I found out that Jess had Down Syndrome the second she was placed into my arms. I had the blood test which showed 1700 chance to 1 that I would have a baby with Down syndrome. I was 23 when had her. Time stopped as I just looked into her eyes and I made a promise to her from that day onwards that I would protect her and fight every day to give her the best life possible.
The first few weeks and months were busy looking after a new born and coping with her major heart surgery but I did struggle on her first birthday when I looked back on all she'd gone through. I had no idea what the future was going to hold for her but I never expected her to be so inspirational to me and everyone who meets her. Of course I have bad days and wish she didn't have to struggle so much but those are few and she brings so much richness to our lives. When she was born the Drs told me that she wouldnt do the same things that her peers would do. They're right. She does a lot more than them. I met my partner of 9 years through a local Downs charity and he has a girl similar age to Jess too. The girls are so different but love each other like sister's.
Jessica is14 and lives in Liverpool with me (Mum), Step-Dad, baby brother Patrick and dog Billy. She’s currently in Year 9 mainstream high school and will be studying for her GCSEs next year. She loves to sing and write her own songs, make up dance routines and is very rarely found without a smile on her face. She is an excellent swimmer, rides horses and enjoys drama and performing. She auditioned and was picked to be on the CBBC programme “Junior Vets", been in several large stage productions with her drama club and she’s done various modelling projects. The camera loves her! She's a survivor. She was born with 3 holes in her heart and a leaking valve which needed open heart surgery when she was just 9 weeks old. She wears her scars with pride. She also has a pacemaker and has had various other operations over the years. She’s vivacious, affectionate, independent, capable, thoughtful and she’s my best friend.
My advice to new or expecting parents is to throw away the milestone book, live in the now, never compare to others their age and celebrate all of your child. They may learn a little slower and need a lot more work to grasp new skills but the joy and love a child with Down syndrome will bring is unlike anything you've felt before. I feel that Jess is my winning lotto ticket. We're definitely the lucky few!