Down Syndrome Awareness Month

MomisdrawingOctober is Down Syndrome awareness month, so what better time than now to tell you about my experience. I was 12 weeks pregnant then and totally clueless. I was so excited to be pregnant. A few months back I had a pregnancy end very abruptly and at that point I was just happy to be this far along. We had heard Emma’s heartbeat at 6 weeks and it was loud and strong! I could say that that day if forever stored under the “best days of my life” mental file. I trusted and loved my OB so when she told me that I had to go to a different office for a routine first trimester screening, I happily obliged. All I knew was that they would be checking for chromosomal abnormalities. I wasn’t nervous or worried. I didn’t even take my husband with me. I just got up one day and went to the office, excited that I would get to see the baby in the ultrasound.

The lovely ladies called me in and I practically skipped all the way to the ultrasound room. My tech was very sweet. She began the ultrasound and assured me that the babies heart was good and her stomach and intestines were all in its place and all that was left to do was to measure the nucal fold behind Emma’s head, right where her spine was. For those that don’t know, children with chromosomal abnormalities usually have higher levels of this fold. During the screening, they measure that and combine it with blood tests previously taken by your doctor. After they have all the information they need, they put it into a system that generates a probability for T21 (Down Syndrome) T18 (Edward’s Syndrome) and T13 (Patau Syndrome). Once my tech was done, she assured me that her nucal fold level was very low and that that was great news. At that point we were done and I took my sonogram pictures and went back into the waiting room.

A few minutes later, the tech, along with the receptionist came to call me in. I knew something was wrong at that point. They had very sad faces! They sat me down and said that “I tested positive for T21, Down syndrome”. I was shocked to say the least! The tech then explained that I had a 1/49 chance of having a baby with Downs. Her exact words were, “So basically 50/50”. Now, for someone who’s in utter shock, my math was not on point! 1/49 is not 50/50, but of course that’s all I could focus on. After that, they became very business like and began to quote a ton of dollar amounts that I needed to pay in order to meet with a genetic counselor. I sat there staring into space. Like the whole world had stopped for a few minutes. I then decided to leave. I politely said no thank you and that I would like to consult with my doctor before seeing anyone else.

I stormed out and called my sister and husband and of course my doctor. I cried in my car for a while and all I kept thinking was 50/50! It took my doc a whole day to call back and we talked about my options and we decided against an amniocentesis (where they insert a huge needle into your belly to retrieve amniotic fluid for testing). This would have been the most accurate 100% form of testing, but posed a small, 1% chance of miscarriage. This life within me was so incredibly precious I couldn’t live with myself if I lost her. Another option we were given was to do a simple blood test that would be able to tell us if there were any chromosomal issues and also tell us the sex of our baby. We chose this option since it posed no threat to Emma. It’s a fairly new type of test and only has a 98% accuracy rate. It was good enough for me! We went in on a Friday, had my blood drawn and had to wait 1-2 weeks for results. By that time, 3 days had passed since my initial visit for the screening. Each day that passed, while we waited for the results, was like a million years crammed into one day. I was afraid. I was afraid for her future, for my future. For how she would have to live in a world that isn’t very accepting of people with special needs. How she would possibly have to deal with a slew of health issues and if I was strong enough to be a mom of a child who needed lifelong care. I was extremely ignorant of people with Down’s syndrome and that made it worse because I only thought the worst. I now know differently. I see Insta friends with beautiful babies who happen to have Downs and all I get from them is that these children have brought more joy and love then anything else. It’s true that they are more alike then different. I wish I knew these things back then.

After a week, I got a text message from my doctor telling me that all was ok and Emma had a typical chromosomal count. We held off on knowing the gender so that we could have a reveal party. I was so happy I cried! I called my family in tears and told them that everything was going to be ok. The thing is that it was going to be ok anyway. I now know that having a child with Down syndrome isn’t a deathly diagnosis. It’s a tough one for sure but there are far worse things that can happen to you as a person. In some ways it’s a blessing and a calling from God.

I carry a bit of guilt with me now. I think of how blessed I am to be Emma’s mom and sometimes I remember how ignorant I was with what I thought I knew. We live and we learn though. I’m hoping that by sharing my story, I can help another Momma who’s in the same shoes as I was back when I revived such news. These are the things we sign up for as mothers. From the moment we conceive, we are faced with choices and options and worries and joys. It’s a roller coaster for sure but there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t thank God for blessing me with motherhood.

If you’d like to donate to the National Down Syndrome Society, you can do so here:



Pumpkin Patch 2016

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      So, If you know me, then you know that I hate the summer time! Yes, thats right…I hate the sun! Unfortunately, living in southern California really puts a damper on my love for cold weather and rain. With it officially being Fall, I was so excited to welcome all the pumpkin loving, PSL drinking, and sweater wearing, but what I was most excited for was to finally take my little one to a pumpkin patch. Last year, I was super pregnant with Emma during this time of year and I longed for the day that I would be able to have her in my arms while running through a field of pumpkins, and since God is so good, I finally had the chance to make this dream a reality. 

       We planned to go on a friday hoping that it wouldn’t be too crowded, but of course it was filled with field trips and schools of children running a muck! Before hand, I thought about what I would dress Emma in and after a million different outfit choices, I decided to keep it simple with a really cute fall floral onsie from Old Navy, along with some adorable brown moccasins, also from Old Navy. Since Emma has become infamous for her head bows, I had to snag a cable knit style from Baby Bling Bows (can find it at Nordstrom). 

    We visited the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch which was set up so nicely. Admission to the park was $3 and admission to the patch was free. There was a lot of activities for older children, such as face paintings, carnival games, and a haunted house. The only thing Emma was really able to participate in (exept for all the picture taking) was the train ride. It was so sweet to have all three of us crammed into one seat on the train while cruising around the park. We got to see some turtles, peacocks, and even went through a haunted tunnel. All in all, Emma had a great time. It was a day I will surely never forget! 

Diaper Bag Essentials

Ok, so I really wanted to call this post “Whats all that crap you’re carrying around”, but soon decided that its not crap and I would be lost without these things. Some people may ask, “Do you really need all that stuff?” and the answer is YESSSS. If you’re a first time mom expecting a baby, this post is specifically for you! Here are all the things I use on a daily basis when leaving the house with Emma.

  1. Diapers- Ok, so its not the cutesy Honest brand diapers that cost an arm and a leg but hey, they have these at Costco and they work just fine! They’re Huggies brand and I love them. I try to keep at least three in my bag at all times cause you never know if its going to be a poop explosion day! These Huggies diapers are soft and have Micky Mouse on them…what more can you ask for?!
  2. Wipes- Also Huggies brand and what I love about them is that they’re the “one and done” kind where its for face, hands and bottoms. Its nice for when they decide to stick their little hands where they don’t belong and you need something quick to wipe them with. Seriously make sure you have enough or else you’ll be elbow deep in shit (literally) with no help in sight. This may or may not have happened to me…
  3. Thermometer- You never know when a fussy baby might be coming down with something or might be teething, so its nice to keep a thermometer handy in case you want some peace of mind. This one is the Rite-Aid brand and works great. I find that the electronic ones that you swipe on the forehead can often be incorrect so I’d rather use this old school one and know for sure!
  4. Formula Powder (or your boob if you’re breastfeeding)- Yeah this is a no brainer…don’t forget the babies food! Not going to lie though, its happened to me and the best thing to do is to pop into a drug store and buy a few “ready to feed” bottles. I use Enfamil Gentlease.
  5. Bottles- I like to pre fill my bottles with water so that its easy to just add the powder when I need. If I’m super lazy (and I usually am!) I make the milk at home and put it in a small cooler with icepacks and take it with me. If I don’t have a chance to even fill the bottles with water, i just buy regular bottled water and fill when needed. Some of you may be thinking, “OMG why doesn’t she use nursery water” and the answer is because I don’t have too! Pediatrician said its all really the same thing and I trust him enough to go with it! The bottle pictured is by LifeFactory.
  6. Sweater- Ok, so we live in Southern California and its always a million degrees here but sometimes at nigh it gets a bit chilly so I always keep a little sweater or cardigan for Emma. This one is from Zara but Baby Gap has really cute ones as well.
  7. Bibs- I hate when Emma’s clothes get dirty. I know she’s a kid and its only going to get worse but I found that if I make the bib a part of her outfit then I won’t feel so bad when it gets dirty and I can just take it off. I love these Aidan and Anais bandana bibs. They have them in a few neutral colors as well so you can accessorize with a lot of things. The yellow bib pictured is from Tommee Tippee and I loved these when Emma was an infant. They have a dribble guard and I found that it was the best at keeping the milk from running under her little double chin. As most of us moms know, its really hard to clean under their chins so this was a life saver.
  8. Hats- I like to keep a sun hat in my diaper bag, just in case I want to take her out of the stroller and put her in my carrier. Heat exhaustion is a thing and you definitely don’t want it happening to your baby. I also like to keep a beanie in case it gets cold at night. 
  9. Extra outfit- This is mainly for any poop explosions that get past the diaper. Its such a relief to be prepared in that moment and know that you can change your little one out if needed. I love these basic Carters onsies!
  10. Pajamas- I never know how long we might be out or who we might be going to see so I like to keep her P.Js with me at all times. If its approaching bed time, I change her into those and cross my fingers that she’ll go to sleep on the way home and I can just transfer her straight into her crib. The ones pictured are by L’ovedbaby and they’re oh so soft!
  11. Butt Cream- I can safely say I’ve tried every kind of butt cream this world has to offer and my favorite is Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. I found that it was the most effective at preventing and treating diaper rash. 
  12. Teether/Toy- Emma is currently eight months old and is teething on and off. She loves to chew on things and this is her new fave. Its by a small shop called Feltman + Co based out of Houston, TX. The textures and materials used in this specific teether are great for sensory play as well.

So, there you go! Thats what I normally take with me on a daily basis. Some days I throw in a few extra things, like sun screen, blankets, or a cooler for her milk, but this is my usual jam. If you’re wondering what I put all of this in, you’ll have to wait for a future post to see! Don’t sweat it if you forget something. It happens to everyone and sometimes less is more!