heart-hand

Doctor tells expectant parents of baby with Down syndrome that they are a “lucky couple”

Glennon
Glennon

Glennon, creator of Momastery, was having an ultrasound with her first born child when doctors discovered “a few issues.” Worried her baby would die, she waited anxiously for the doctor to tell her and her family what was going on.  While she waited, she willed her baby to live.

The doctor went on to inform her that her baby boy had a large cyst on his brain and an echogenic focus on his heart. In addition, his neck was measuring thick. After looking her baby over for a few more minutes, the doctor left the room saying he would return shortly. When he finally did return, he told the family that any of those problems on their own could be a marker for Down syndrome, but together, it meant that the baby would most likely have Down syndrome. Glennon writes on her blog of this moment:

My family – we smiled at each other. We breathed one collective, THANK YOU, JESUS breath. Our baby was not going to die. Our baby was going to have Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome. Of course, I thought. Of course.

Glennon’s experiences with children and babies with Down syndrome had shown her how remarkable and joyful their lives are. From the children at the Special Olympics she volunteered at in elementary school, to Lucy, the girl with Down syndrome who welcomed Glennon into church, Glennon had a soft spot in her heart for people with the condition. So when the doctor told her that her baby likely had Down syndrome, Glennon was more than relieved. In fact, she felt special.

In preparation for life with a baby with Down syndrome, Glennon and her husband Craig interviewed pediatricians. They were looking for one who had experience with and was good with children with Down syndrome and they knew the moment they found that doctor. Glennon recalls:

We […] chose the [doctor] who stopped us during our interview and said, ‘You know, I don’t have a single family who wouldn’t tell you that their child with Down Syndrome changed their family in the best possible ways. These children, they turn your life upside down in all the most important ways. And most of us don’t get life changing opportunities like that. There are challenges -yes- but those challenges will shrink compared to the enormity of the new life you’ll have. The new perspective you’ll have. You are a lucky couple.’

Most stories we hear about a baby’s diagnosis of Down syndrome don’t include the words “relief” and “lucky”. Most stories are filled with sadness, denial, and finally either acceptance or abortion. But not Glennon’s story.

When Glennon went into labor with her baby boy, named Chase, she was eagerly anticipating her first meeting with her son. She cried, she nursed him, she laughed. Then, the on-call pediatrician checked Chase over and told Glennon that her baby was perfectly healthy. Confused, Glennon asked if Chase had Down syndrome. The doctor said no.

Glennon, not getting the baby she expected, felt a sense of loss. Still today, over a decade later she wonders why all of that happened. Of children with Down syndrome, Glennon says:

I know that these kiddos have something important to teach the rest of us. We who are so busy getting important things done and they who seem to know for certain what really is important and what is not. I think they are Little Teachers, if we have eyes to see and time to wait. […] I think they offer something to the world that the world needs more than anything else. Attention to detail. Senseless joy. Acceptance and love for all.

If only the rest of the world saw people with Down syndrome that way.

  • Ingrid Heimark

    What a beautiful couple, God bless them and their child :)

  • Scott Heitshusen

    Thanks for sharing! Almost 13 years ago my wife, first son, and I were blessed with Ben, who has Down syndrome. We can’t imagine life without him and thank the Lord daily for His gift of both of our boys.

  • Joanne

    I wonder how many children are aborted for having a marker for some syndrome which is in fact false. The child is still developing and reading an ultrasound is not an exact science. It depends on the doctor’s approach. Is he or she looking for signs of health or signs of abnormality?

    Even though their child did not have Downs, I would stick with that pediatrician.

    • Tat

      I read an article about jamie fox sister who has down syndrome and it stated 90% of babies with downs are aborted… its very sad

  • Paula Jane Pieklo-Byler

    These kids are a blessing. My son is 28. He can cook totally on his own, read, get on Youtube, do laundry, etc!!!He can do anything!!!

  • Nadia Rabaioli

    very good and important report, please share it all over the world!!!

  • Jodi Smith Foster

    These children are a blessing! My son has CP and his friend has Down Syndrome and they are an inspiration to all. I am involved with RODS, Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome, and we are raising awareness and funding to help families with the very expensive costs of adopting one of the precious children. Since it’s inception 2 years ago, we have helped over 9 children be adopted and we raise $15,000 per child to help with the cost for their adoption. Currently our new orphan is Mei Chen that we are raising funds for. This is a great non-profit organization helping children find loving homes. To find out more go to http://www.rodsracing.org where you will see the work we do. We have racers from all over the country and in Europe raising awareness and funding, and our title sponsor is IDAHO POTATOES, and this is their second year as our sponsor and for every $50,000 raised, they match it! We love these children and want to do what we can for them!

  • Masterpiece Quilts

    We feel very fortunate to have our daughter who has Down Syndrome. We too feel very blessed! This is what we do together to bless the world:
    http://www.masterpiecequilts.com

    • Laura M

      I have worked in a school with differently abled children for over 20 years. When my children were young I introduced them to my students and also brought some of my students home and gave the parents some respite time. I now run a peer interaction group for teens and adults with special needs called the club house. We meet twice a week, we play games, dance, sing karoke, and sometimes just ” hangout”. The club house kids, are the most awesome individuals anyone could ever meet and be associated with. Most of my kids at the club house are downs syndrome kids! I can’t imagine what my life would be like without ever being a part of this wonderful population of people! They are truly a blessing!

  • Amber Rolland

    Thank you so much for sharing. My husband and I feel truly blessed that we were given a child with Down syndrome. He has changed our lives for the better in many ways. When we learned of his diagnosis from an amnio late in my pregnancy we were shattered. Had we known then what we know now, we wouldn’t have shed a single tear. Jagger is 4 years old, he is so smart. He was born healthy. He is truly an amazing little boy full of love, laughter and pure joy.

  • Valueall

    So wish I’d had that doctor!! I was pressured to abort (I didn’t) and was told that I would be supported by SAFTA (Support After Termination of Abnormality”)…….excuse me?

  • Jalina Filomeno

    I have a 13 month old son with T21 and he is such a blessing! We had no idea he was going to have it. He had two soft markers but was not enough to cause a concern. I unfortunately did not experience such a positive reaction from doctors when my son was born. It was mostly telling me what my son would NOT do and what health concerns he may face as he gets older. Plus the nicu nurses would come around and tell me it is okay to grieve the loss of a “normal” life when they saw me crying beside his incubator. I was crying cause it hurt me to see my baby boy fight for his life on a ventilator! I would like to tell them that our life may not be as “normal” as others but I love it this way… waking up and not knowing what surprises may be in store for the day :) my son amazes me every single day and has made my 22 years of life worth living. And as far as health concerns? He is extremely HEALTHY and growing like a weed! By the grace of God his ASD healed on its own and the only specialist we see is an ENT cause he needed tubes. God is great :)

  • toomuchuselessinfo

    Wish more doctors were like that one-human instead of unfeeling robots.There are some nice doctors-but not nearly enough.

  • Capt. Chris Pike

    Yeah, you’re real lucky to have a child that’ll be a child forever, and will never contribute anything but hugs to society. It’s cool that people are kind toward defective kids, but stop deluding yourself that having a chromosomal abnormality is an anyway a wonderful thing.

    • Tullia_Ciceronis

      As a disabled woman, I feel that your words are extremely ableist and bigoted. People with mental disabilities are not “children forever”. They learn and grow, just at a slower rate. They can contribute much to society if trained properly and given the chance. People like you are the reason why we cannot advance in society. Check your able-bodied privilege. With your bigotry you’ll never be able to contribute anything worthwhile to society unless you change. Disabled does not mean defective. Stop spewing hate speech.

      • LightMyFire

        Eh, ignore that person. They obviously didn’t have any of the advantages that some of us have had when we grew up. I know of a lot of people that have what are considered to be disabilities that work and contribute to the world anyway, while I also know folks who’d be considered able bodied and of sound mind that do nothing but drag on society and the world. However, I think it is important for you to continue to spread the word that there is something to be said for overcoming things in life, whether it be “differences” that might be assessed by others as “difficulties”, or simply the difficulties people cause others they perceive as different. Speak up, please, but try to avoid taking anything someone like that says to heart, or too personally. They just weren’t as advantaged as we were. There is hope for them, though, if they are willing to work hard and all that. They can advance themselves, despite their difficulties.

        • DianaG2

          Agreed.

          I wish I could have been more like Tullia_Ciceronis in my comment, also.

    • Solby

      It is people like you who should be aborted at birth. I have no doubt in my mind that my son will contribute far more to society than your negative, narrow-minded, ignorant self! You are the one who is defective in your thinking and I feel sorry that you are so deluded and bitter.

    • Aunt B

      Defective kids are the ones who end up in prison for heinous crimes. You won’t find these kids, who contribute hugs and unconditional love to our crazy and sometimes cruel society, bogging down our judicial system. The one thing most needed in the world is love and compassion. What contribution to society is better than that! It is a “wonderful thing” to be around someone with these qualities. Capt. Chris Pike, you are the one missing out. Everyone loves to be around my nephew (who has down syndrome). He is a blessing. He puts a positive spin on every situation and you can’t be in his presence without smiling.

      • Basset_Hound

        My husband and I I are Star Trek geeks, and know that Capt. Christopher Pike was left in a very sorry predicament. He was nothing but a head and a torso on a glorified cart.

        • DianaG2

          lol

    • Basset_Hound

      There are a couple of Down’s Syndrome employees at our local Kroger, who are living independently, and doing quite well. I’ll wager they are contributing a lot more to society than a self-centered sociopath like yourself.

      • MamaBear

        There is a small restaurant in our town, simple lunch only menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, that almost all the employees are mentally handicapped young adults. Most work there a while, then move on to larger restaurants where they can have full time hours. It is a wonderful chance for these young adults to gain job skills to be independent. And the service is always wonderful.

        • Basset_Hound

          Didn’t you post a link to this restaurant? I remember reading something about an eatery like this.

          • MamaBear

            No I didn’t. I just checked. They have a website, but it would show everyone exactly what town I live in. If there is a way I could send it privately, I would be glad to, but we do sometimes have some crazies here, which is why you are Basset_Hound and I am MamaBear.

      • toomuchuselessinfo

        Exactly, well said. What about when someone “normal” becomes disabled along the way? Anyone can become disabled, and I think alot of people forget that.

      • DianaG2

        Good question, BH.

    • Capt. Chris Pike Sucks

      You are a sorry piece of shit! I have seen people with downs live on their own
      and provide for themselves. People like you are the ones who drag people down and
      are a disgrace to society. Sounds to me like your mother should have opted to
      abort you or she should have chosen to raise you the right way.

      • DianaG2

        I wish she just would have raised the Capt. the right way.

    • toomuchuselessinfo

      There’s no guarantee that you’ll never have a disability along your life, and if you live long enough you will likely become old and senile.(Therefore disabled). Hugs are underrated. A lot of people are way too mean. Downs people are way smarter than most people give them credit for.

    • Jolie Joseph Rahn

      Capt. Chris: I am sorry to tell you this, but you are the most *handicapped* person I have come across. You are psychologically and emotionally handicapped and that is the WORST kind of handicapped to be. My sympathies to you and your family.

    • The Wumpus

      The point is not that having a chromosomal abnormality is a wonderful thing, but that people with an extra chromosome can be of the most joy to friends and family.

    • DebSalzer

      Who are you to say they will not be a productive member of society or not a blessing? Nobody knows what will happen in life! You never are given a guarantee when you have children healthy or not! They can get hit by a car or hit in the head playing football! My son was perfectly made with down syndrome!

    • DianaG2

      A chromosomal abnormality is a jillion times more wonderful than your hateful, idiotic comment.

      Contribution? Where’s yours?

  • Jolie Joseph Rahn

    I, too, had the blessing of having a wonderful perinatologist who told me (while in the midst of my shock..lol) that people with DS are wonderful people who have their own lives like everyone else. They enjoy life, work, have fun and do the things that typical peeps do. He was just going on and on about them while I was still reeling in 1. my child had two heart defects and 2. She may have T21. He suggested an amnio for preparedness on coming to terms with having a child with T21….NOT for abortion purposes. I refused….was not going to tempt fate. At the time, I thought he was so nonchalant about the whole T21 thing and I was like HOLD ON a DADGUM MINUTE!!! However, looking back, I am glad he was that way…because his demeanor just normalized the situation and made it less scary and made it feel more ordinary. I was treated with the upmost respect my OB as well. They went about each check up as if it were a typical pregnancy. As it stands, that little one was born with T21 and she is the easiest, most resilient (she was a very sick newborn) and comical kid I know. I am so glad to be her mom and that I was chosen to be so.

  • Downs Side Up

    Spot on. Lovely post that many should read after an antenatal diagnosis. Sadly 92% won’t…