Sunday, April 15, 2012

How we knew...

Since Sam arrived, I've had many people ask me if we knew before he was born that he had Down's. The answer is no. We never did any testing during any of my pregnancies, because quite frankly...what's the point? For us, it wouldn't have changed anything and with the possibility of false positives, I didn't want to risk worrying over something that wasn't even there. What's funny is that during this pregnancy, I had a total of 6 ultrasounds - all plain old ultrasounds with the exception of the one time the tech said "well, we have a few minutes left, would you like a 3D image of your little guy?" Are you kidding? Of course I would! So, she left the room to grab the appropriate equipment and came back. By the time she had it all plugged in and ready to go, Sam had one entire arm and his other hand completely covering his face. I think this would have been the only ultrasound we may have discovered some "visual suspicions" that he had Down's. So, I (thankfully) spent the entire pregnancy almost worry free, believing everything was perfect and "normal."

So, how did we know? People look at Sam and say "how do you know he has it?" Until we receive his blood test results, I suppose we won't know anything for sure....but what we saw immediately and what the doctor pointed out to us was:
*his eyes are slightly almond shape and slant upwards just a bit (this is ALL I saw right away)
*his ears are set slightly lower on his head than some other newborns
*he has a "simian crease" on is right hand - meaning that he has a crease that goes all the way across his hand rather than two that sort of overlap.
*the back of his neck and head are slightly flatter and have more "fleshy skin" than other newborns.
*he has less muscle tone than other newborns, meaning he's kind of "floppy" (although I really beg to differ with this one, he is one strong little dude!)

That sums up the "typical" visual indicators that nurses and doctors look for when they suspect a baby has been born with Down's. As Sam grows, some of these visuals will change - either lessen or worsen. What's funny though is that when I look at him, it's hard to see any of these things. Now as his mom, I suppose a part of me doesn't want to see it, but I also believe already that the love I feel for him is so strong I only see beauty in it's most perfect form when I look at him. He looks into my eyes like any other newborn and he grasps my fingers so tightly it's as if he'll never let go. He is so perfect, just WAIT until you meet him!

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