Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Raising a baby with Down syndrome

One question that I am often asked, and that I asked others when I was pregnant: "Is it different having a baby with Down syndrome?  Is it harder?"

Before I answer this question, it's important to note that the list of medical issues that a baby with Down syndrome can have is pretty long.  Lots of issues are common with our babies and many babies with Ds have multiple diagnoses, from heart defects to bowel problems to failed hearing tests to difficulty breastfeeding.

Cade only has a minor heart defect.  

So for us, having a baby with Down syndrome is just like having a typical baby.  Day-to-day, Cade is just like our other two.  Starting to hold his head up, starting to smile, starting to bat at toys hanging above him.  He nurses well, he poops just fine, and when he needs something he doesn't hesitate to let us know.

Where Cade differs from Camille and Colby is the amount of extra care and services we've gotten.  The first 3 weeks after his birth were FULL of appointments.  Regular well-checks, echocardiograms (for the hole in his heart), lactation consultants.  We have a home health nurse who comes to our house once a month to help us with feeding; we don't need the help now, but when he starts solids she'll likely be out every two weeks.  We have an occupational therapist who comes every 3 weeks to help us work on Cade holding his head up and doing mouth massages to shape his palate properly to prepare for solid foods.  She will also bump up to every 2 weeks once he starts solid foods.

Cade receives SSI and WIC, based some on our income but mostly on his Ds.  I gladly accept whatever help we are offered to make sure he's healthy and that we can provide whatever he needs. 

If Cade had other medical issues, then caring for him would undoubtedly be harder.  But it would be the medical issues that made it harder, not the Down syndrome, if that makes sense.  We are very thankful that Cade is healthy.

Colby hanging out with Cade

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