You should know I never run out of wonderful stories to tell about my beautiful identical twin sons who happen to have Down syndrome. As I type they are not-so-quietly playing with their pirate-men… having duels between them. But, the bewitching hour is upon us so this will be quick….
My boys were born via C-section at 32 weeks. It was a tough pregnancy, completely unrelated to their as yet undiagnosed Down syndrome. No sooner was I rolled into the NICU than the Neonatologist told us they were healthy and strong and breathing on their own. But, she continued, she was concerned about some “signs” and was sending out a blood test for Down syndrome. I was immediately relieved that my sons (we hadn’t found out the gender before their births) were breathing on their own and alive. The multitude of incorrect in-utero diagnoses we’d suffered had, thankfully, not come to fruition. My husband, however, looked, for just a split second, like he took a shot to the gut. I thought if he could have, he’d have escaped into the nearest closet to scream at the top of his lungs, “NO!” But, it was a fleeting moment and together we said, “That’s fine. Thank God they’re alive and well!” My husband went home that night to care for our daughter as I stayed in the hospital with our newborn boys to rest, recover and nurse them.
The next morning, when my husband came back I asked him how he was feeling about the news. First, he said we should just wait and see what the tests said. But, I knew from the way everyone was talking to me that the test was just a formality and their simple way of breaking the news to us. Our boys had Down syndrome. So, I shared this with my husband. He expressed sadness that they might not be able to do some things that other kids do… like play soccer, maybe. But, I told him not to worry. The boys would be able to do all the things we’d dreamed of… They’ll walk. They’ll talk. They’ll run and ride bikes. They can play soccer if they want to. They’ll go to school and get jobs. It’ll all be fine. He thought about this, then recalled a conversation we’d had about Olivia when she was born, “Remember we said she can be whatever she wants to be. If she wants to pull weeds from people’s gardens for a living, that’s fine. Whatever makes her happy. Brian and Michael are no different. I don’t see Down syndrome. I see two babies who need loving and feeding and diapering just like any other babies!”
These words have been our guide ever since.