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Destination: Holland - Gemma Lear
If anyone had asked me if there was anything during the pregnancy that I could of changed, my answer would simply be “no, there is nothing”. Not even the fact that my wee baby boy has Downs Syndrome. Looking at him now 5 months older all I can say is that if you take away the Downs, you take away the person that he has become and the person that he will grow up to be.
I suppose on first impressions of new people meeting Lachlan no one would ever have clicked that he had it but then again to me and anyone close to him it was and never will be an issue. I’m 24 and a single mother of a child that has Downs Syndrome. Funny mix, even I didn’t think it would happen to me. I was that one person out of 1500 for my age group. Being my first child, he was already special from the word Go. The Downs wasn’t picked up in any of the scans except the sex but trust me, I couldn’t wait. I had to know. 20 week scan, five minutes of silence I turned into a little girl that couldn’t hold her breath any longer and just had to ask. ‘Can you please tell me what the sex of the baby is?” and it was a boy….Everything else didn’t matter, because on the scan he was growing. What every soon-to-be-parent wanted for their unborn child.
Maybe I lied about if I could change one thing during the pregnancy. The one thing I do regret was that part of me felt as though I didn’t enjoy the pregnancy as much because I felt as though I always had a black cloud hanging over my head. That black cloud was just a whirlwind mix of anxiety, worry and depression. I think I was a little taken back by all the people saying that my belly wasn’t big enough to be “6 months” after that there was always something at the back of my mind, niggling away but I was just told to relax, that the babe was growing fine and that everyone who is anyone that is pregnant grows differently and I’m just one of many. But I still couldn’t help but wonder what was going on inside that belly of mine.
I was admitted into Waikato Hospital on the 18th of August due to the fact that I had plus 3 protein in my urine and my blood pressure was slowly rising, from that moment on my mind was a continuum of thoughts and fears, not for me but for this baby that wasn’t due for another three and a bit weeks (14th September). I’ll be honest with you when I say that, even though I was surrounded by supportive eager-soon-to-be grandparents-for the-forth-time, my oldest loving brother and loving extended family I felt alone and very lonely because I was about to become a single mum! About to embark on this mysterious journey called motherhood, not knowing that there was going to be a spanner thrown into the mix after Lachlan was born.
After a 14 hour induced labour and a mad run down the hall to the delivery suite, ten minutes prior to a new born babe, everything that happened in the space of 40 minutes seemed like it had happened in ten minutes flat. It was a whirlwind of wheelchair madness to suck on the oxygen and breathe to being told suppress my mouth and push.
2.06am 23rd of August 2008 Lachlan Nathaniel Lear-Shelley was welcomed into the world, I was still getting over the shock that I had just given birth! I remember asking my mother who by then was still in tears because of the traumatic half an hour if he was perfect and I could tell by mum’s response that Lachlan was more than perfect. That’s when I felt the bottom of my world drop by when one of the midwives saying rather quietly “Oh he looks a bit downs” then started pointing out all of the indications of it. My head was screaming and thinking how much I wanted her to shut up and leave my baby alone. He had ten fingers and ten toes and when he looked at me all I felt was love. I didn’t care about whether or not he had Downs but the more she kept going on about it, the more it started to worry me. It was a terrible feeling. I felt as though I had failed Lachlan. That day consisted of trying to latch the babe onto my breast, and trying to get some rest so there wasn’t enough time to even sit down and think about the fact that he might or might not, I was trying to enjoy my new son and ignore the craziness around us.
It did hit home when we went to have a private meeting with the top paediatrician of the New Born Unit and it was the way the words came out….so distance, slow and the most serious of voices. “I’m ninety nine point nine percent sure that Lachlan does have Downs, I’m very sorry.” All I could do was stare through him as though he wasn’t even there. The way my new born babe was being held in his hands so small and innocent. My heart felt as though it was being squeezed, I could feel tears just overflowing but I couldn’t do anything and it certainly didn’t make me love Lachlan any less. Blood tests following Monday. The chromosome test to confirm the Downs. My heart broke again. I will always remember his hand sticking out just in the air whilst he was surrounded by the midwives in the nursery and the doctor. I walked out of the nursery and just burst into tears. I just wanted to protect him from the unknown, the one thing I didn’t even know. The next four days were just concentrated on Lachlan as he had jaundice as well that kept going up and down so it was a mix of the overhead lamp, bilibed, clothed then not, wraparound shades to stick on shades. My mother was a godsend during that week and helped me with information about Downs from the net but as it got closer to the day of the results I had basically concentrated on Lachlan as a baby and that the Downs didn’t even matter because I just wanted the jaundice to up and disappear so I could just bundle up my little joy up and go home. The midwives were very comforting and supportive and Lachlan being Lachlan he was charming and had a very special friendship with all the nurses that looked after him. Day of confirmation, yes Lachlan did have Downs Syndrome. I didn’t really say anything but after the doctor had left I cried. I think it was the fact that it was confirmed but the information that was given to me during the week just helped soften the blow. But to just hear it again was like a knife in my heart. Trisomy 21. I found out that it was all to do with the chromosomes and that it was just pure luck. Oh well. I silently thanked God from the bottom of my heart that Lachlan didn’t have anything wrong with his heart or bowel obstructions, that other wee babes that also have Downs have the chance of having for which my heart goes out to the families. I was told a story and also read the same one about how a person had said that it felt like instead of going on a plane ride to his dream destination they had ended up in Holland. Not exactly the dream vacation they had hoped for but they still went out and brought all the tour books for Holland, this strange but yet new adventure they were going to endure for the rest of their lives. I don’t know how other people reading this would feel but yeah I went through the emotions of anger, sadness and grief but only for a moment because Lachlan was here and he needed me, Downs or not. My family is a very loving family and anyone who knows them will know that it doesn’t matter if your black, white, purple, brown, have a disability or none, they will except you at face value and Lachlan knows that their love is unconditional and forever. 5 months along and the trip to “Holland” has been amazing. Because of the Downs, wee man will take longer to reach his milestones, to me that’s alright because we can spend more time enjoying the view and when he does achieve the one goal at a time, that moment will be special. Not just for me but for his friends and family especially his grandparents which he makes a point of telling every chance he can get (which is all the time)…. Hi, my name is Gem, I’m 24 and a single mum of Lachlan. He has Downs Syndrome but that doesn’t stop him from being a normal everyday child.
This story has 1 recommendations
Tuesday, 5 April 2011 10:48 p.m.
GLAD YOUR OKAY,AND BUBS,UNCLE WAYNE LEAR,HERE,hows things,lost track of you ,for years,is sue and nathan ok,please contact us at email@example.com
brads sick,09-8375828 cheers wayne.
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 12:15 p.m.
your story is beautiful.....and your spn is adorable...take care n bless you
Sunday, 10 October 2010 2:48 a.m.
thanks for the great story
Tuesday, 5 October 2010 11:54 a.m.
Great read - thanks for sharing your story:)
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