I was cleaning out my closet; sorting through things when I found it. I recognized it instantly. I knew what it said, I had read it enough times that I practically had it memorized. It was a life changing paper.
It said, 47, XX, +21. Cytogenetic analysis shows three copies of chromosome 21 (Trisomy 21) in each metaphase cell examined consistent with the clinical diagnosis of Down Syndrome. It said, common manifestations include developmental delay, cardiac anomalies, relatively small stature, neonatal hypotonia. Social development is typically more advanced than intellectual development.
How wrong that paper was. What it should have said was; we have completed the testing. You are having a baby girl. Her cells are more unique than most of the ones we see. While the addition may make it more difficult for her to do things, it does not mean that she can’t. It does mean that she will find her own way to do them and she may do them at different times.
There are lessons inside that additional chromosome. Lessons on acceptance, unconditional love, empathy, compassion and selflessness. Lessons that will make you stronger as parents. Lessons that will remind you not to rush and to take time to enjoy the little things in life.
Inside there is an extra dose of determination, resilience and drive, humor and personality, understanding and patience. There is strength, forgiveness, steadfastness and even temper! There is sweetness, fierceness, willfulness, and stubbornness. There is rhythm and dancing, silly songs and imagination. There is intelligence and brilliance, ability and accomplishments. There is joy, hugs, cuddles, kisses and snuggles that are absolutely unbeatable.
Hearts will be softened, perceptions altered, and lives changed by this sweet girl. You will be an advocate, a voice. You will find a strength that you didn’t know existed, a boldness that may even surprise you.
The world would be seeing in a different way. It will be the most incredible experience of your life. You are not alone. You have a tribe of people who want to walk alongside and tell you “Yes it’s hard, it is different, and it will make you strong - you’re one of the lucky few”.
What it should have said was: The baby you are expecting is a gift, a pure LOVE you never knew you wanted but your heart always needed.