(Down Syndrome and Spina bifida)
Falling pregnant with Lana wasn’t going to be short of emotions. Our son was 3 and very excited to have a new baby at home. We could say we were the average 2.2 children family with a mortgage and a dog. I thought that we were stable, financially secure and professionally content. All was perfect.
I came close to not having a 12-week scan because of work commitments, but I managed to squeeze in the hour out of my busy schedule. I remember looking at my watch thinking “hurry up; I have a meeting at 3” while the sonographer was taking his time looking at the screen. When I found out my baby had most likely Spina Bifida I was devastated, but when they told me the baby was also looking like he had Down Syndrome as well was impossible to bear. I couldn’t picture going to the shops with a child that could never walk nor think (so I assumed). My husband was even more upset, as he had never been sure about having another child. One of our main arguments was always about who wanted the baby and whose fault it was. I guess we tried to blame everyone, from each other to God, from the medical staff to the in-laws who smoked. We didn’t have an abortion because we had decided on giving the child up for adoption; at the time we felt it was a good solution.
As the pregnancy progressed, I received a lot of support from family, from friends as well as medical staff. I was advised to meet with other mums who had children with DS and Spina Bifida before making my mind up and I did. The children I saw were happy children who played and talked and who always showed a caring behaviour towards their friends and siblings. We decided to hang on making a decision until the baby would be born. When she was born, the midwives were so nice. They treated us like normal people, which we were!! Shortly after her birth, we decided to keep Lana. She became the sunshine in our lives. She was a happy baby, always smiling. Everybody looked at her because she looked so cute rather than because she was Down Syndrome and she won a baby show at 5 months old!
Lana is now 16 months old, of course she is different from other children, her gross motor skills are slow and she cannot travel like other toddlers would. Right now, to us Down Syndrome means “loving” as Lana always shows a friendly and bubbly personality. It is hard to summarise 2 years in a few pages and while I understand why we were so distressed by Lana’s diagnosis, I believe it was not accurate. Lana is not and never will be a burden. She is loved as much as other children are and her progress is constant.
Return to the "Other stories" page