All Exceptional Children Are Created Equal-Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Day!

I’ll never forget the day that my ultrasound results came back . The voice of the technician on the phone made my heart freeze. I needed to make an appointment to see my doctor. During the visit with my obstetrician she looked over the results with me. There was a possibility that my baby had Down Syndrome. It was something about his neck fold being a little on the thick side. I was in shock.  All I knew about Down Syndrome was the health risks and I became very afraid.

“You are not that far along if you want to consider termination.”

The words pierced my heart like no weapon ever could. My baby. My baby is who the doctor were talking about, and there was no way he was going anywhere until it was his time to come out of me. I instinctively wrapped my arms around my stomach. I somehow knew he was a he even then.

“No, I am keeping this baby no matter what. I am religious doctor, and God will guide me to give me the best tools to help my baby whatever he has. Is there anyway I could know for sure. I want to be prepared to help him in whatever way I can.”

She looked at me without hesitation: “Then we will talk no more of termination. Would you be interested in doing an amnio?”

I quickly responded with a no as I knew there was a risk for miscarriage. It had taken me almost two years for the miracle that would become Michael. I was not taking any chances.

“No, is there anything else? If not, I will start doing my own research and find out more about Down Syndrome.”

She quickly told me about a more detailed ultrasound that could be ordered that would give a probability of what issues my baby had or didn’t have. We did the detailed ultrasound which revealed my baby’s chances of having Down Syndrome were very small, but I have to tell you, Dad and I still read up on Down Syndrome. I had family and friends who told me the difficult side of what kids with Down Syndrome faced, but I also heard from friends who told my what a miracle these kids were. I then remembered a little baby boy on the swing in the park with his Mom tat I had seen way before I was even pregnant. He had Down Syndrome. He and his Mom were so happy. I couldn’t see their happiness truly that day. I only saw that I could not be that mother and how hard it must be to raise a child who was different. I was wrong. I now knew a mother’s love for her child ran deep, even before birth in many cases.  In the end, Dad and I did all we could to learn what we could as we wanted to be prepared to welcome our baby whoever he or she would be with all the support we could and then some.

Those who know my story know that my son Michael was not born with Down Syndrome at  all, but three and half years later would be diagnosed with autism. I have many friends whose exceptional children have Down Syndrome and all I could say is that similar to children with autism, they are amazing little human beings. They struggle, they persevere, they have victories, and difficulties and they are absolutely beautiful on the inside and outside. I have learned much about Down Syndrome and other Syndromes. Like children with autism, children with special needs who are exceptional teach us neuro typical adults far more than we could teach them.  I learned that day what kind of mother I would be. A mother who would fight for her child no matter what society would see him as. So today, I want to wish all my friends and their children  Happy World Down Syndrome Day. I will be wearing my different colored socks loud and proud today and remembering what a gift these children are to our world. Until next time.

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