The Moment I Realized Everything Was Going To Be OK, Despite the Diagnosis

My fiancé and I had just gotten engaged and were discussing our marriage and having children. We each already had an older daughter from our previous relationships. I was 33 at the time, and we decided, to hell with it — we’ll do the kid thing first, then the wedding.

It was September 2013 when we began trying. I found out I was pregnant in October. From the beginning, I knew this child was special. I didn’t know why, but I just knew. I also knew we would have a boy, though no one believed me. The pregnancy progressed as usual: vomiting, grumpiness. In one ultrasound, we learned we were in fact having a boy and settled on the name Zachary (Zak for short). The testing to check for genetic issues came back with a 1 in 100 chance of Down syndrome.

When I received that information I said, “OK, no big deal, that’s a 1 percent chance.” I doubted it would happen. My water broke at 2 a.m. on June 23, 2014 — I was 36 weeks and 5 days along. Zak entered the world at 2:36 p.m. that day; he cried out, and then there was a huge crash of thunder — my boy came into this world making noise! His Apgar scores were great, and we all held him and loved him and marveled at his perfection.

About 24 hours later, the on-call pediatrician came in looking solemn. She looked at me while I was holding Zak and said, “I’m pretty sure your baby has Down syndrome. ” So matter of fact. So blunt. I was honestly shocked. I looked down at Zak and couldn’t hold back the tears. I didn’t even know why I was crying. I think society has just always made Down syndrome appear to be such a negative thing, so I assumed it was. Boy, was I wrong.

20150202_073153 Since my 8-year-old daughter was in the room, I placed Zak in the bassinet and went into the bathroom, knowing with all my hormones out of whack, I was gonna lose it. Two minutes later, my fiancé came into the hospital room bathroom and wrapped his arms around me and said, “Why are you crying?” I couldn’t even tell him a reason. He then said, “It doesn’t matter. He is our son.” That is the moment I knew it was gonna be OK no matter what. My fiancé was right. Nothing mattered. Zachary is our son.

The karyotype came back, and Zak did in fact have Down syndrome. I buried myself in information. I needed to know everything. I quickly became an advocate and knew I would fight for my child. We all easily accepted his diagnosis. Zak is now 7 months old and simply amazing. He’s reached all his milestones on time so far. He has no major medical concerns. He does have a small heart murmur and aortic stenosis. He has acid reflux. But our lives are just like every other family’s life. We have three beautiful children — one just happens to have been made with a little extra to love. We plan to marry in October 2016 (I want to wait until Zak can walk, so he can walk me down the aisle).

Zak has brought our entire family closer together. He’s the puzzle piece that was missing. Together we’re a family. To some we may not seem normal, but to us, our family is just as it was meant to be.

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