During the routine ultrasound at about five months into the pregnancy, our OB noticed that Elijah's kidneys were slightly enlarged. She assured us that it was probably nothing, but scheduled us for a level 2 ultrasound at the University of Missouri, just in case.
At the university, where we thought we were just going to get the ultrasound and be on our way, they had us scheduled for a three hour session of 'prenatal counseling'.
Our OB had failed to mention any of this. During the counseling session, they proceeded to tell us all about birth defects, genetic disorders, amniocentesis and 'termination'. At that point, we assured the counselor that we had no intentions whatsoever of 'terminating' this pregnancy. We went on to explain to her that God himself had created this child and it was not up to us to decide whether or not he should be born. Of course from that point on they treated us like we were a couple of loony fanatics. They went on to tell us that the enlarged kidneys could be an early indication of down syndrome and then told us about all of the negative issues associated with ds. Then they again suggested having an amnio so that they could let us know for sure if the baby had ds or not, so we would have plenty of time to make our decision. "what decision?" I asked. "the decision to terminate" was their response. At this point I was so shocked by everything they told us, I couldn't even respond except to say that we are not going to terminate, and it would not be worth the risk my wife or my child to perform the amnio just to 'find out' if our child has a diagnosis.
For the remainder of the pregnancy we prayed that God would touch our unborn child. The OB continued to do ultrasounds every few weeks to monitor the kidneys. Every thing else looked completely normal and the only diagnosis given prenataly was 'slightly enlarged kidneys'.
Four months later Elijah was born. Fortunately, our OB was not available and one of her partners was on call. She was wonderful.
Right after Elijah was born, my wife immediately asked if there were any signs of Down Syndrome. I was shocked that this was so prominent in her mind at that moment. The physician looked as though she had just seen a ghost. "why would you ask me that?" my wife and I knew by her shock in her response that she had already observed the initial signs.
My wife took the news very, very hard. I guess I was more stunned by my wife's reaction than by the diagnosis. The first few minutes were very difficult... the confusion, the shock, the hurt. But when I held that little miracle in my arms and looked into those little eyes... knowing that he could potentially have a very rough road ahead, I became instantly drawn to him. He _needed_ me... really needed me.
I thanked God for entrusting me to care for this person while he was here on earth. Now, I would not trade Elijah, his diagnosis, or this experience for anything on earth. And to think that God hand picked me to be Elijah's dad is one of the greatest blessings!
Sorry, I could go on forever...
It took a few weeks for my wife to come around, but eventually she, too, became charmed by this little blue-eyed miracle called Elijah. Now it has become our mission to educate others about Down Syndrome and to dispel all of the negative information that the medical community gives to expecting parents in trying to convince them to abort their child simply because they have a disability.
Visit Elijah's Homepage!
Diagnosis: Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome & Abortion Page