When I learned my unborn baby had Down syndrome and a hole in the middle of her heart, time stood still. I had a complete break from reality. After an hour of hysterical crying I wasn't sure if the doctor's call had actually happened. And tough times were ahead - feelings of isolation, self-consciousness, insecurity, fear. Pregnancy post-diagnosis is a swirl of emotions. Now, it's like that sad person is a different woman, not me. The fear is gone, and pride has taken its place. The isolation is gone and been replaced by a wonderful Down syndrome community. Self-consciousness has been replaced by an intense need to advocate, insecurity by confidence. Of course there is always stress - but our largest sources are trying to get our oldest to study, and juggling our busy schedules, and making kids go to bed. More importantly, the "diagnosis" has been replaced by my amazing 5 year old daughter Gabby. She has a couple of scars - a long one down her chest and a tiny one on the left side of her nose, reminders that she's had to face some issues. But under that chest scar beats a strong, healthy heart. What makes her most remarkable is not her extra chromosome but her joy in experiencing the world. She has an infectious giggle that inspires her sisters to go to great lengths to amuse her. Learning is not just memorization, but excitement. "Blue!" she might shout or "square!" even if it is the middle of a meeting. And now that she is learning to read, she is so proud of the words she recognizes. "Pretend play" is her best creative outlet, assigning roles to her family as she draws us in. My husband came home one day, looked at me, and said, "You have a crown on your head." I'd forgotten about it and wore it for hours. Best of all, Gabby's bedtime" means that everyone makes sure they get their fair share of good night kisses. While they fight like cats and dogs with each other, my older daughters still vie for Gabby's attention. I was pleased to hear the first full, original sentence from Gabby last month. It did not matter that the actual sentence was, "Mommy, I said NO!" The following week, another stroke of genius resulted in, "Mommy. Come. Here. Now!" Gabby has a mind of her own, a creative, energetic, and unique mind. When I was pregnant, I'm glad I met parents who inspired me to believe that one day I'd be as happy as they were, and I'm very glad that I did find my happy ending. More importantly, I'm glad my Gabby found her happy beginning, because that sparkle in her eye makes everything worth it.