Aileen Too wasn’t expecting to get pregnant with her fourth child, but when Will was born she was surrounded by love and support.
By Aileen Too
Our experience has been extremely positive and we are truly blessed to have Will, our youngest.
We were not expecting a fourth child – we had been trying unsuccessfully for a while and decided to get on with life. The next month I developed appendicitis and the month after Will was conceived. Fun fact: Did you know having an appendectomy or tonsillectomy might increase your chance of getting pregnant? It was a blessing in disguise – I was lucky to have had appendicitis.
From the moment we received a high chance result of T21 (1 in 7) from the maternal serum screening, our interactions with the medical profession have all been positive and respectful. We declined further invasive testing for fear of miscarriage, which was accepted by our obstetrician and we were never questioned again. We were lucky to have extremely high quality pre-natal care with very close, regular monitoring.
Will was diagnosed on the day after he was born. We were initially worried for Will’s future, and for the future of his siblings, but the wonderful special care director, paediatrician, specialists, social worker and nurses were very positive and reassuring, as were the speech pathologists, dietician and physiotherapist that also saw Will for the six weeks he was in hospital.
Everyone loved Will and cared for him as if he were their own. They would visit him even if they were allocated to other babies or departments to check up on his progress. We were lucky he was cherished by so many.
While I was on the post natal ward, one of the nurses took the time to sit with me to help me understand all that Will could accomplish in the future – the time she spent with me helped to lift a great weight off my shoulders, I didn’t need to worry so much. It turned out her son also had a little extra specialness. I was lucky to have had the caring support of someone with lived experience.
When Will came home we were put in contact with the state Down Syndrome association, who were ever willing to help answer any questions and to help connect us with other families. We are very lucky so many are willing to help and support us.
Not long after, we were fortunate enough to be allocated an early intervention physiotherapist. Our key worker was a godsend, a true expert in her field and in it for the love of it. Being used to such a high standard of quality therapy we were lucky to have found our other equally amazing therapists to refine Will’s speech and motor skills. We are so lucky to have competent therapists with a genuine interest in overseeing Will’s development.
Through Facebook I discovered an online T21 mothers group. Here I could meet other mums in similar situations with similar aged kids, sharing ideas, navigating day to day living together, rejoicing in milestones, have real life play dates with, mums I may not have had the chance to connect with had it not been for Will. I am very lucky to have found my tribe in this wonderful online community.
I cannot speak highly enough of Will’s older siblings (11, 9, 7), they have spent the last five years unconditionally loving and caring for Will, motivating him, driving him to learn and including him in what they do. They have been invaluable, and instrumental in Will’s development. I am so lucky to have these amazingly beautiful, caring, empathetic, selfless children, I’m just the luckiest mum on Earth!
We are lucky that Will began his life without any serious medical issues. We are lucky that each professional we have encountered has been positive, caring and reassuring every step of the way. We are lucky to have various avenues of overwhelming support. We are the luckiest ones to have a gorgeous boy that completes our family.