Thursday, November 29, 2012

Levi, The Amazing Down Syndrome Baby!

I think most know by now, but Allie and I have a new baby boy! His name is Levi Alexander Rhodes. I'm super excited about the potential held within this tiny child. The first time I looked at him I wondered, "What does God have in store for this little guy?"

He was by far Allie's most difficult pregnancy. As many of you know Allie struggled to keep the amnionic fluid at a safe level. Three weeks before his due date he finally decided it was time to see the world. He was just in time too, because his fluid had dropped to a dangerous level. They were going to induce Allie if she hadn't gone into labor on her own. He was born 1:28AM weighing 6 Lbs. 10 Oz. and 19" long. Levi was the smallest of our children for sure, but, to be fair to him, he was the only one who didn't go to or past his due date.

God is good.

The day after Levi was born Allie had a sit down meeting with Levi's pediatrician Dr. Paul Linker. He told her there was a possibility that Levi had Down Syndrome. The doctor was far from sure, but Levi had a few of the physical characteristics. So, they did a chromosome test on him.

A few days later while we were on our way to the grocery store we got the phone call with the results. Levi's wonderful pediatrician delivered the news.

Levi has Down Syndrome. God is good.

The news was a shock. To be honest we cried. It was hard to compute.

Immediately Dr. Linker scheduled us several appointments at MUSC on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We had to see a geneticist and a cardiologist. I didn't know this until the diagnosis, but many Down Syndrome people have severe heart problems. The earlier they catch those the better.

Levi had an ultrasound on his heart (I think number 17 for this little guy if you're counting). Then we were sent to a small room to wait for the results. We were so nervous. We waited for like 64.54 hours in that little room. I paced with Levi in my arms. Eventually the MUSC pediatric cardiologist came in the small white room with several other doctors. He sat down, crossed his legs, folded his arms, and blankly looked at Levi for a second. My heart dropped. Then he smiled and said, "Levi's heart looks great... I want to see you guys back here in three years."

Levi doesn't just have a good heart for a child with Down Syndrome, he has a good heart for any child.

God is good.

We know there will be many struggles as we go forward, but honestly, kids are always a struggle. Levi is just a new type. We're just happy this lil' guy is healthy.

I would like you to know that Allie and I are very proud and happy with our new baby boy. We want everyone to view him like we do, a handsome happy little dude. We also want everyone to treat him like any other newborn. Please congratulate us, we have a new edition to our family! This is not a sad moment. We understand that sorrow can be a first reaction, but please understand we are not sorry.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask us. We don't have all the answers, and we're still learning about DS (That's what all the cool parents call it, and I desperately want to be one of those). We'll do our best. You can ask your questions in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter. God bless you and your family and may you have an amazing Christmas.

Oh and can someone explain to me why it's not "Down's Syndrome?"

Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law Brittany Rhodes for taking the picture of Levi in the tea cup and of his feet. You can check out her Facebook page.