Once Upon a Hospital Bed - Part 2

As I spoke of in Part 1, my hospital experience during Phoebe's entry into this world was less than acceptable. The staff was so negative about everything. Apparently, we were too happy for their liking, after having a baby with Down syndrome. We just wanted to take our baby home and get to know her. We already loved her. But alas, they dramatized everything and made us stay in the hospital 5 days, checking her over and over again, looking for all kinds of 'problems.'

She was cold, they said. I said, "Well, give her to me and she won't be." They kept taking her to the cold nursery for this and that, never really letting me know what this or that really was. They did an x-ray and said her spine didn't look right and that I should take her to a specialist to see what was wrong. I later took her to my chiropractor and he said she was perfect. She still is. She dances in 11 classes a week, has been in basket tosses for cheerleading and done gymnastics, swimming, horseback riding, etc. One of the nurses said she was 'retarded.' What an archaic word for even back then (17 years ago)! They said she wasn't gaining weight fast enough and that maybe I should reconsider the breastfeeding thing. If they knew anything at all about babies/children with Down syndrome, they would know that they are slow at gaining weight. They are slower than typical children. It was if I had to educate THEM on these things. Another nurse called her the "Downs baby" as my midwife walked into the nursery. My midwife laid into them and asked, "Do you call that baby over there, the 'black baby?' or that baby over there, the 'big baby?' They just didn't handle things well at all. It was if they had never had a baby with Down syndrome there before. And I know they did. They were campaigning during that time about how great of a birthing hospital they were. Hmmmm..... I guess anyone can say anything in their advertising campaign, regardless if it's true or not.

So, I sat there in our room holding her, really looking into her eyes, her soul...and deciding not to believe a word the staff and 'experts' said about her. "She IS going to do whatever she sets her mind to," I would say to myself. She is not a label. She is not limited to what others think. And that still goes today.

I began right away researching. I was told kids with Down syndrome can get sick a lot more than typical children. I decided that wouldn't be true, either. I started supplementing my breast milk with extra nutrients that I read they over-metabolize. As she began to eat solid foods, I made sure everything was organic and that she would eat only real food, no junk at all. We had very little canned or packaged food in the house anymore. I studied as much as I could about nutrition and Down syndrome. There wasn't much out there, but I would study both subjects independently - nutrition and Down syndrome - and then I would start writing down things that came together for me. What we have done nutritionally has seemed to work. I'm not saying I've done everything right, but I was willing to learn and adjust. I wasn't going to listen to those 'voices' any longer about what she wouldn't be able to do. And she doesn't get sick. She's not catching all those things that other kids seems to always be getting. Kids that are eating neon-colored macaroni and cheese and drinking sugary drinks. That's just never been an option. And I believe it has worked.

Phoebe doesn't drive a car, but she knows how to drive a golf cart and ride a bike and take public transportation. She dances in a Company for competitions, she has been a Junior Denver Bronco cheerleader, she has competed on the national level for cheerleading. She has made her own YouTube videos dancing. She has big dreams. She's ambitious and she's not going to give up...and neither will I. She has been to prom. She is planning to own her own businesses one day. Yes that word was plural. She has BIG DREAMS. There is absolutely no reason not to.