“BRINGING DARCY INTO THE WORLD”
Julie Fisher from Victoria, Australia, recalls the moment her son, Darcy, came in to the world to the sound of applause and cheering.
Our family was a family of five — me, my husband Mick, my stepdaughter Bree (38y who lives independently), our son Caleb (23y) and our son Blake (20y). When Blake, our youngest, turned two, I started to yearn for that fourth child I had always wanted. I think a lot of women go through that feeling when their babies start to turn into toddlers. Mick and I talked about it and decided at that point to leave our family as it was.
Life was busy. Caleb was at school and was involved in football and basketball. Blake was at kinder, making friends and enjoying his school activities. I was busy working at a job I loved a secretary at an accounting firm. Mick and I were enjoying our little family, watching Bree and the boys grow and make decisions on the activities they wanted to be doing. We were a joyful, happy family.
In early 2005 we had a bit of a scare when we thought I was pregnant. (It actually wasn’t a scare for me because I was quite excited!) Although Mick and I were a bit nervous about extending our family, we decided it was going to be great. Unfortunately, the pregnancy was a false alarm, but it became a turning point where we actively decided to grow our family by one more.
Not long after this, I once again fell pregnant. With Caleb and Blake, I had glowed through each pregnancy and this one was no different, apart from feeling a little more nauseous. Despite that,
I enjoyed the feeling of being pregnant again and loved watching my tummy grow.
During my initial sonogram, I noticed that the sonographer kept measuring the back of my baby’s neck. My friend, Tina, has a gorgeous daughter, Amy, who has Down syndrome, and we had often discussed our pregnancies. So I asked the sonographer,
Do you think that my baby has Down syndrome?
He couldn’t say yes or no and told me he was just double-checking his measurements because the measurement he had was slightly high.
Somehow, I knew immediately that our baby had Down syndrome. I just had that gut feeling. Mick and I decided to get a second opinion and to have an amniocentesis to find out the diagnosis. Having spoken so often with Tina about the emotional rollercoaster she and her husband experienced after Amy’s post-birth diagnosis, Mick and I wanted to learn as much as we could while I was pregnant. We also wanted to tell our family and friends before our baby arrived. We wanted happiness and the same celebrations we’d had with Caleb and Blake when our baby arrived.
Of course, we went through our own rollercoaster of emotions during the pregnancy and struggled at times, but we were also able to connect with other families and learn about the support and therapies that would be available for our little bundle — who we now knew was another little boy. We were fortunate to be able to book our son into early intervention and also to find a knowledgeable paediatrician.
I loved having this organised and felt like we were on top of everything.
One day, as I sat with the group of mothers Tina regularly invited for coffee, the talk turned to how they all went into early labour with their babies with Down syndrome. With still five weeks to go until my due date, I wasn’t worried at all about our little boy coming early. I knew we had plenty of time to finalise the last-minute details before our baby arrived.
Boy, was I wrong! The very next morning, I felt a slight trickle as I went to the shops to get Caleb and Blake the things they needed for school that day. Certain that everything was fine, I focused on getting home, getting the boys ready for school, and taking them there as I normally would.
By the time I got home, there was no doubt at all that my waters had broken. It was pandemonium as Mick and I organised the boys for school and got our friends, Brian and Tracey, to take them there while we went to hospital. Tracey later told me that while Blake was so excited about us having a new baby, Caleb, being older, knew the baby was early. He was worried his little brother wouldn’t be okay.
Once Mick and I arrived at hospital, I started having contractions, but the doctors were able to stop those, keeping our boy where he was for as long as they could. Because of our baby’s prenatal diagnosis, I had been transferred to a larger hospital which was better equipped to handle early births. At lunchtime the following day, after a very intense labour that began at 2am, we welcomed Darcy into our family via caesarean section. Although the delivery went smoothly, Mick and I were a bit nervous because Darcy had arrived five weeks early.
You’d never have known he was early because Darcy entered the world like a rock star!
His strong lungs let the room know he was here. Actually, being in that delivery room was like being at a rock concert. Because we knew in advance that Darcy had Down syndrome, every medical professional in there had a student attending, so the room was packed. (It is quite uncommon here in Australia to have a pre-birth diagnosis, so everyone was interested in seeing the birth of this little miracle we called Darcy.)
The cheering and clapping and love in the room that day was amazing. I still feel all that emotion as though it was happening now.
This beautiful little boy balanced our family perfectly. Darcy got very used to being around lots of people because of all the activities his sister and brothers were doing. He happily participates in dance, bowling and basketball and loves to go to concerts and the theatre. Darcy is now fourteen years old and enjoys life to the fullest. We don’t know yet what he will want to do when he gets older, but we will support him in whatever choices he makes. Darcy is growing into such a wonderful young man, and we are all extremely proud of him. We wouldn’t change him for anything in the world.
‘The Unexpected Journey‘ written by mum, Julie Fisher visit here.
“The Unexpected Journey is about our journey with our youngest son Darcy who has Down Syndrome. I have written the book to share our ups and downs, highs and lows and the wonderful community we are now a part of because of this not so little boy”
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