My Story on World Down Syndrome Day

Thank you to our much loved Lifer who shared her story with us today and continues to be motivated by the indifference shown by this doctor to help care for and support expectant mums.

In August 1991 we moved house. Anyone one who’s been there and done it knows the stress you are under, labeling boxes with “this is kitchen” and then for days later still trying to track down the box with the kettle in!

Two months down the line I was sitting in the doctor’s surgery telling him I had missed at least one period and that I thought it was down to the stress of moving house. I remember him laughingly saying the house had better be large enough to accommodate a cot..! When had that happened!

So there I was, pregnant with my third child.

I went to see Brenda, my midwife, and went through all the “normal” tests. A few weeks later I got a call from Brenda asking if she could come by my house to see me. Sitting on the sofa she explained that the hospital had “mislaid” my blood tests and I needed to make an appointment to go to my local hospital to have more bloods taken.

A week later

My husband took me to the hospital to comply with what I had been asked to do. I was ushered into a room whilst my hubby was left sitting reading some out of date article on Spanish football in the waiting room.

The nurse asked if I knew why I was there, to which I replied: “to have some repeat blood tests done.”

At this point in burst a man in a white coat who immediately launched into quoting figures and percentages at me about Down’s Syndrome and why having this baby would not be healthy for me. And, that the termination could be booked in for the end of the week.

I cannot tell you how I felt at that precise moment.

All these years later I still couldn’t tell you.

Just numb.

He told me I was silly

I told him I didn’t want an abortion, to which he told me I was silly and not thinking straight. He said an amniocenteses would be done now. I remember in the fog asking for Dom, my husband to come in. To this the Doctor told me I didn’t need him and that I just need have this test and then book my appointment.

Thankfully, the nurse called Dom in. He demanded to know what this was all about. The long and short was that there was no lost blood tests, they had examined the bloods and found a Higher percentage of protein markers than normal. The Doctor said this would most likely mean I was carrying a Down’s baby and we did not want to be “stuck” in that “situation.”

I was taken to another room and the amniocenteses was carried out. It was not until afterwards we were informed of the risk factor of miscarriage after having this procedure. In disbelief we left the hospital. For the first couple of hours neither of us could talk, we were completely devastated. I always remember Dom heading out of the door to go and pick our other kids up from their grandma’s and him saying:

 “What the …?! We are not getting rid of our baby”

Sitting on my own I thought about those words and what that could mean. My mind went to my friend’s brother, Ben.

Ben

Ben was Down’s. 14 years old. I thought of all the hard work his mom and dad put in on a day to day basis.  But most of all I thought about the love and happiness he showed and brings to the people he meets. When you go into their house the first thing you get is the biggest hug from Ben. When Ben was born his mom had been in her mid 40’s. And here I was, 26 years old.  With a loving husband, a loving family. This baby I was carrying would be loved no less than my other kids.

….What the heck had I done having that test…I could have ended my pregnancy.

I hadn’t felt baby move all day.

That day was one of the longest 24 hours of my life.

3 weeks later we were back in the same hospital room waiting for the results. The same nurse there with us. She looked at us holding hands and asked if we were ok.

Dom said “fine thanks just want to hear what’s to be said and get out of here”

She walked over to us put one hand on each of our shoulders and said

“don’t tell him I’ve told you but everything is ok”

A couple of minutes later in came the Doctor. He couldn’t just tell us, he started quoting facts and figures. It was when he said:

“its not saying your child won’t be born with a squashed nose or a bent ear”

that we got up and walked out..

Years later I am still shocked by the pressures that are put on women to abort because somebody else sees it as their “duty” to tell them what they should do. I was lucky to have a loving partner a strong family and my own values and beliefs to make me strong.

Our daughter was born in May 92 and loved unconditionally.

 


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One person is talking about My Story on World Down Syndrome Day

  1. Rosemary Elliott says:

    She is so lovely. Well done Mum and Dad for fighting the prejudice. How can doctor's be so unfeeling? They need counselling training.

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