My name is Jade, I have just hit 30 (how depressing!) and am an Aussie living in the UK with my gorgeous wife, Lauren and beautiful baby boy, Kyan.
Lauren and I met back in June 2004 when she was backpacking around Australia. By April 2005 I had my bags packed and moved to the other side of the world to be with her, trading my bikini and boardies for coats and scarves. We had our civil partnership in 2009 and Kyan joined our family in August this year.
Time went by so slowly the next few weeks as we waited anxiously for our 8 week scan. We wanted to ‘see it to believe it’ and were so excited when we saw our little bean for the first time. It was tiny but already we could see the heart pumping. Seeing as we had undergone IVF treatment, we had another scan at 10 weeks and were then handed over to our local hospital for our 12 weeks scan. All three scans went well; we had the blood and nuchal tests done at 12 weeks and they came back ‘low risk’ for Downs Syndrome. We were relieved and couldn’t wait to meet our gorgeous little baby.
Our 20 week scan was a bit of a shock. By pure chance, the sonographer picked up what they suspected to be a ‘double-bubble’ (stomach problem – better known as duodenal artresia). She sent us home (with instructions not to ‘google’ anything) and then we were told the specialist wanted to see us to carry out a more detailed scan. He confirmed the ‘double-bubble’ and seeing as we had spent the night ‘googling’ we knew this meant there was a 30% chance our baby had Downs Syndrome. They offered us an amnio then and there, and took us into a room to explain what the procedure was and gave us information on it. Being a teacher, I like to know everything about everything, and well, both of us like to be organised and prepared (as much as we can be) so we opted to have the amnio. We had no intention of terminating, but we wanted to know the diagnosis so we had time to prepare. The specialist checked for all of the other usual markers for DS and everything came back normal – nuchal fold, femur length, nasal bone etc. So we weren’t really worried.
As you can imagine, the phone call we received a few days later changed our lives forever. Being told the test was positive and our baby had Downs Syndrome was something you never expect to hear. Again I remember exactly where we were and how we reacted. We sat on the couch and cried and cried. We told immediate family straight away, who reminded us of our options and told us they would support us no matter what. Of course, we were always keeping our baby, but it is scary how doctors can offer to take your ‘problem’ away just like that. We didn’t see it as a problem, just a challenge. And as our lovely midwife at the hospital kept saying to us – no one can guarantee a healthy, well behaved, intelligent child.
The support we found online was amazing. We joined the Down Syndrome Association straight away, and they sent us loads of information. We stalked forums and websites for weeks, and even went along to a Downs Syndrome support group to meet some families before our baby was born. Meeting all of these wonderful people before Kyan was born made things a lot
easier. We felt well prepared and very excited about the challenges that lay ahead!