Aaron was an extremely longed for and long awaited addition to our family unit, which consists of mum, dad, Aaron, who is 7 years old and Brandy the cat. We found out that Aaron had Down Syndrome when I was 13 weeks pregnant. Tests and scans showed a very high possibility of a chromosomal disorder and we chose to find out for certain. It was a huge shock to us when we were told he had Down Syndrome. I have since heard people say that finding out is like experiencing a bereavement and I would agree with that. We did grieve for the child we thought we were having and were wracked with worry about what the future would hold. Despite intense pressure from a doctor, we chose to continue with the pregnancy and have never regretted that decision for a single moment.
On reflection, we were also glad that we had found out before he was born. We had the chance to get used to the idea and more importantly, time to discover as much information about Down Syndrome as we could. We had no experience of Down Syndrome in our families and will admit to an outdated and uninformed idea of what it was. Aaron has been through an incredible amount in his short life. In the first 2 years of his life he had 5 major surgeries: Open heart surgery, stomach surgery and bowel surgeries. Some of the surgeries were emergency life-saving operations and he spent many months in hospital and on life support. He was also tube fed directly into his stomach for 5 years. Despite all of this, he was and remains incredibly happy, sociable and loving. He is full of personality, likes to play tricks, loves to be tickled and chased and has an incredibly infectious laugh. His favourite thing to do is to go to Soft Play – you could say he’s obsessed with it, particularly climbing and slides! He is also a daddy’s boy and loves nothing better than daddy singing him a silly made up song and dancing along to it!
The thing we would want to say to new parents more than anything is to educate yourselves and seek out the local support that is available to you. You will be experiencing shock and a whole litany of emotions, but we promise you that Down Syndrome is nothing to be frightened of or worried about! The love and pure joyfulness that Aaron has brought to our lives is nothing short of a miracle. He is our whole world and we honestly would not change a single thing about him. We think of ourselves as being extremely lucky to have such a wonderful, funny and loving son who turns every day into a happy day with his beaming smile and infectious personality. Honestly – we wish we could say to our pregnant selves: Don’t worry - you are going to be happier than you could ever imagine when your little superstar arrives and he will make you so proud every day. You will love him with all your hearts.