I'm Excited They Have Down Syndrome!
This morning Greg, my husband, asked me what my reaction would be if we found out one of our siblings or close friends had a baby with Down syndrome. I immediately said "How exciting!" He laughed and said that would be his same reaction. This sounds so strange to say because Down syndrome is a different journey than the typical one you dream of but the idea of sharing this experience with someone close to us sounds special.
|Ada at parent tot class|
Right after Ada's 20 week ultrasound in the womb we were told that Ada had a thickened nuchal fold which is extra skin at the back of the neck. Because of this, they wanted to do some blood tests to see what the chances of her having Down syndrome was. I was told that babies with Down syndrome needed to be monitored more closely for heart compilcations and some are born stillborn. She just had to mention stillborn and I wanted to take the blood test to make sure they were keeping a close eye. The test came back positive and the doctor informed me it was highly likely Ada would have Down syndrome.
My Friend Shannon
Rewind a couple of years where I met my friend Shannon on a play date at the zoo. I went to meet my friend Andrea who brought Shannon and her son along. My first impression of Shannon was that she was a smiler. I love smilers! I was pregnant at the time and a few months later saw Shannon and Andrea at a wine tasting party where we found all three of us were pregnant. Quite the wine tasting party with all the pregnant ladies! All three of us ended up being pregnant with girls!
June, my middle daughter, was born first and it was at birth that we realized June had a hearing loss like her cousins. Those first months were a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how deaf June was and what we could do to help her. Shortly after, Peyton, Shannon's daughter was born and we found out she had Down syndrome and a possible hearing loss. Shannon's family had moved to North Carolina so I connected with her on Facebook and let her know that if she needed any help with hearing loss information I could be of help. I had been to a conference and hearing loss was in our family so I knew a thing or two. We chatted a few times and I remember just liking her.
Now back to hearing Ada may have Down syndrome. Shannon was the first person I contacted. I messaged her and asked her what we should do. Should we tell people? Was there anything special we should be doing to help if Ada did have Down syndrome? Shannon was so great at giving me advice and keeping things positive so life didn't become overwhelming.
My Friend Jocelyn
A year before, Ada was born, I had heard of an acquaintance who had a daughter with Down syndrome. His name was Chris. So when we were at a party our family had attended, while I was pregnant with Ada, I saw Chris walk in with his daughter Julia. I immediately felt peace and a thought came into my head that we would be friends. I have to believe this was from God.
When Ada was born, Chris, was the first person who had a child with Down syndrome reach out to us. He immediately sent a friend request on Facebook and sent me a message congratulating us on our new baby girl. Shortly, after his wife, Jocelyn, sent me a message as well. Jocelyn has always been the sweet supportive friend who goes out of her way to help with any information needed.
Yay Our Girls Have Down Syndrome!
Now Jocelyn, Shannon and I try to hang out once a month. I've learned so much from them and really love just listening to how their families are doing. They are super Mom advocates and they inspire me to keep at it. I'm not sure if Jocelyn and Shannon were excited to hear Ada had Down syndrome but it felt like it the way they welcomed me in as a friend. Its nice to have friends who know where you are at and what you are struggling with on this journey and who can also understand where you are coming from.
Now when I see a stranger in the grocery store who has a child with Down syndrome I kind of want to start chatting with them, like we are friends. This is pretty strange because I don't want to start talking to every parent I see. I have to hold myself back!
I'm glad we can say "Yay for Down syndrome!" We wish there weren't health problems associated with it but everything else just helps you think differently about what life is about.