By ELIANA TARDIO

It has been more than 6 years since my daughter was born. Her unexpected diagnosis of Down syndrome kept me frozen and living with uncertainty for her first few weeks of life. I already had a child with Down syndrome, my 2 year-old son, and becoming the mother of two kids with Down syndrome really made me think of the future and my ability to take care of two kids with special needs.
In general she was a very healthy newborn. She was born two weeks before her due date (my water broke while I was running to catch my son in a pool party), but she was already a healthy 7 pounds and 19 inches long—pretty good weight and height for a baby with an extra chromosome. I delivered her after 12 hours of labor, with no epidural and no pain medicine. I always knew I wanted to be completely conscious when I first held her in my arms and welcomed her. I didn’t know if she would be born with Down syndrome, so I also wanted to look at her closely for any sign of condition. It turned out I didn’t need to, as her characteristics were very obvious and the nurse told me about her condition immediately after she was born.
The first thought that came to my mind was, “Oh my God. This cannot be happening to me again.” Suddenly I heard myself sobbing, but it was weird feeling. My mind was still processing but my body was already reacting to the biggest fear of my life: having a second child with Down syndrome.
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