We first learnt Samuel might have Downs at 12 weeks
into the pregnancy, but after more tests it was conclusively confirmed at 14
This was all quite a shock for Angie and I, made worse by the attitudes of
many older people including parents on the prospect of us bringing up a
child with Downs Syndrome. When all we craved for was support this just
added to the upset. Many said "You should get rid of it and try for another
one", and that we would never be able to go or do anything ever again.
We appreciated that this was sadly the attitude of years ago, and how things
were 'in their day', but that is not the case today.
To be truthful, my personal feelings were that it would not be fair to have
this child if he were to suffer with pain and a life of serious medical
problems, but if our child was reasonably healthy and could lead a happy
life, we could give him all the love and support needed, where as Angie
unconditionally wanted him no matter what.
Maybe in some people eyes he is not a 'normal' child, but what is the
definition of a 'normal' child.
All children develop at different rates, if he happens to be slower he will
get there in the end, but the main thing all children need is lots of love
and cuddles and they are in abundant supply for our little boy.
The younger generation of friends and work colleagues
were fully supportive from day one, both our bosses
were terrific. My boss
was wonderful allowing me to attend all the hospital appointments (which
were many, you could fill a photo album with all the scan pictures) and so
understanding. Angie's boss and colleagues were also supportive and were a
great comfort when news of results came through.
Our friends were also offering their services as baby sitters.
Our local Hospital at Margate were also wonderful and supportive. On
receiving confirmation of the baby's condition we were invited along to
discuss things and they were unbiased, the decision on how we preceded was
totally ours. They arranged a next day appointment at the Evelina Children's
Hospital in London for a heart scan, made even more amazing as Samuel's
heart at this early stage was the size of a grain of rice. We were overjoyed
to hear after this and one more appointment that all was normal with his
heart. This was also the point at which we found out we were expecting a
little boy. Some might view finding out at this stage would take away the
surprise at the end but it really helped us focus on what was to come.
Soon our initial shock turned to joy and excitement at the prospect of
Samuel coming into our lives.
At about 30 weeks, we read in the national press that
Eastenders (a very popular 'soap opera' in the United Kingdom made by BBC
television) was going to run a storyline about a couple giving birth to a
child with Down's Syndrome. The Birth of this child happened about two
months before Samuel's. It depicted the Mother and Grandmother at first
rejecting the little girl as it was not their 'perfect' baby they had hoped
for. The father's feelings were entirely different and he just wanted to
love his little daughter but not at the expense of his marriage. We watched
it, although to be honest it was very hard at times. After many ups and
downs with the story, the Mother and Grandmother came to terms with things
and are living as a proper family.
It was good to see this as it brought Down's Syndrome more to peoples
attention and we hope that the little girl continues to be part of the
On 11th October we had the first visit from a lady who was part of
the Herne Bay Health Visitor Team, she was accompanied by a student Health
Visitor. They had come to tell us about the various services available and
what to expect once Samuel was born - visits, weigh-ins and immunisations as
well as support services available for a special needs child.
We received Samuel's Red Book with special inserts to track his weight,
length and head circumference as Down's children's development is at a
We were asked to contact them as soon as Samuel was born as they would be
our first point of contact if we had any questions or concerns.
frequent scans the final scan on 16th October showed that the fluid around Samuel was
reducing so the hospital decided that he should be induced, this was to be sooner rather
than later on 19th October at 38 weeks.