Moms and Dads

Read The Touching Story This Mom Wrote About The Moment She Found Out Her Son Had Down Syndrome

In honor of World Down Syndrome Day, we pay tribute to the families who’ve dealt with the unexpected with grace

Becoming a parent to a child whose needs differs from others is never easy. It is a rollercoaster of emotions — excitement at first, at the prospect of a new child, then heartbreak when the doctor breaks the devastating news that something is wrong with your child. Then there’s that bittersweet moment when you come to terms with reality and understand that there is sunshine at the end of it all. Such is the story of mom Iyett Mesa. When she found out that the fourth child she was carrying had Down Syndrome, she wrote this incredibly touching post about her experience.

The big reveal

It was my 4th pregnancy and everyone was looking forward for us to finally have a baby girl. I was also excited to finally break the chain of being a boy mom. My best friends wanted to do a gender reveal, something we didn’t do with our other kids, so, I thought I better schedule for an ultrasound soon. And so I did.

The ultrasound

I was 19 weeks pregnant. I was lying there waiting for the sonologist to print my baby’s picture with his/her gender, which I would safely put in a white envelope marked “Do Not Open”. The wait was longer than usual.

This was my fourth pregnancy, so I knew the drill. The long wait made me feel scared and anxious. In my head, I thought “What’s taking so long, we’re only checking the gender.” So I decided to ask if everything’s okay.

“I’m just checking something,” said the sonologist. So I waited more. She put some more gel on the probe and scanned all parts of my abdomen until it hurt.

The moment of truth

Then she asked me these questions while still looking at the screen:
“Did you get german measles during the start of pregnancy?”
“Do you have history of diabetes?”
“Do you smoke?”
“Did you get exposed to radiation?”

And I answered, “NO” to all.

“Your baby has pleural effusion, there is water in his lungs, he also has a congenital heart disease called AVSD, it’s Atrioventricular Septal Defect which basically means he has a big hole in the middle of his heart”.

She then showed me the screen but all I saw was a blurry sea of black and white. She proceeded in telling me that she also found several more defects. Around this time, I was already in tears but I was trying hard to listen to what she was telling me so I could remember everything when I had to tell my husband.

Then, she goes, “Your baby may have down syndrome based on our findings. But let’s do a confirmatory test after you see your OB.”

When it hurts…

I felt a punch in my gut, thrice.

As soon as she left the room, tears flowed down my cheeks and I couldn’t stop it. I froze and was speechless for a moment and couldn’t process what I just heard.

But as in every moment of helplessness and weakness, I turned to God in complete surrender and prayed, “Why, Lord, Why? I know you have a reason, but please please please save him, heal him.”

I gathered some strength to stand up and walked to my OB’s clinic right across the ultrasound room. She looked at the result and there was silence.

I remember how gently and subtly she explained to me what this congenital heart defect means, that some survive but others don’t and we cannot tell when it will happen. She assured me that there is nothing I did to have caused this given my history and sometimes it just happens.

Feelings of guilt

I was crying the entire time, even as I walked out of the clinic, down to the hallway and back to the car. And as soon as I got in, I bawled my eyes out. I let it all out, all the emotion that consumed me, I cried it out. I thought to myself, I still need to come home to my 3 kids and they cant’t see me exhausted from crying.

I mustered some strength and drove home. As soon as I parked the car in the garage, I saw my dad who also just got home and before he could even ask, I bawled yet again. He hugged me and I felt so weak again. I had yet to tell my husband. I walked inside the house to my 3 kids and went about our regular afternoon routine.

Moving forward

All this time, my mind was wandering, my heart was feeling the guilt, and my body feeling frail. I said to myself, I am giving myself this day to feel sorry, guilty and scared, but tomorrow, I have to get over my emotions and start reading up, eat healthier, connect to moms who have babies with the same condition, look up for the best doctors in town, MAKE-A-PLAN.

I have to do something because my emotions won’t get me anywhere. I need to make sure I provide my little one a safe and healthy place to stay even more so he has better fighting chance.

And this is how I found out about Rocco’s condition, at 19 weeks of pregnancy. Some moms only discover about their baby’s condition upon giving birth, while others, like in my case, are detected early through congenital anomaly scan or even just the regular pelvic ultrasound.

There will be moments of worry, confusion, guilt, weakness and doubt because of the uncertainties that comes along with the condition, but CARRY ON. There is a wonderful journey ahead. I hope by sharing our story it would help other families overcome the first part of a beautiful story that is about to unfold.

Thank you for sharing your story, Iyett.

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