By Abby Moreira
Madeline was a surprise from the beginning. My husband, Nick and I weren’t trying to get pregnant until our son, Theo was 4. He was 2 when we found out we were pregnant. We found out 1/2/2022 the day after New Years Day. I like to think this was only the beginning of her keeping us on our toes and starting our new year off with a BANG. I had morning sickness and exhaustion from the moment the test changed to “pregnant”. Besides constantly wanting to nap and wanting to throw up, I still had a household consisting of my husband, Nick, our 2 year old Theo and 2 yellow labs to take care of plus work a full time job. Nick was so helpful during the 18 weeks I was sick. I truly couldn’t have done it without him. I declined all prenatal testing, I was 32 not a worry about any genetic issues plus I had a healthy pregnancy with our son. But on to our anatomy scan at 20 weeks, tech told us everything looked great and it was a girl! I was kinda figuring she was a girl as she had made me so sick. We left that appointment on top of the world, wonderful little boy at home and sweet little girl bouncing around in my belly. Nick suggested the name Madeline Lucia. I wasn’t 100% sold on Madeline but I love her middle name of Lucia. I told him let me think on it. It took about 3-4 weeks for me to be good with Madeline.
Fast forward to 37 weeks pregnant, we have an addition being added to our house. So we were living in a construction zone while preparing for a baby coming soon. I started having contractions but they weren’t consistent. I was still 2 weeks away from my due date and 1 week from my scheduled induction. I sat down to eat dinner with Nick and Theo. We ordered dinner because I was not cooking dinner. My contractions were painful and coming every 3 minutes. We called my in laws to come get Theo so we could go to the hospital. My water also had broken at home before I left for the hospital. We got the hospital by 7:45pm. 3 pushes later, Madeline Lucia joined the world on August 25th, 2022 at 9:10pm.
I was alone with Madeline in the delivery room and I took a picture of her to send to a friend. I looked at the photo and thought to myself “she looks like she has Down syndrome” I never mentioned it to the nurses or my husband. I was moved to the maternity unit. The next morning Madeline went to the nursery for a check up. I mentioned her ears were tiny to the nurse. The pediatrician came in to talk to us about Madeline, which is normal. He said “we are sending out bloodwork to check for genetic abnormalities.” Nick and I looked at each other and asked “Why?” The pediatrician told us “Madeline has some stigmatas consistent with Down syndrome”. That sentence still haunts me. How could a pediatrician who knows nothing about my newborn daughter make this decision without asking us what we thought? He asked us if we had any questions to which we answered “No”. Nick and I were too in shock to know what to even ask.
We then spent the 2nd day of our daughter’s life informing our family and friends of this newest information that we never expected to receive. We waited 3 weeks for the karyotyping test to be returned. We lived life as if the test came back positive already. During those 3 weeks, we did a lot of processing and coping with the diagnosis. But we also did a lot of loving on our perfect little girl.
Around 2-3 months, we patiently waited for those sweet smiles. Our son smiled at 6 weeks. We felt we needed that feedback to know we are doing a good job. Everyone told us we were doing a great job but we wanted Madeline to flash a big cheesy grin to ensure we were in fact doing a great job. I really struggled with the blank states Madeline gave us. Despite us sticking our big faces into her tiny face, no luck. My mind went to what if she never smiles? How would I cope with that? Nick was so supportive and simply said “we are on her timeline, not ours.” Achieving physical milestones have come easy to her so far. She rolled from belly to back at 8 weeks. From back to belly at 4.5 months. Sitting, crawling and walking I expect to take much longer for her.
Madeline is now 5 months old. She is seen by ophthalmology, audiology, and the Down syndrome clinic every 6 months. We did see cardiology but she was released from their care due to a clean echo. She has early intervention services through the state of Pennsylvania where we live. She is currently in physical therapy and we are expecting to add occupational therapy and speech down the line. Madeline is the sweetest little girl and she’s just a little extra but we wouldn’t change her for a minute. We are excited to watch her grow and know she will have the best support from everyone who knows her.
You can connect with Abby, Madeline and their family on Instagram @abbymoreira23