Introducing the Thomson children! All three children have Trisomy 21, the most common form of Down syndrome.
I met their mother through our online Down syndrome community. We had an instant connection, despite the fact we live in America and Australia, respectively — when you have a child with Down syndrome, you receive automatic acceptance to a very special club!
When I saw her three beautiful children for the first time, I knew her story had to be shared with the world and, happily, she agreed.
“Calli (11): Loves electronics and anything to do with doctors, hospitals, ambulances. She has the biggest heart when it comes to helping other children. She would give the coat off her back, shoes off her feet and food off her plate to a child if they needed it.
“Montana (8): She’s a tomboy! She loves playing in the dirt, working on cars and fishing. She is an adrenaline junky! She would be the child at an amusement park running to all the rides because of the thrill, and the faster, ‘scarier’ rides would be her favorite.
“Sky (5): Mommy’s Boy. Now, being in kindergarten, we are trying to break that, but he cries every day. He is your typical boy; he loves to play in the dirt, muddy water and climb anything and everything.
“Calli was born two weeks early and we found out at two weeks of age she had T21 and a heart defect. She had two open heart surgeries and spent a lot of her first year of life in the hospital. We are waiting for surgery number three and buying time with medicine.
“My pregnancy with Montana… well, when we found out at 20 weeks that she had T21, too, we also found out she had the same heart condition as Calli. The ultrasound tech told us we had options. I instantly said, ‘My only option is to have her and love her. She is my child’ and that was all he said. The cardiologist who followed my pregnancy (he was Calli and Montana’s cardiologist) said we should not have any more children because it looked like Montana’s heart was worse than Calli’s. He was unsure, but it looked like to him that the more children we had, the worse the heart condition would be.
“But no one had ever heard of parents having multiple children with T21, let alone the same heart condition. Montana was born four and a half weeks early. She had one open heart surgery and spent about six months in the hospital. After Montana was born, I was going to have my tubes tied but never got around to it. Sky was a surprise! A great and wonderful surprise!
“The doctors and geneticist in Wisconsin told me to abort. It was a full-on argument to the point I was in tears. We walked out of the office and never went back. Skye also has a heart defect. He was born three weeks early. He had one open heart surgery and spent just a couple of weeks in the hospital. Besides Calli’s heart, they are all doing well.
“Day-to-day life is just like that of any family with children. My kids fight, cry, laugh, get timeouts, hugs, kisses, and most days they don’t want to go to school so I have to fight to get school clothes on, we are late or nearly late for everything. No different than a typical household! They are in general education with their peers and pulled out for extra help where it is needed.
“I would tell parents who are expecting a baby with T21 that their child is just a child and to raise that child as they would any other child. The love that you have for your child will only grow stronger over time. It is okay to be sad, mad or upset because things have changed. Don’t hold back your feelings. Those feeling will change over time and you will look back and wonder why you were so upset.
“Our children can do amazing things! My children are my world. They mean everything to me.”
By Joelle Kelly for The Mighty