• Wed, Feb 19 - 11:00 am ET

(UPDATED) Despite What My Doctors Told Me, I’ll Give Birth To My Daughter Today

Feeling goodI never wanted kids.

And there was a point in time, in my early teens, where I wasn’t even sure I liked them, but mostly, it was just that I didn’t ever see myself as a mom. A wife, yes. Sure. A mother? Not so much.

And then something happened.

I met someone about a month before my 38th birthday, and decided/realized rather quickly, that if ever there was a guy to make me “take one for the team,” he was the guy. He didn’t have any children himself, and at 40, he’d figured if it hadn’t happened by now, it probably wasn’t going to.

Then along came me. And after some months of dating, and some discussion, we came to the agreement that we’d like to make something happen.

But first, an appointment with my doctor, who gave us the go-ahead, and warned that it might take us a few tries to conceive unsuccessfully before “intervention” was required — normal for a woman “my age.”

That was her advice in April. I was pregnant by June.

It was expected, but unexpected. My partner and I were thrown quickly into the maelstrom of impending parenthood: monthly/bi-weekly/weekly doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, blood and urine tests. (Thank God for the Canadian health care system.)

On Friday, September 13, 2013, I learned that our baby tested positive for 4 out of 5 markers for Trisomy 21 – the genetic mutation responsible for Down Syndrome. This meant that there was an 80% chance that my child would be a Special Needs child. A week later, after meeting with a couple of geneticists, and one amniocentesis, the diagnosis and sex of our baby – a little girl – were confirmed.

At a final face-to-face meeting to discuss how to cope with our daughter’s condition moving forward – a meeting I have dubbed “the abortion sell,” my partner and I met with the lead doctor/geneticist and her assistant. The discussion started with an apology, as if our baby had died. We were then apprised of the options for termination (either D&C or induction. Really? WTF?)

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  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    I am so excited for when I get to update this! welcome to the world little girl!

  • Gretta

    Congratulations on your daughter!! Welcome to mommyhood! :-) :-) :-)

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      THank you, Gretta. It’s been tiring, but so worth it.

  • EX

    Congratulations! As a mother of “advanced maternal age” I thought a lot about the possibility of this situation. I appreciate you sharing your story. And I can’t believe the doctor said that (about being a walmart greeter). What an ignorant jerk!

    • Bethany Ramos

      I read the Walmart greeter line on a website providing information about my friend’s baby born with Williams syndrome, genetic disorder. I don’t know what to make of it… It doesn’t sit well.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      Wow WTF…

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      I can say that so far, Aisha is like any other baby. Sure her “challenges” may arise as she grows, but for now, she eats, poops and sleeps just like the rest (and best) of’em. I didn’t fret a lot about her diagnosis, but rather the pregnancy itself. If, because of my AMA I were to have another child with DS, I wouldn’t even sweat it. I would just accept it as I have with Aisha, and deal with whatever comes my way.

    • whiteroses

      And really- that’s all any parent can do. There are no guarantees. You love your kids, come what may, no matter what, and everything else falls together as it should.

  • Kay_Sue

    A very dear friend of my sister–who is like another little sister, to be honest–went through a very similar situation with her daughter’s health. She has a beautiful baby girl who will be turning two in March. This brought back so many memories of her struggle when she was pregnant. I hope you can find a great support system (unlike the doctoryou mentioned–WTAF?), because every parent needs one.

    Congratulations on your (impending) new arrival! I really look forward to seeing the update, and I will be following your blog and your Twitter! Welcome to motherhood, it’s a helluva a ride!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      she has US. we are gonna be all over her and the baby. Haha. I am babyjacking

    • Kay_Sue

      Good! As a mother of two, I am highly supportive of babyjacking. In related news, I’m also a fan of toddler and small child and tween jacking, does anyone want mine? :-P

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      coming over

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      You can tween-jack my 10 year old- she still thinks Justin Bieber shits glittery unicorns and rainbows.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Oooooh, if he actually did, I might like him. I’ve been trying to eat candy and poop diamonds for years, but so far I’m only half successful.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      LOL I love that lol.

      Yes sadly she cannot distinguish the fine line between occasional bad boy, and little bollocks.

      She will learn soon enough, god love her

    • Jessie

      I know some very fine Goth (and a few not-so-Goth-but-who-cares-cause-they’re-awesome) artists she should meet if she wants a “bad boy with a good soul” type of idol… Though, unfortunately, there is no known cure for “Bieber-fever” and must simply be allowed to run its course, so they probably wouldn’t help much, lol.

    • Kay_Sue

      That is how it went with my Backstreet Boys/NSYNC fever back in “the day”. It does eventually burn out, although there may be some residual iTunes hangerons afterwards….;)

    • Jessie

      Oh I can indeed vouch for this. I had SERIOUS “Boy Band Fever” (I was pretty much a sucker for ALL of those 90′s boy bands), as well as a fairly unhealthy obsession with the Spice Girls, and while it burned out by my high school years, I’ll admit to still having some of those bands’ music on my iPod today, for old time’s sake. Nostalgia is a powerful force. ;)

    • That_Darn_Kat

      I was a HUGE BSB fan back in the day. I knew all their songs, started trying to learn their dances, etc. I eventually grew out of it…or so I thought. Then I was in the grocery store last month, and “Backstreet’s Back” came on the radio. I almost screamed like a 12 year old girl, lol. I immediately started dancing down the aisles, singing along. Yeah…I do the same thing with Spice Girls, TBH.

    • Kay_Sue

      You should have seen the look on my husband’s face when he unexpectedly came home from work early in the midst of me cooking dinner to “Wannabe”. Really, there’s no better song for it, and my dance moves are *stellar* in my head.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      awesome!!!
      I’m slowly starting her on the guys I had a crush on, Ville Valo, Gerard Way.
      Sadly she only seems to like Ian Watkins (of course, I happened to be listening to their CD just after the court case. *slow clap for me*)

      Haven’t the heart to tell her what he’s in jail for, I just told her he did bad things to some children, NO WAY am I getting into it.

      The GOOD thing is she’s gone MAD into Hatsune Miku (and hey, you can’t blame a hologram vocaloid for bad behaviour now can you?)

    • Jessie

      Oh, vocaloid has ruined my liiiife, lol! Gakupo is my baby, but that’s largely because he is based on the real J-Rocker Gackt who is amaaaaazing. <3
      And yeah, I wouldn't get into the Watkins things at her age either, save that discussion for later.
      But it's good that she is at least interested in other music, hopefully that will help dispel the Bieber-fever faster and she can join those of us who's iPods (or music playing device of choice) are an unholy MESS of different (but WONDERFUL) things that make other people look at us like we're crazy. :D

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      I think it’s my fault lol my tastes swing from ABBA to Cradle of Filth, so a WIDE spectrum.
      She’s also gotten into cyberpunk which is cool, Eisenfunk’s song Pong is her favourite at the moment.

    • Jessie

      Oh yes, I know the feeling. I am fully aware that if I ever have a kid, their musical tastes will be all over the map because between mama and daddy, we love everything. And I literally mean EVERYTHING. And if we’ve never heard of something before, we’ll at least give it a try and odds are we’ll end up loving it. Yay for a wide musical spectrum! :D

    • Alexandra

      LMAO. priceless comment!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      I only wish I were actually exaggerating…

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      I’ve got my eye on you, Eve. :D

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I cannot wait to have your next article so we get more baby news! she is sooooo cute , I hope she is being good for you

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you! Planning a bunch of posts today. Hard to write with a little one in my lap, but I’m making do. :D

  • TngldBlue

    This was so sweet I might’ve choked up a bit. Congratulations!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Aw. Maybe it was eye sweat? :) Thanks for your words.

  • LadyClodia

    This was beautifully written. Congratulations!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you, LadyClodia. :)

  • jen

    Congratulations! Enjoy kissing and loving on your baby girl – it’s one of the best parts of parenthood. :)

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      jen I can’t stop kissing her. It’s insane.

  • Maria Guido

    Congratulations and welcome to motherhood!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks Maria! :) See you in the twitterverse…

  • cesp

    Congratulations! You are in for so much fun!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      So far, it’s just sleep, poop and cuddles, but I’ll take it! :D

  • Shells

    This is awesome! I know you and your partner will be great parents to your baby. Regardless of the doctor’s diagnosis, your baby has love and a support system. It won’t be easy, but I am sure it will be worth it. Best!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks, Shells. She has lots of aunties and cousins and family who will love her to bits. ;-)

  • Aimless

    As the mother of a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome (as well as two younger “typical kids”) I have to be the one to break it to you . . . your daughter may not be the sweet, precious angel sent from heaven to teach the world about patience and love, as you have been led to believe! When we was born, people sent me a lot of glurge-y angel-related poetry which abruptly stopped as his true personality emerged. He teases his little sister, snuck my last Thin Mint from the box last night (curses!) and has been sent to the principal more than once for mouthing off to his teacher.

    He is also a break-dancing prodigy, a pretty crackerjack basketball player (he plays with his HS freshman team), loves old school R&B from the ’70s and ’80s, pizza, bowling, and anything to do with the Muppets. Oh and lately . . . girls. Even though he apparently did not read the “Down syndrome manual”, he is his own complex and amazing person and I cannot imagine our lives without him, or the people we have met through him.

    Congratulations and I hope there will be a follow up post with pictures very soon!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Your kid sounds like someone I wanna be BFF with.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Me too! I suck at dancing and basketball, but I can curse and steal the last cookie all the damn day. Company is always nice.

    • Angela

      Not me! No one messes with my thin mints. Sheesh!

    • GPMeg

      RIGHT?! Muppets, pizza, 80′s music, loves thin mints… I mean, sounds like me and I’m 29!

    • Jallun-Keatres

      Haha my sister is the same way. Sweet to her friends and teachers and a normal annoying big sister at home! She too is very sporty and LOVED weightlifting of all things.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks, Aimless! :)

      So far, Aisha is a sweet li’l thang, but my friends simply cannot WAIT until she develops my pottymouth (oops) and her father’s stubbornness. I am under no illusions that my peanut is going to be this little bundle of love, light and unicorn farts…I’m just going to enjoy the quiet baby phase for as long as I can!

  • Momma425

    A wal-mart greeter? Seriously? There are so many inspirational and amazing people with down syndrome. Actresses like Jamie Brewer, politicians like Angela Bachiller- people have climbed Mt. Everest and written novels and designed fashion lines. All with down syndrome. Just saying.

    Congratulations on your baby girl! I am so excited for you and your family!

    • Angela

      And even if she doesn’t do any of those things are Walmart greeters inferior people who don’t deserve to live?

    • ted3553

      When people remark on others with entry level jobs, my thought is well, at least they have a job because many of us know someone who’s fully capable of working and isn’t by their choice. So what if they are a Walmart greeter. It means that person is supporting themselves and attempting to be a productive member of society

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Hell, all the teachers I know who get fed up with teaching talk longingly about how wonderful it must be to be a Wal-Mart greeter. It’s like a retirement dream for many of us.

    • ted3553

      my mom was a teacher, retired and pumped gas for 2 winters as a part time gig and loved it. No stress, no homework, no one really pissed at you.

    • CMP414

      I definitely think that the doctor’s “Walmart greeter” comment spoke to her own level of superiority which is so gross to me in any context. A job is a job. I certainly do not earn much as a part time social worker but I am sure that I have made a difference to someone even if I am not wealthy and powerful. My now deceased MIL had a form of Down Syndrome and totally put my salary to shame as an X-Ray tech. That doctor needs to shut her pie hole.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Exactly. Work is work and there is no shame in honest gains. Also, “pie hole”. LOVE.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Listen, as a freelance writer, I’d gladly take a side gig as Wal-Mart greeter.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      I think her POV was firmly rooted in the 50s. I didn’t fight her, just merely asked if she believed in nature vs. nurture, and the possibility that limited potential had more to do with a lack of opportunities and encouragement than a diagnosis. She was totally taken aback by my stance, but agreed that absolutely potential is defined by how far we intend to go.

  • darras

    Best of luck with the C section! And congratulations on your baby girl, who will be the most perfect person you’ll ever meet.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      darras, you are absolutely right. I think she is total perfection. Thank you.

  • Bethany Ramos

    You are amazing for sharing. Thank you!!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Aw. thanks, Bethany.

  • Crusty Socks

    Sounds like your child’s Down Syndrome will be compensated with a strong mother.

    Best wishes to you all

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks, Socks! :D

    • Crusty Socks

      Hey!

      Any updates? How’s it going with the baby?

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      So far, so good. She’s adjusting to life on the outside. She’s having a bit of tummy troubles right now, but otherwise, she’s just peachy. Thanks for asking! :)

    • Crusty Socks

      Awesome to hear. I’m sure it’s chaotic now and you haven’t slept in 2 weeks, but hang in there!

  • JulySheWillFly

    Congratulations and wishing you a healthy delivery. And a huge welcome to your baby girl!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • G.E. Phillips

    Congratulations!!! All babies are a blessing, and it sounds like you are already an amazing mother. Xoxoxox to your family!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Oh, I hope so. Thank you! :)

  • jdchick

    Congratulations! Enjoy your new baby girl!!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you so much.

  • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

    Congratulations!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks, Elizabeth! :)

  • Tinyfaeri

    Congratulations, best of luck to you, and I hope you meet your daughter very soon!

    Also, screw the doctor who made the Walmart greeter comment. Screw him or her right in the ear.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Yeah! Right in the ear! :D

    • Tinyfaeri

      From your comments, it sounds like all’s going well, and I wish you continued luck and lots and lots of sleep and rest! :) Congrats again, Momma!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you so much. :)

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    First of all, congratulations on the impending birth of a beautiful healthy little girl!
    I hate when people automatically feel the need to apologise for a child being special needs.
    Why would you apologise when the child is healthy and happy? Why apologise when the child is being born into a family and home full of love?

    Drives me mad!

    My little cousin has Down’s also, and I’ve had to pull up one or two people when we’ve been out together. People tend to assume she’s my daughter as she is quite young.
    I’ve had people look at us and say to me, under their breaths “O aren’t you VERY good to take her on”
    Or the worst- “You’re very BRAVE to choose a child like that”

    That’s where I see red and pointedly say- “aren’t you VERY good to feel the need to comment on a healthy child”

    She is my family, and no one should be revered as a hero for “choosing” a special needs child. A child hat is loved, is a child no matter what.
    She has been so loved from the moment she was conceived, my aunt waved away all concerns and apologies the doctors had to offer. she was just so happy her little girl was healthy and born without complication.

    So congratulations, may your little one have a fantastic life and lord knows, if your piece is anything to go by, you have so much love to pass on to her.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      I’ve had a lot of people call me brave, and I’m not sure I understand why. Aisha is a baby, not a wild animal or alien. Sure, I may be navigating uncertain terrain, but at the end of the day, she’s a BABY. And so far, she has charmed her way into the heart of everyone who meets her. She is just lovely.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    Congratulations and I hope you have a safe and speedy recovery.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you. It’s been pretty good thus far.

  • MaebykittyRN

    Congratulations! Also, thanks for already making me cry today. My cousin has downs, and she is a smart, sassy little girl. You can do this.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Aw. I hope happy tears. My story isn’t sad, and now that the babe is here, I couldn’t be happier. :)

  • JLH1986

    Many Congrats on your little one! Love and Light to you and yours!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks! So far, so good. We’re totally in love.

  • Steph

    You are amazing, mama! I want to punch the doctor that projected all that sorrow and disappointment on you. Shame on her/him. You are about the have the best day ever meeting your little girl. Oh and the whole “Wal-Mart greeter” line? Any kid has potential to do great things…and for some, those great things are living a happy life with great friends and family and a normal job, be it a greeter at a supermarket or an actress or…whatever makes her happy ..it was so inappropriate to say that to you!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks, Steph. I hope I can live up to her expectations. :) And I hope she exceeds everyone else’s.

  • Jallun-Keatres

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times again. My older sister has Down syndrome. THERE ARE SO MANY WORSE THINGS TO HAVE THAN DOWNS!!!!! She is pretty much a normal 26-year-old who happens to have some blocks in her thinking that cause her not to be able to do everything that most people can. Her diagnosis was a total surprise to my parents but they didn’t care; they raised her like a normal child so she IS for the most part a normal person. She is aware she is a Downy Buddy and is very proud of that and can identify another person in seconds flat- always running over to say hello.

    Also, the myth that they are always happy is BS! I know a few cranky, introverted people with Downs, just like how there is diversity in the whole population. My sister, while cheerful and happy most of the time, gets pissed off just like the rest of us.

    My advice is this: They are always developing, growing, and changing. It will take them longer to do the big milestones but, barring any other conditions, they will hit them. Even as an adult my sister is still progressing. She has finally hit the teenage years and has an opinion and attitude about everything. :3

    Congratulations on being a mom and enjoy raising a beautiful baby girl! I wish I knew you so I could have you meet my sister. She’d be soooo excited to meet your little one as well!

    • Kay_Sue

      Wait, so you’re telling me that human beings have different personalities based not on their “labels” but on their own individual selves? #SayItAintSo #PearlClutching

    • Lackadaisical

      I refuse to believe it. That would mean bothering to get to know people rather than guessing what they are like based on one aspect of them and then refusing to update my opinion of them when confronted with evidence. How am I to feel smugly superior now?

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      ^ Heh. That was kind of awesome. I chuckled. It hurts to chuckle.

    • Kay_Sue

      Hey you! I saw Eve’s update–I hope you are both doing well. Congratulations!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks, Kay! We are. Everything is coming up Aisha. :D I hope to update the blog tonight. I have a lot to tell!

    • Kay_Sue

      Excellent! I will be looking forward to it. Take care.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Love your explanation!!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you for your words. I’m learning to ignore the experts and pay more attention to my instincts. Your sister sounds like so much fun. And I love the term Downy Buddy. It’s pretty awesome.

  • Lauren_Alli

    That statistic was seriously disheartening. Thank goodness for people like yourself who can actually see the light in these situations! A child is a beautiful, wonderful gift, regardless. There shouldn’t be any other labels necessary.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you, Lauren. I agree. Children are a blessing.

  • keelhaulrose

    First, congratulations on the birth of your daughter. Many thoughts and prayers for a safe and happy delivery.
    Now, am I the only one getting rage-y over the autism comment? I have a little one on the spectrum and have worked with individuals with autism and while they aren’t conventionally love-y they do show they care in their own way. I’ll never forget how the boy I was aparaprofessional for would fetch my chair for table time so I could sit next to him.

    • Kelly

      You’re not the only one, I almost swallowed my tongue when I read that. My autistic son is one of the most gentle people I’ve ever encountered. Just because they may not be good at expressing their emotions doesn’t mean they don’t have them. Autistic does not equal sociopath.

    • Lackadaisical

      Not just you. Autistic and aspergic children are so very, very different as each child handles it in their own way. To write of autistic children as little monsters is awful and inaccurate. While some autistic children do rage against a confusing world and can be difficult to care for I would also say that some of the sweetest children I have known are also autistic. I run a beaver scout group (6 & 7 year olds) and we sometimes have parents ask us to take autistic children who function well enough to be in mainstream school in the hopes of helping them to cope socially. We have never had to turn them away for behavioral issues and the ones in my group have been lovely. Most are very high functioning but we did have a lovely little chap who was on the other end of the spectrum. He was lovely and sweet and the other children took care of him like he was a little brother and had no problems interacting with him as soon as they understood how he felt a little better.

    • Garavriel

      I was livid. I’m a certified therapeutic riding instructor and some of my favorite clients were the kids on the spectrum. I will never forget the absolutely joyous giggles of one little girl anytime her pony would trot and her sheer happiness when any of the other riders got to trot as well. Doing therapeutic riding gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing kids. Our program director always reminded us that when we got a kid’s file the diagnosis could give us a vague idea of what to expect, but every kid is different and has to be treated as such.

    • whiteroses

      My son’s pediatrician thinks that my little laddie might be on the spectrum. We won’t know for sure until we can get him evaluated by a specialist. After considering this (and I’m not going to lie, crying about it for a while) I came to the following conclusion: If he has it, he’s always had it. It doesn’t and won’t make a difference in the way we love him. We may have to adjust the way we parent, but doesn’t everyone have to make those adjustments, whether your kid is atypical or not?

      Autism or not- it doesn’t make him any less than the sweet, funny, lovely little boy that I gave birth to who’s been loved by everyone since the moment I found out I was pregnant. It doesn’t mean he’ll wake up in the morning and suddenly hate us. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I will ever stop loving him. It makes me so ragey when people suggest that not being neurotypical means that you’re less than.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Amen, sister.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      No, you definitely weren’t the only one angered by it. :) I love the support. You guys rock.

  • Kristen

    Congratulations on your daughter. I have a 7 month old daughter. The transition to “mommyhood” is tough and wonderful. I wish you the best. The first weeks of cuddles are so amazing and exhausting and special. Big hugs.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Kristen, I am sooooo digging this cuddly stage right now.

  • Lackadaisical

    Congratulations on the imminent birth of your daughter. I hope the birth goes well. Sorry that you have had such negative reactions throughout your pregnancy. When your baby arrives and people get to know her then people won’t question your choice as they will see that she is a darling, just like any other baby.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      She’s a charmer, and so far has won over every she’s met. She’s a flirty little thing.

  • Kelly

    “children with Down Syndrome are loving, gentle souls…very unlike children with Autism.”

    Wow, seriously? Fuck anyone who actually said that to you. Fuck them. That’s so offensive. My son is not a monster. What a bunch of ignorant assholes.

    Congratulations to you. I hope everything goes well and I can say from experience that having a kid who isn’t “normal” can be very hard at times and also amazing at times, just like most of the best things in life.

    • Kay_Sue

      Too true. This doctor appears to have been a general asshat on so many, many levels.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Yes. A Pharrell-sized asshat.

    • That_Darn_Kat

      I almost punched my screen when I read that. We have recently discovered (after 2 1/2 years) that my son does not have Autism, like we were originally diagnosed with. He hits all the markers except for the social one. He’s just too social at this stage (though when he was first misdiagnosed, he had a hard time connecting with anyone but immediate family). Does he have his rough edges? Oh hell yes. There are many times I have broken down in tears as I’ve held him so he couldn’t hurt himself. However, when he’s not having a meltdown, he is so sweet, kind, and considerate. Last time I was throwing up sick, he was in the bathroom, rubbing my back, getting me a wipe, bringing me water…all the things we do for him when he’s sick. I hate when people make assumptions about the type of person someone is just because of what they may or may not have been diagnosed with. Jerkfaces. Taco punches all around!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      The whole interview was just a study in WTF. And we were already so … overwhelmed by the weight of the initial diagnosis that neither of us had the wherewithal to pull out our personalities and give her what-for. We have a follow up appointment with her next month. Can’t wait.

  • Mikster

    I am glad you have the choice. Each woman deserves to make that choice for herself and her family based on their unique situation, resources and capabilities.

  • Kathleen Sullivan

    I adore this story. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you, Kathleen!

  • pineapplegrasss

    I applaud you and the tough choice you had to make. Or not so tough :) I too am a mommy to be of AMA and we had the markers too after the initial testing. I chose to forgo the amnio and come what may. I was having a BABY either way. I was also pushed to do the testing right away so that I could abort ASAP. Makes me want to throw up right now just thinking about it. I am thankful that women have choices, but that’s it, our choice. I went through a lot of fear of the unknown and did a lot of research too. You will be a great mother to your child, and I’m sure you’ll have hard times, but mothering is hard anyways. And what’s normal? Love and laughs and tears and joy. All children bring that. All my love to you and your daughter!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you! So far, so lovely. I was sickened by the abortion sell, but I realize that most people do terminate. While the doctor was prolly just going on experience, shame on her for assuming that I would be the same.

  • Katherine Handcock

    Congratulations on your daughter! I am sorry at the reactions you’ve been getting as you’ve shared her diagnosis. No matter what, she will bring tremendous joy to your life — and stress, as every child does ;-)

    And one other thing is obvious: your daughter is going to have kick-ass parents :-)

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Oh, thank you, Katherine. So far, she’s been a doll. We love her to bits. I can’t believe it’s two weeks already.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Congratulations on your first two weeks together! It only gets better :-) I loved my kids as newborns, but they get more and more fun as you get to start seeing the little person inside them!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you! And you’re right. She gives me about one or two good belly laughs a day.

  • SusannahJoy

    My list of things I was terrified of while pregnant did not include Down Syndrome. It just never seemed like a huge deal. Kids with it can still live fulfilling, happy lives. I was way more worried about major health or mental issues like cancer or schizophrenia (despite having no one in either side with either of those).

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      I worry about the possibility of her developing Leukemia; there’s a form which kids with DS are more susceptible to.

  • Amber Starr

    Best wishes to you, your partner, and your new baby girl. <3

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you, Amber. So far, we love her. :D

  • Tisa Berry

    The doctor was so ignorant. He made two blanket statements that people with DS are gentle and loving. I have an (almost) adult friend who has T21 and she hates those blanket statements. She always says, “I’m not gentle or loving, I can be a real b*tch when I wanna.” And believe me, she can. The blanket statement that children with autism are rough and unloving is not true. I work with a lot of kids with autism and some of them will hug you, love on you, and want to be held all the time. They give hugs and kisses to their moms and dads as well as their friends. All kids with autism are loving, they just might not wann be touched.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      I agree, Tisa. Blanket statements can be dangerous. For any child.

  • Tisa Berry

    Congrats on your daughter!!! Currently favorited your blog and I am reading up.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks for reading, Tisa. Hope to read your comments soon.

  • K.

    Pretty sure that your daughter will be a complex human being and that parenting her will be an amazing adventure.

    As it is for any parent of any child.

    Congratulations on what will be one of the greatest loves of your life!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thanks, K. :D

  • SarahJesness

    There’s one woman with Down syndrome who is a lawyer and has done a little acting on the side. If I made any effort to look around I’m sure I could find more examples of Down syndrome people being successful at things. So her future possibilities might be a bit more positive than Wal-Mart greeter. (not that there’s anything so wrong with being a Wal-Mart greeter)

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      I agree, Jess. On all points. Thank you.

  • That_Darn_Kat

    I was 20/21 when I was pregnant with my first, and I remember the doctor offering me all the tests at my 20 week appointment. I declined them all. He sat me down and started explaining what these tests could determine and how I should have them, so I could abort if there was an issue. I looked him straight in the eye and told him there would be no reason I would abort for something like Downs, so it just wasn’t worth testing for, and almost walked out the door. He told me that, for young first time moms, he had seen many want that option, and just wanted me to know it was there, though he didn’t necessarily support it. He, like me, saw nothing wrong with being a parent of a special needs child, but felt he had to make sure I understand what he was saying.

    When I was pregnant with my 2nd, I made sure to explain my reasons for turning down the testing immediately, just so I didn’t go through something similar.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      I can’t say that at 20/21 I would have handled this situation quite the same way, but I’m happy that I made the decision to continue the pregnancy. I have an awesome little girl…

  • Myriam

    I don’t have a kid with Down syndrome, but my parents are a relief family to kids with all kind of disabilities (from Down to Autism to Developmental Delays, etc…). I have 2 healthy kids (knock on wood), but I have to say that I would’ve need my pregnancies if Trisomy 21 had been diagnosed. I have no problem with raising a child with Down Syndrome… most of the kids I know are sweet, intelligent in their own way. However, I have kids with the expectations that they will grow up and move out and life a life of their own. That is a lot less likely to happen when you’re talking about an adult with Down Syndrome. That was my thought process. You will be a good mom to an amazing kid, and amazing adult. She might need more support than others, but you will face her specific barriers head-on, I’m sure. Congratulations, and as I would say to any new mom, GOOD LUCK!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you.

  • GPMeg

    WOW, I am feeling super punchy towards your doctors right now!

    Congrats on a healthy, and I’m sure beautiful baby girl! You and your husband sound like you’ll be amazing parents!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you, Meg. She makes it easy to be her mama. I feel lucky.

  • Lian

    Awesome to read the update! YAY baby!

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      thanks, Lian… ;)

  • Mila535

    Congratulations, and welcome to the world, precious baby girl!! Thank you so much for sharing your story. After numerous miscarriages, we had miracle b/g twins three years ago and our daughter has Ds. We were also given the abortion sell, except it was “selective reduction” instead, and felt demoralized by every trip to the doctor–until we switched to an OB who celebrated the fact that we were having two beautiful, amazing, PERFECT miracles along with us!

    I’m avidly pro-choice, but devastated by the % of pregnancies that are terminated soley due to a T21 diagnosis. Human diversity is awe-inspiring, and we should be celebrating difference, not eradicating it. I’m grateful for those who are working tirelessly to educate doctors so that women have more up-to-date information about what raising a child with Down syndrome is actually like (http://downsyndromepregnancy.org/) — and for YOU, because sharing your story with the world will, no doubt, change minds, and lives!

    I echo the concerns of other posters about the labels people put on individuals with Ds. They are just as unique and different from one another as we are. As for our precocious spitfire of a 3yr old, she is equal parts affectionate and obstinate, delightful and crazy-making — just like her neuro-typical brother ;)

    Welcome to a truly wonderful club, and thank you, again!

    p.s. There’s an incredible discussion board on Babycenter if you ever need advice, or just want to share pictures of your beautiful miracle girl with a group of parents who will love her as much as you do! http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a315/down_syndrome

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Amazing. Thank you so much, Mila. I am pro-choice as well, but I couldn’t bring myself to terminate. I was adamant that Peanut deserved a chance at life, and now that she’s here, I’m so glad I fought for her. I’d have missed out on a lovely baby girl.

  • melody lehrman

    My daughter is 3 1/2 yo and also has trisomy 21, welcome to parenthood. A child, any child, steals your heart and just like any other child…each child has their own way of learning, And you will meet other parents who have some things in common with your family. My daughter is amazing. Her infant years were so amazing and wonderful and I hope you cherish every second and take lots of pictures and video. It goes by all too quickly. The best advise I have…is to remember …Play is teaching. Play is therapy. Play play play . a lot of parents have the TV teach their kids. (Don’t get me wrong…my daughter watches sesame street, signing time, Daniel tiger and ….ugh…barney) so I limit her TV time. We have read to her since she was 2 weeks old and I swear by 3 months she was trying to turn the page of good night moon. Feel free to friend me on Facebook. I’m happy to hear your story. I’m happy you made that decision too.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      great advice, Melody. Thank you.

  • Chelsea DeLoney

    Congratulations that is so amazing! I remember sitting in the OB’s office having that conversation. I don’t know about others but I didn’t even test for Down Syndrome because children are a blessing and that has no bearing on any well thought decision to be a mom. And that Walmart greeter comment was beyond foul and disrespectful not only to you and your daughter, but people with Downs and Walmart greeter.

    • http://thiswasntinthemanual.com Joanne B

      Thank you, Chelsea. I would only do amnio again because I like to be prepared. Going into Peanut’s amnio, I was aware that if the diagnosis came back positive it had no bearing on whether or not I would keep her; rather, I wanted to know so I could educate myself on what to “expect” and how to best help her succeed in life.

    • Chelsea DeLoney

      That’s a great reason and makes me re-think the test. It’s how the doctor told me about it that put me off because she talked about it in terms of termination. Preparing yourself is always the best thing to do!

  • AprilM

    I read this article and immediately thought of this video that I recently watched on City TV. It’s very uplifting. http://www.citynews.ca/2014/02/18/the-inside-story-the-brampton-bakery-thats-shattering-stigmas/

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