Welcome to Our House - The Analogy ©

Having a baby is special. For some, it’s a lifelong dream, for others, a wonderful surprise. Either way, many of us have thought about taking this journey and whether it’s planned or a pleasant surprise, we all have preconceived ideas about what our child will look and be like. But what if it isn’t what we planned or expected? This is a short story I have written for parents who have or are expecting an exceptionally special child.

Welcome to our House – An analogy

After many months of dreaming, you finally decide it’s time. You are going to build that perfect house of your dreams. You have saved and saved, and now it’s time to put your plan into action. You find a wonderful, perfect piece of land in the city. It’s exactly what you are looking for – because it’s the plan that everyone talks about. You envision the all brick house sitting on luscious green grass, surrounded by a white picket fence. Inside is a marble foyer leading into a family room with beautiful oak hardwood floors. Granite lines the kitchen counter tops and there is an island sink in the middle. Upstairs has four perfect bedrooms and the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and an enormous walk-in closet, of course. It’s truly a dream come true, and it’s only a matter of time. You purchase the land and think to yourself, in nine short months, you will have it all.

But suddenly your agent calls to tell you, the land is not properly zoned, and the city has not approved it for building your perfect home. They have instead, given you land in the country, where an old country home sits. You are absolutely devastated, your dreams vanishing right before your eyes. You know you can’t back out now, you need a place to live, and despite it not being what you wanted, you know that somehow you will manage and that you can continue on.

You tell everyone what has happened, and everyone is disappointed, some even offering their condolences. You know that everyone else has a nice city home, and that was what you had planned, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you must learn to live in the country.

You go to see the property every month until closing and something funny happens. You start to fall in love with the place. The air is fresh, it’s peaceful and serene. There’s a pond on the land, and the house, though not a new all brick home, is quaint, and has lots of hidden potential. You soon realize it’s not a awful place, it’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than the city, less noisy and flamboyant, but it’s beautiful none the less. And in the process, you soon realize you may even get to meet some new and wonderful neighbours.

Its closing day and you suddenly find yourself full of anticipation, but you are still a little worried. After all, it isn’t what you had originally hoped for, and the house may need some repairs. But you are determined to accept it, and tackle everything one step at a time. You open the front door, and suddenly you are thrilled with what you see. The house is lovely, and has lots of character. The rooms are smaller but it’s decorated with beautiful attention and detail. The kitchen has marble instead of granite, and the bathroom has a soaker tub instead of a Jacuzzi. There isn’t a walk-in closet in sight, but the rooms all come with an indescribable view. Somehow, you just know that it was always meant to be and that this is now home.

This is my analogy of what it will be like for people who discover that they will be caring for a baby with Down syndrome. For us, it is not a terrible place to be, it is a journey full of surprises, milestones and discovery like any other child. And as the story suggests, sometimes it’s only a matter of ‘point of view’, and surprisingly, once you have been there, you don’t want to be anywhere else. The journey, like all others doesn’t come without some bumps in the road, but once you find your way, it’s all about the place you discovered, in most cases - quite by random chance
Author: Sandi Graham-McWade, Copyright
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Characteristics and Health Concerns

The following article is written by Stephanie Mamayson for the Canadian Down syndrome Society.  Here you will read about some characteristics and health concerns that people with Down syndrome may have.


Characteristics

There are several physical characteristics that are more common for babies with Down syndrome. They may include chubby cheeks, large, round eyes, larger tongue, smaller limbs and smaller body frame.




Newborns with Down syndrome look like babies who do not have Down syndrome. Babies and children with Down syndrome look like other members of their family.


Health Concerns


Children with Down syndrome may face health complications beyond the usual childhood illnesses. Problems such as some congenital malformations of the heart can be life-threatening where other conditions are not as serious. More than 40 per cent of children born with Down syndrome have a congenital heart malformation. Because of this high incidence, an echocardiogram is recommended. The diagnosis of a heart problem does not mean the baby is, or will become, seriously ill. The extent of heart problems varies greatly.


Hypothyroidism is more common in newborns and children with Down syndrome. It is important that blood tests are repeated several times in the first few years, and annually after that, to ensure early detection and appropriate treatment.


Some degree of hearing loss, which is most often due to frequent ear infections, affects a high percentage of children with Down syndrome. Adequate hearing is critical to the development of good language skills, so periodic medical check-ups should include visualization of the ear canals to ensure no infection is present. Vision problems are also fairly common in many children with Down syndrome. An ophthamological exam is recommended during the baby's first year.


No individual with Down syndrome will have all the health complications, however, every child needs good preventative medical care. Teamwork between the family and doctors is vital to anticipate potential problems and provide specific and individual treatment should they occur. Appropriate health care can enhance the potential of individuals with Down syndrome.

To view the actual article click the following:  Characteristics and Health Concerns for People with Down syndrome (This is a Microsoft Word document) or visit the CDSS page here.
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