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Mighty Mack the Mayor and Warrior

By: Lauren Murphy

When you’re pregnant with your second baby, doctor appointments become very routine; You’ve done all of this before, so going to a standard appointment was not a second thought for me. That is until my doctor came after my ultrasound and told me that the baby’s nuchal fold had extra fluid, which meant that the baby could have Down Syndrome. I was completely in shock; how is this possible? I have a beautiful, healthy baby boy at home and no history of Down Syndrome in our families.

Following the advice of my doctor, she sent me for testing and told me to educate myself; Talk to other moms who have children with Down Syndrome. Thankfully, I spoke to amazing mothers and I actually had a friend growing up who had Down Syndrome and she was awesome, quick witted and so sarcastic! I threw myself into education and read The Parent's Guide to Down Syndrome: Advice, Information, Inspiration, and Support for Raising Your Child from Diagnosis through Adulthood. Growing up with anxiety, the unknown is a fearful place but when I have the knowledge, I become more confident about whatever the fear may or could be. That book connected me to other amazing DS families via social media, and as I always say: They are the family I didn’t know I needed. However, the book also confirmed the fears I had with having a child with Down Syndrome; Possible congenital heart defects, cognitive and developmental delay, & potential cancer. I threw myself into learning about these possible risk factors so that I would know the signs and symptoms to look for, God forbid it ever happened.

On July 20th, 2017, our amazing little girl was born after Mommy’s epidural didn’t work, keeping Mommy on her toes! Mackenzie was a solid 7lbs 11oz, easily latching, happy baby who spent one night in the NICU for some mild jaundice and a failed car seat test. "Mighty Mack," as we called her since we came home, started early intervention and over time proved to be a strong and mighty little thing.

Fast forward to August 2019, a month after Mackenzie’s 2nd birthday, she started walking up to 7 steps and was doing so well. Mack had very fair skin and would often get heat rash during the summer but whenever I would see it, my mind would jump to these little red dots I read about, petechiae, that can be an indication of cancer. I recalled seeing heat rash on her throughout the summer but it would fade so my mind was at ease; one day my husband and I noticed red dots on her le