Relief

20 Apr

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A few days after the first level 2 ultrasound, we met with the specialist in Atlanta (via telemedicine) for the results.

In the days leading up to this day, I was not worried at all. I honestly thought it was stupid & unnecessary to have the level 2 ultrasound. After all, the tech said she saw the echogenic focus all the time & I have plenty of friends whose babies had it & were not born with Down syndrome. Plus, the blood test showed that the chance of the baby having trisomy 21 was low. I was not worried.

But then, sitting in the office that day, I really started to panic. What if our baby does have Down syndrome? What if she has something wrong with her heart? I was trying to stay calm, but all the “what ifs” started running through my head & I was freaking out inside.

Then we were finally called back after what felt like an eternity of waiting. We sat down and then the specialist came on the screen. She was very nice, went over the findings of the ultrasound, and finally….”Your baby does not have Down syndrome. She is fine.”

Whew!!! What a relief! I could breathe again. I said a prayer thanking God for taking care of our baby.

Now I look back on that day and I am pretty disappointed in myself. You see, I was scared because society & the media lead us to believe that Down syndrome is bad, scary, an unwanted diagnosis. I was so ignorant. And ignorance breeds fear.

One example of how the media perpetuates negative stereotypes:

On January 28, 2013, just two weeks after Rosalie was born, The Today Show ran a segment about a couple who is having their first baby and decided to use the new MaterniT21 test to find out if the baby has Patau syndrome (Trisomy 13), Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18) or Down syndrome (Trisomy 21). The parents said they would keep the baby even if the baby did have Down syndrome, but they wanted to do testing so they could be prepared.

About halfway through the segment, Matt Lauer says to the couple, “Let’s get right to the “good news.” And then they go on to announce & celebrate the fact that their baby does not have Down syndrome. And I remember feeling the same relief as these parents, which makes me sad.

“We are safe. The baby does not have Down syndrome.”

We are safe. Our baby won’t be like Rosalie.

Seeing this unfold on live television is like a punch in the gut to the 400,000 families of individuals with Down syndrome living in the US. A punch. in. the. gut.

This may be hard for some to understand, and while I do not want any child to suffer from heart or any health problems, I now celebrate to hear of anyone who has a child with Down syndrome. No, not because misery loves company, but because they will experience a love and joy like none other. And I’ve only been on this ride for 3 months & I can say that.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in the waiting room at my pediatrician’s office (our second home). I was holding Rosalie when a lady & her daughter came in & sat across from me. I thought the daughter had Down syndrome but I was not positive, she looked to be in her early 20s.

The mom kept looking at me & smiling & she finally asked what my baby’s name was, commented on how pretty she is, and then she asked, “Does she have Down syndrome?”

I was so proud & excited & told her yes, she does. She started smiling so big & the tears started pouring from her eyes, which made me cry. It was the best moment. She went on to tell me how HAPPY & THRILLED she was for me. It makes me cry just thinking about it. Those were the nicest words anyone could possibly say to a mother. She started telling me about her daughter and how wonderful she is and what a blessing she has been in their lives. She had Down syndrome, she was in her 20s, & had graduated from Valdosta High.

“You are going to be just fine.”

I’ve heard that a lot lately, but it was nice to hear it from someone who really knows. 🙂

Down syndrome is nothing to fear. A diagnosis of Down syndrome is not bad.

Do you know what causes Down syndrome?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

There are no known behavioral or environmental factors that cause Down syndrome…it isn’t inherited. It’s caused by a mistake in cell division during the development of the egg, sperm or embryo.

This is just the way God knitted her in my womb. And she is absolutely perfect!

………………………….

Have questions or need support? Email me at sweetrosalieblog@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter, @sweetrosalieblg

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