My son, Nicolas, was born in September of 2006. I was 43 when I got pregnant. I had miscarried a few years earlier and the doctors weren’t sure if I could get pregnant on my own. So when it came time for the screenings for Down syndrome I chose not to do them. I felt this was the child I was meant to have.
While I was in recovery from the delivery my husband came to tell me that a geneticist had looked at the baby and was sure that he had Down syndrome. They needed to do a chromosome test but the doctor was pretty certain. I don’t think I was entirely surprised; something in the sono pictures had looked a little off and one of my OBs had hinted that there were indicators. But in spite of my suspicions I was disoriented by the news. There were so many questions and I had so little knowledge. I was tired and overwhelmed and grief stricken. Friends sent me books that I couldn’t bring myself to read. I was lost.
Then two things happened that began to change everything for me. I fell in love with my son. He was so tiny and so beautiful. I would let him fall asleep in my arms and I felt so at peace. In that moment everything was perfect. Then, when my son was just a few days old, I got a visit from one of the Parent to Parent moms. Her son attended Stepping Stones and he was three years old. She brought photos and began telling me stories about her son. “We went skating this past weekend,” she said. “He couldn’t really skate very well but I picked him up and carried him around the ice with me. He said, ‘Mom, I’m flying.’” The woman told me other things, about her son attending church and fishing with his dad. But while she was talking about her son on the skating rink I realized that I would have an involved life with my son. I felt assured that I would do baby things with him and children things with him.
Nicky is three years old now and he is an amazing boy. He is funny and curious and busy, busy, busy. Far from being disappointed, I have been delighted and blessed. He is a special kid in the best sense of the word. And even though we haven’t tried skating yet, we do everything I would have done with a son who didn’t have Down syndrome. We go to the playground and make pizza, we read and draw and play with (and eat) Play-doh. He loves Curious George and Dora the Explorer. He loves our dog and cats and his sister. But most of all, he loves running around outside. That sounds like a three year old boy to me.