By Naomi R. Scianna, mother and Advocate associate
Published on March 09, 2016
When my husband and I received word that our unborn son would be born with Down syndrome, our lives changed forever. We were stricken with the overwhelming fear of uncertainty. We had no idea what our future would hold, but we knew that we would be able to provide our son with the best care in the area. My pregnancy was monitored carefully through my OBGYN at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and the high-risk OBGYN group at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. Jacob’s delivery was uneventful. He was born five weeks early at Good Shepherd Hospital weighing in at 8 pounds, 1 ounce.
Shortly after delivery the doctor’s expressed a concern for some potential cardiac issues and within a matter of hours, Jacob was transferred from Good Shepherd to the NICU at Lutheran General Hospital. He spent two weeks at Lutheran General and was discharged back to Good Shepherd for an additional week with the cardiac concerns resolved and only an eating issue.
I will never forget the day shortly after I received the prenatal diagnosis. We had just finished an appointment at the hospital and my husband was walking me to the car. The question came up, “do you think he will live a long life?” We had spoken to the genetic counselor who had given us some information on the life expectancy of someone with Down syndrome. While the life expectancy was much shorter in the past, we were given hope for the future. My answer to that question was simple. With technology and caring physicians on board, as well as the Adult Down Syndrome Centerpractically in our own back yard, “Yes” I believe he will have just as much of a chance to live a long, happy and healthy life as anyone else.
In the seven years that Jacob has been with us, his presence has touched the lives of many people he has met. He is no different than any other little boy. He is a student, Cub Scout, baseball player, athlete, teacher, and friend. He is funny, smart, witty, kind, courteous, sensitive, and caring. The Adult Down Syndrome Center is very important to my family. I have no doubt that we will be visiting the Center when Jacob is older. I will continue to support this excellent program and all that it has to offer to families and patients in our community and beyond. Our little boy means the world to us and with the help of the Center and new advances in medicine, we look forward to sharing many happy years with him while giving him the opportunity to get world renowned health care from Advocate.