Meet Gabriella. A little girl who is changing the face of beauty.
Words from Gabriella’s Mom-
Our journey started in September of 2013 when we found out I was pregnant with our third child, a bit of a shock at first because we already two teenage boys but blessed at the same time. Everything was going great with my pregnancy, all excited because it was time for my 17 week ultrasound when we can finally know if the baby is a boy or a girl. “IT’S A GIRL” is what the next words that came out of the ultrasound techs mouth. We were so happy and could not wait to tell everyone. Then the doctor finally came in after what felt like an eternity, to tell us that she had multiple issues with her heart, called Tetralogy of Fallot and it is most common in child with Down Syndrome. The doctor wanted me to do the Amniocentesis but I was nervous and either way the outcome of the test it wouldn’t of changed anything, she is still our little girl and the love we already had for her was strong. As time went by, we told family and friends that she may have Down Syndrome. Everyone was so supportive and that it made it so much easier plus having a few friends that have children with Down Syndrome made it even easier. Six weeks before she was born, I had another ultrasound and the doctor says that it looks like her stomach wasn’t the size it should be so that’s when I decided to get the blood work that would tell us if she had Down Syndrome and of course the results were yes.
On May 22, 2014 Gabriella Rose was born. One of the happiest and scariest days of our lives. To be honest, when I say scariest, I mean about her heart defect. I got to hold her for maybe two minutes and then she was taken to the NICU right away. She was in there for two weeks. Finally we were able to take her home. After six weeks, she went in for her first open heart surgery. That was the hardest thing as parents that we had to go thru but with all the love and support from family and friends we made it thru. Three long weeks in the hospital, we finally went home and she started physical therapy a week later. Ten months later she had her second open heart surgery. We were there only a week this time. The first year of her life she has gone thru so much, she is definitely the STRONGEST person I know. When I complain about my struggles with arthritis, I have to sit back and remember what my daughter has gone thru far more and how strong she is.
Gabriella is always so happy. Always with a smile on her face. Waving and saying hi to everyone that walks by while sitting in church or in the grocery store. She loves music and dancing. She can be upset and the minute she hears music she stops. Who knows, music might just be in her future. Whatever she does, we will all be there to support her. As a sweatshirt I bought my husband says, “Down Syndrome is a journey I never planned but I sure love my tour guide”. Having a Down Syndrome child was definitely not in our plans but we would not change her for anything. The love and strength that she taught us is more than I can put into words. So as our journey continues and she continues to hit those milestones, we will be there to cheer her on.
It was a pleasure to do a special photo session with some local kids who have Down syndrome. I am hoping to spread awareness locally in addition to adding my own flair to the campaign, Changing the Face of Beauty.