing sounds, soft lighting and comforting smells help us relax. Science has proven our surroundings affect not just our mood, but also our concentration and our health.
Enjoy splendid views of our True Traditional crib alongside inspiring family moments featuring The Elephant Organics cozy holiday pajamas!