My pregnancy with Sara was a pleasant and enjoyable one, we had the routine blood tests that came back low risk although we didn’t pay much attention to it... we wanted to find out the sex though, but during the second scan Sara was lying upside down in an awkward position so I was told to go for a walk to see if she would move position, once back on the bed she did her checks and when we asked if she knew the sex she just snapped and said “well as long as it’s healthy that’s all that matters” so that was that.
Sara was born 2 weeks early so classed as full term and was my easiest births out of the 3 of them. The moment she was born the midwives energy changed in the room, there wasn’t any oh congratulations you’ve had a girl, just looks of disappointment and sadness. Once Sara was cleaned and wrapped up she was and handed to me and she looked so tiny with beautiful dark hair, beautiful just like her sister Erin did. Then the midwife turned to us and asked if we had heard of Down syndrome? She said that Sara had some characteristics of DS, but she wasn’t sure so was going to ask a doctor. I had worked with adults with Down syndrome many times before and had always had a great time and positive experience, but Shahi hadn’t really had any experience he was in shock and in denial straight away. He kept telling her you’re wrong and that she looks just like her sister did when she was born, but the more I looked the more I could see she was right.
One doctor came and looked for the obvious signs the palm crease etc and he couldn’t really be 100% so he suggested a blood test to confirm yes or no. Once everyone has left the room and it was just me, Sara and a midwife, she didn’t really have any words of encouragement or happiness the mood was really flat. I felt sad and confused as so many feelings started going round my head. That night I was placed in a private room, they probably thought they were being sensitive, but I didn’t grumble as it was nice and quiet.. the more I looked at Sara the more I knew she had DS. I was scared, and worried about what the future would hold for her. When people called or texted to congratulate us it was so hard telling them that they thought Sara had DS, I felt so bad for feeling ashamed and embarrassed.. thinking about how she would look etc to other people, would they make fun, it was awful. Every time I looked at her though and cared for her, fed her I just felt nothing but love for her and I knew I had to treat her the same as my other daughter, she had exactly the same needs and all she needed was to be loved.
Over night I accepted it and knew in my heart she had DS. I went into practical mode and pushed the DS diagnosis to the back of my head and got on with it. The next day the doctors came in confirmed she had DS. They handed my husband a load of leaflets and left the room. He immediately started reading them and then burst into tears. He was devastated. I knew at that moment I had to be strong and show him that it means nothing she is still our beautiful Baby girl. It really did feel like we were grieving for a baby we never had.. we were now faced with the unknown for our baby girl, not knowing her quality of life mentally and physically. Thankfully Sara was fit and healthy and we were allowed to go home that night which was a positive sign.
Over the months Sara just grew more and more beautiful, she was bombarded with hospital appointments checking her hearing, which was slightly down and the holes in her heart which are still present today, but thankfully not causing any problems, but the things I noticed and loved the most was her little personality growing. It gave me reassurance that she will be ok. As there is only 17 months between Sara and her older sister Erin I could see they were close and cared so much for each other as they grew. Erin taught Sara so much without her even realising it. Sara always looked up to Erin and tried to copy everything she did. Sara has grown into a gorgeous, caring, sensitive, funny little girl who’s confidence amazes me. She tries her hardest at everything and anything and never gives up. She has been the best thing that has ever happened to our family. She has taught us to enjoy and appreciate the little things in life so much more. She has taught us patience with goals and that we all develop at our own pace in life. She just has a gorgeous energy around her you can’t not love her and feel like you need to protect her. She is popular at her school with her mainstream and IR unit friends, and absolutely loves her modelling career that she’s doing so well with. She loves to travel, especially on holiday, swimming, trampolining, Gymnastics, food, birthday parties and the ingham Family! Anything social with family and friends and loves her great Grandad a lot!!
My advice to new parents of children with DS is to not worry about their future, but to embrace it, enjoy the journey of watching them develop in slow motion.