“Expecting parents felt prepared thanks to unexpected lived experience: The Sunshine of our Lives”
Wouldn’t Change A Thing
When I met Tina in 2004, I had no idea of the ride we would go on as friends. When we met, our eldest children were in class together at primary school. We used to stand together chatting each morning and afternoon and I used to love watching her daughter Amy playing while we talked. Amy has Down Syndrome and I always had lots of questions to ask Tina about Amy.
I think this was the universe getting me ready for what was to come.
In 2005 I became pregnant with our third child. We had been wanting another baby, so was thrilled when we discovered I was pregnant.
Everything was going well, as my previous pregnancies had and our busy life kept going with football training, basketball training and many other things my two older boys were doing. Heading in the same direction as the other two boys, I started imagining life with 3 boys playing footy and basketball and all the parties and other events we would be going to. I talked about having another child go through the same primary school and started envisaging what life would be like.
At 15 weeks pregnant, after a couple of scans and blood tests, my vision of my family changed. Not a slap in the face, but the direction we were heading was not the one I had imagined.
We had an amniocentesis because there was a question of Down Syndrome. The results came through very quickly because of my gestation and we found out we were having a boy with Down Syndrome. Because of my friend Tina and her story of when they found out about Amy post birth, we wanted to find out while I was pregnant. Not for any other reason than to tell our family and friends.
Tina talked about grief and sadness when they found out and I didn’t want any of that once the baby arrived. If we were going to go through those emotions, I wanted that to happen while I was pregnant. We could research and get support before our baby arrived. And that’s just what we did. I joined the support group Tina ran and met many lovely ladies and their gorgeous babies, who ranged from 1-7 in age. I got to see how these kids behaved and how their families did things with them. For the most part, it was a lot of the same things we did with our boys.
We were able to attend gatherings with these families together so our boys could meet the kids and Mick could meet other dads. So, meeting Tina was meant to be. It was always going to happen.
By the time my baby was ready to meet us, I had appointments in early intervention and paediatrics already booked. I was very prepared thanks to the guidance of Tina and the lovely ladies I had met. We still went through many emotions during the pregnancy which is natural. It’s the unknown. Things were different to what we expected, so we had many moments of uncertainty. But when I thought about it, I felt the same when I was pregnant with my first son. I didn’t know what to expect. We needn’t have been so worried though, because when our son arrived, he made a grand entrance screaming the house down. It was amazingly beautiful, and we were so relieved. He was 5 weeks early so we weren’t expecting his lungs to be so strong.
Our little Darcy had arrived, and we couldn’t have been happier. He was gorgeous and had resemblances to his brothers. He was tiny but he was PERFECT. Life was very busy with his brothers’ sport and school and Darcy’s appointments but we couldn’t have been happier. There were some stumbling blocks along the way, but as a family and with amazing support, we got through all of them. Some harder than others, but we got through them and helped our little man to keep shining.
Darcy is 14 years old now and is the sunshine in our lives. He makes us laugh and keeps us on our toes. He is very social, loves football, basketball, singing, dancing and hanging out with his friends. He attended mainstream as well as specialist school during his primary years and flourished doing this. He teaches us and so many others lots of wonderful lessons. Sometimes these are only small lessons, but sometimes they’re HUGE.
The best lessons I think he teaches everyone (because we already know how amazing he is) are:-
• It’s ok to be different. (We all are anyway).
• It’s ok if you don’t succeed the first time…sometimes you’re not quite ready.
• Dance like there’s nobody watching and sing like there’s nobody listening.
• Do what you love to do.
Our boys are definitely the most amazingly greatest things that have happened to us as a family and Darcy finished off our family perfectly.
I wouldn’t change him for the world.