2018 The Arc of Jefferson & Clearfield Counties
36 Hoover Avenue
DuBois, PA 15801

A Gift From Zach

MISSION

To celebrate every child in Jefferson and Clearfield Counties born with Down Syndrome and congratulate their family with gifts, support and resources.

THE JOURNEY TO ZACH'S BASKET

My journey began with a single phone call when I was 22 weeks pregnant. A phone call that I never expected or ever thought I wanted.  “Your MaterniT21 test came back positive for Trisomy 21, it’s Down syndrome.”  I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t want to believe it! I spent 22 weeks creating this perfect baby boy in my mind and in the matter of minutes he was taken away from me. I cried and cried and then cried a little more. I would spend day and night worrying about the “unknowns” and “what ifs”. I started to doubt myself, Can I do this? Am I strong enough to be his mom? Will I be able to fall in love with him? I wasn’t having a baby anymore, I was having a baby with Down syndrome. I focused so much on the Down syndrome that I lost the little joys of being pregnant. Hours before receiving that phone call I bought fabric to make Zach a quilt. I never made that quilt because I thought it didn’t matter anymore. I purchased the book,”Diagnosis to Delivery: A Pregnant Mother’s Guide to Down syndrome” and it was a life-saver. I kept it on my nightstand and referred to it daily. I finally felt like all of my thoughts and feelings were justified. I now understood why I had to go through the Grieving Process (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance). I know I probably stayed in some stages for too long, but I could never get to acceptance. I tried so hard to make myself accept it, but I couldn’t.

 It wasn’t until February 19th, 2014 at 10:01pm when the physician put Zach on my chest that it happened. I took one look at his face and I knew he had Down syndrome and I fell deeply in love with him. All of the “unknowns” and "what ifs” were lifted away. I knew I could do this, I knew I was strong enough to be his mom. He was PERFECT! He had 10 fingers and 10 toes, he cried like a “normal” baby, he ate like a “normal” baby, he even pooped and peed like a “normal" baby. I’m not sure why I thought he wouldn’t look or act like a newborn.

 I wish I could go back in time to the day I received that phone call. I wish I could have told myself to take to just take a deep breath because everything was going to be okay. I wish I could have told myself the best was yet to come. That it was okay to cry, but not to focus on the Down syndrome. I wish I could have enjoyed my pregnancy. This is why I created “A Gift from Zach”. I understand how hard it is to receive a Down syndrome diagnosis prenatally or at birth. I don’t want any family to feel like they are alone.  The prenatal basket is filled with items that helped me through my pregnancy and it also has items that I wish I would have had. I regret not enjoying pregnancy just because Zach had Down syndrome.  The delivery basket is filled with items to help families celebrate the birth of their PERFECT baby. This is a journey I never knew I wanted and now I cannot image our life without that one little extra chromosome.

PRENATAL BASKETS

Each prenatal basket contains a personalized letter that explains how our journey began and the inspiration behind "A Gift from Zach." With all of the "what ifs" and "unknowns" it is easy to lose sight of the joys of being pregnant. In this basket we have placed items to help you celebrate your pregnancy, such as a frame for your 1st sonogram picture. The book, "Diagnosis to Deliver",  will prepare you for the journey throughout your pregnancy. The book "Unexpected" is filled with stories about multiple families who also received the diagnosis of Down syndrome, and the beauty of their journey. Also placed in the prenatal basket is " The Belly Book" which will help you keep a week by week journal of your entire pregnancy, to remind you of the small things about being pregnant that we often forget.

DELIVERY BASKETS

Each delivery basket contains a personalized letter that explains our journey. The books Unexpected and Babies with Down Syndrome. A Down Right Perfect oneies and quilt because you baby is PERFECT! A picture frame for your 1st family photo. Zach's favorite toy and monthly stickers to watch your baby grow. We want to support and encourage families on this new, unexpected journey. 

REQUEST A BASKET

Are you or do you know someone who is  living in Jefferson or Clearfield County who MaterniT21 test came back positive for Trisomy 21, or someone who had delivered a newborn recently. Please contact sarah_walker74@yahoo.com