My Son Has Down Syndrome

On February 16, 2012, I went to my regular prenatal appointment. It was my first pregnancy and I was 35 weeks and 4 days along. Out of all of my pregnancies, I can say that this was my easiest one. I also was my healthiest and at my most cautious. I started receiving prenatal care at 5 weeks; took my prenatal vitamins every single day; ate tons of fruits and veggies; and I avoided harmful foods such as lunch meats, raw fish, etc. I can truly say that I was one of the most responsible and caring moms already.

Anyway, back to that day on February 16, 2012, I had a slight fever and was not feeling well at all; I was concerned because the baby was not moving much. I had watched tons of YouTube videos and read stories relating to pregnancies and going into labor. I knew that I could very well go to my appointment and have to deliver that day. Therefore, I washed my hair and showered and put a few things together before my appointment. Because I was under the weather, my Daddy took me to my appointment (and yes, I still refer to my parents as Mama and Daddy).

So, I went to the back and told my doctor all that was going on. She sent me to another room to get an ultrasound.  I remember the technician behaving very strangely. Her demeanor alone frightened me. Nevertheless, she assured me that I was fine. She mentioned that the muscle tone of the baby was somewhat low. I had absolutely no clue what that meant. I was sent back to the initial examination room where my doctor told me the same thing. Then she told me that she wanted to deliver my baby. I will be honest; I cannot even remember her explanation. All I can remember was the feeling of not being ready. It was too early. I still had a month of being pregnant left. Luckily, my doctor’s office was inside of the hospital where I would deliver. I came out and told my Daddy that it was time to have the baby.

I remember us walking down the halls and soon entering Labor and Delivery. Someone actually thought that my Daddy was the dad. I called or texted Marcus (I cannot specifically remember which) and my Daddy called my Mama. It seemed like Marcus was there in no time!

Before I knew it, I had delivered my beautiful baby boy by way of cesarean. He cried immediately after the doctors pulled him out. And then, some random older man in the delivery room said “Down Syndrome.” I felt what I thought was my heart shattering. I could not believe it. My doctor was sobbing as I looked down towards her. I could not understand how no one could have known. Especially after all of the prenatal care and the genetic testing was done.

I cried, and cried, and cried some more. All that I could think about was the life that I had planned out for my baby boy. All of the dreams that I had for him were suddenly crushed. I still held on to the hope that the speculations may not hold truth and that the testing would prove otherwise, but days after his birth, my fears were confirmed. My son was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

So, what got me through all of the emotions that I was feeling? Well, it was not a what, but a who. It was my husband, Marcus.  It is hard to put into words, but I will try my best to do so. After I was released from the hospital, Marcus and I were driving somewhere. It was dark outside and we were either on our way home or on our way to visit MJ in the hospital (He stayed in the NICU for eight days). Anyway, as I was expressing all of my fears and disappointments, Marcus spoke wisdom into me. He let me know that MJ can still be great and that he can still accomplish his dreams. He also asked me how many typical people I know actually follow their dreams. MJ may very well be more inclined to do so than the average person. It was then that I realized that the dreams I had for MJ were just that. They were my dreams, not his. I am forever grateful to Marcus for his insight.

With all of my heart, I believe in MJ. He is the son that I never knew I always wanted. This child of mine has blessed me with something that many people will never possess in their lives. I am compassionate and understanding. I am aware of so much more in this world! I am a better person because of him. He has taught me the meaning of parenthood. Being a parent means accepting your child for who they are and loving them unconditionally. Not all people are capable of love like that.

I am not scared for MJ’s future. My main concern is my ability to fulfill my duty as his parent. There will be tremendous obstacles, hurt, heartache, pain, etc. These are things that most people experience. Through it all, I have to be able to teach my children how to push through and continue to focus and work on being the best version of themselves.

My son has Down Syndrome. He is a part of me. He is mine, and I love him with everything within me!

To see more of our family, visit our vlogging channel at Just the Albrights on YouTube!

MJ loves tearing up paper.

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A More In Depth Introduction

 

As many already know and others can assume, I am Ashley Albright. I am the Mama of Just the Albrights. Before I get too deep into posting, I would like to introduce us more thoroughly.

Growing up, my childhood was simply amazing! I grew up with my parents and my younger brother, Quincy, in Memphis, TN. After high school, I left Memphis for Chattanooga. I still remember my first day in Chattanooga. My entire family traveled with me. I cried that night when they left. Later I would come to have three roommates join me, but I was the only one there that night. Chattanooga was okay, but it was nothing like home. I remember calling my mama several times a day, especially in the beginning. Eventually, I placed Chattanooga in my rear view and headed back home.

I started school at the University of Memphis and stayed with my parents. Life was truly good! In 2009, I left for Florence, Italy where I went to school. Over my stay there, I traveled all throughout Europe. I went to so many different cities and countries that I cannot remember them all. Looking back, I really wish that I had kept a better record of my travels.

It was later that year, in October, that I met Marcus! I had come back to the University of Memphis to finish up school. My aunt Beverly’s best friend, Mattie introduced us. She and Marcus worked together. Marcus had already graduated and had an amazing and stable career. We were in totally different places in our lives, but we connected somehow. We would spend hours texting and talking before we actually physically met.

Eventually, we met up. Our first date was at the movies. We saw the movie Black Hair at the Malco Majestic Theater. Marcus and I were the only ones in the theater. After that, the rest was history. Now, I am a 28-year old wife and mama of two boys. We are also expecting our third baby!

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Marcus is 29 years old. He was also born and raised in Memphis, TN. He grew up with his mama in a single parent household. Marcus was also very happy. Sports, particularly basketball was his favorite past time. Although he enjoyed sports and played well, Marcus really excelled in academics! When he was only in the tenth grade, he scored a 27 on the ACT. It was his first and only time taking it. Later, while attending The University of Memphis, he interned for his current employer and had a job waiting on him after graduation. Whenever I need help with anything academically, especially anything involving mathematics, Marcus is my go to person! What is even better is that he is always willing to help me and has never seemed bothered to do so.

Marcus is also the one to who has brought me out of my shell a bit. We are both introverts, but my level of “introvertedness” far surpasses his! He took me to my first concert (because B2K at your high school just does not count LOL) and many others, comedy shows, tons of basketball games and so much more.

Now, for the fun part! It is time to introduce the boys. I guess we will start with the oldest. His name is Marcus Herman Albright, Jr. and we call him MJ for short. MJ is four years old. He is the coolest and most loving kid that I know and has been that way since birth. Marcus and I have not had any behavioral problems with him, which is exactly what we were told by doctors to expect. MJ is so easy going and fun to be around. He does not need others to keep him entertained. He is our big kid so to speak. Currently, MJ’s favorite things are Sesame Street, Elmo, chicken nuggets, baths, swinging, being outdoors, music, and most recently, Mickey Mouse. One of the things that I love most about MJ is that he is 100% genuine. His authenticity cannot be matched. He will let you know how he is feeling and will not conceal it. One of the funniest things that he does now is make it known that he is ready to leave my parents’ house in the afternoon. You should see him running towards the door and dragging me along with him.

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Our second son, Ashton Jordan Albright, is definitely our little firecracker, to say the least. He is playful, talkative, expressive, and more than anything, dramatic. I am pretty sure that there is a stage or screen in his future. When Ashton was younger, he would throw these temper tantrums. Tantrums so bad, that I thought about seeking a child psychologist. Marcus and I went to his pediatrician and he gave us some tips. One of the tips was to start putting Ashton in time out. So, during one tantrum, we placed him in his room and inside of his crib. As we were watching him on the monitor, Marcus had to race to his room because he was climbing over and out of his crib. Thank goodness that those days are pretty sparse now.

One of the biggest characteristics Ashton has is his drive and somewhat need to be seen. You will never walk away from him and forget who he is. I always say that his theme song is “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” He will make you love him.

Ashton’s favorite things right now are Mickey Mouse, Ninja Turtles, Legos, toy cars, trucks, and trains and his Kindle.

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As for the new baby, I have not clue what it’s sex is, but Marcus does. He also told his mom what we are expecting. I can say that this baby has been the most active in the womb out of the three. I have been looking at nothing but girl names, but it is time that I start looking at some boy names as well. The baby is due to arrive October 7 and I am beyond excited!

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So, this has been a little more about Just the Albrights! I am hoping that you guys have enjoyed getting to know us and feel more connected than before.

Sometimes, I Want That Old Thing Back!

Seven months ago I was a stay at home mom and house wife. My life consisted of taking my boys to their schools/programs, going to the park, cooking, cleaning and running errands. Unlike many other women and men in my position, I was left feeling very unfulfilled. Now that I am a working mom, I can clearly see why I was left with such feelings. Most of the people in my life did not respect my position. To these individuals, I was simply not working. When you give your all to taking care of a family and it goes unacknowledged, especially by the ones that you love, it is simply heartbreaking and even damaging to the soul.
Another reason that I was left unfulfilled is because I was ungrateful. I did not know how well that I had it and how grateful I should have been. Hindsight truly is 20/20. I feel so blessed to have spent some of my boys’ most precious moments right by their side. I never had to wonder how they were being treated because I was there. They never had to want for love and attention at any given moment because I was there at every moment; morning, noon, and night. What appeared to be a burden before was in actuality, nothing short of one of my greatest blessings. Sometimes I just have to give thanks, even now, as I am eternally grateful to the Lord above.
Now that I am no longer home with my children, I am always so torn. It has been seven months and my heart still aches a little when they beg me to stay and I cannot. Everything seems so rushed. There is no reading two or three bedtime stories anymore. There is barely any tucking in on my part. For months I worked until 11:30 p.m. I would not even see my children at night. Sometimes I would not see my oldest son for an entire day. My beloved family movie night definitely ceases to exist.
I can say with an honest heart that I truly miss my old life. Always being there and never having to wonder about the well-being of my children is something that I cherish. One thing that weakens the worry monster in my mind is my Mama and the fact that she is retiring. She has always been my best friend and I trust her whole-heartedly with my children. My Mama has agreed to care for them while I work. She without a doubt loves and enjoys spending time with them. She and my Daddy do. Even so, I still have concerns about leaving my brand new baby that is due this October 7th. Is six weeks even enough? I cannot imagine leaving my baby. And then there is breastfeeding, which I am a huge advocate for. I breast fed my last son until this February. He survived his first year of life by consuming 99% of breast milk. Food was just for play. If I stay at my current job, I will surely have to pump several times a day. I pumped with my first son and it did not last long. Pumping is exhausting!
So, given all that I have said, what do I want? Despite the priceless advantages of being a stay at home mom, I cannot say with certainty that I will ever go back. Through working, I have gained a sense of independence and responsibility, which I did not have before. Also, instead of all of the financial responsibilities being on one person, they can be shared. This can only bring positivity to the marriage and family over time. I am sure that all of the weight can be stressful on one spouse and eventually lead to them lashing and acting out.
My dream is to work from home, on my own time. I love to write, so I am hoping that that is an option; that or conducting some type of research. I also want to become more serious about my crochet shop. I am hoping to be writing and selling patterns in the near future.
I know that in order to accomplish these and any other goals, I have to remain hopeful. Only time will tell.

Just the Albrights

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Hello World! Welcome to Just the Albrights. My name is Ashley and I am so excited to be starting a blog about my family and I! We are currently a family of four with one new addition on the way. My husband’s name is Marcus and we have two boys, M.J. (Marcus Jr.) and Ashton.

Not only am I excited about connecting with and reaching out to other people, I am even more enthused to create something that my family and I can look back on for years to come. That is one of the reasons that I turned my YouTube channel into Just the Albrights. I am so happy that I made that decision because even now, I look back on videos and reminisce.

As I stated before, welcome! Welcome to me and my family’s crazy, fun, and loving lives.I hope that you enjoy every bit of it and are here to stay!

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