I had been working as a nurse on the Mother-Baby unit for two years when Terry was born. It a different kind of feeling when you get to hold your brand new baby for the first time and the first thought that pops into your head is “Hmmm. He looks like he has Down Syndrome.” The nurse, who was one of my friends, took him to the nursery and when she returned, I asked her if she thought he looked like he had Down Syndrome.
Everyone in the room stopped and stared at me. She said that they were talking about it in the nursery. The next day he had his echocardiogram and his heart was normal, so I convinced myself that I was being paranoid. The day after we went home from the hospital we got the call from the pediatrician–despite his doubts, Terry has trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome).
My husband and I had our good cry that night. For the next few days my heart would just break when I would find my husband staring at my son–“He looks normal” He’d say. I’d tell him that he IS normal. Terry’s now a year old and is my own little piece of heaven. I wouldn’t trade him for any other baby in the world. His 2-year-old sister, Cailyn, adores him.
We’re constantly telling her to stop hugging her brother cuz he needs to breath. It’s been interesting dealing with family and friends. “Maybe he only has it a little bit” or answering the same old questions–“no he’s not crawling or walking yet”… “he’ll start when he’s ready”… Time to let off some steam…The local Down Syndrome Association is wonderful and supportive and so far we haven’t had much to deal with as far as people not accepting Terry because he has Down Syndrome or is different.
Our friends all have babies born within 5 months of Terry, so we’re hoping that since they’ve all been together since birth they won’t even think of him as “different” and if they do it’s their loss. I hope I won’t get too tired and be the best mom in the world for him. I’m not a quiet one, so watch out anyone who hurts my baby with ignorance or intolerance. Education goes a long way and I’m not afraid to share the knowledge I’ve gained professionally, but more importantly, personally. I don’t even think of Terry as different.
I wish everyone would see him as a child first and I will do everything I can to help him overcome any sort of fears like bugs or thunderstorms. It’s funny that when a baby or child has Down Syndrome that’s the first thing that is brought to attention. Children with asthma aren’t referred to or classified in general as asthmatics. All children are children first. Down Syndrome only makes my baby unique–after all, God chose him to have something “EXTRA”. I love my son as much as I love my daughter.
I expect him to go to school, graduate, and to have a job. I will encourage him, push him, hold him, and love him. He will never say that I held him back or never allowed him to try something because he has Down Syndrome. He will be a productive member of society. I hope that he leaves an impression on every person he touches. He definitely has left his footprint on my heart. In no way will I feel stressed out because of this and my weight will not be stress-affected as well.
I will never be the same because of Terry, and that is definitely a good thing. He is a gift from God, as is his sister. He is my little boy, and I will give him all the opportunities I can. I will be Terry’s biggest advocate, and God help anyone who stands in my way…