Down syndrome Awareness: Maisie

Down syndrome Awareness Month : Payton
Down syndrome Awareness Month: Payton & family

Join us in October for Down Syndrome Awareness Month as families from our DSDN Birth support group share,
what they wish others knew about their child with Down syndrome.

Maisie is our third child. I found out I was pregnant in August and immediately joked that we were adding a third ring to our circus. We had no idea how true that would be!

I didn’t realize the NT was abnormal until I was waiting to see the doctor and skimmed the paperwork. Her measurement was 8mm. “Normal” is generally under 3mm. I started panicking. My OB was reassuring, sent me to the lab for bloodwork, and said that we would worry after the results came in.

My husband and I are Catholic. Our parents, grandparents, and so on are Catholic. The day we had Maisie’s NT measurement was October 1, 2019, the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. As I sat nervously scrolling Facebook while I waited in the doctor’s office, I read a quote from St. Therese. “The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.

I learned, that day, that October is also the month of the Most Holy Rosary, Respect Life Month, and Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The results came in on October 7—the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. Dr. Sanders told me that there was over 99% probability that my little girl had Down syndrome and I wept with joy.

The NT being so high had pointed to a likelihood of one of the trisomies that has a much lower life expectancy and much higher risks for stillbirth and knowing how many advances there have been for people with Down syndrome in the last twenty or so years was such a relief. We were not out of the woods yet—her high NT measurement was because of a cystic hygroma, which is a pocket of excess fluid on a baby that can either resolve without problems or can overpower their systems and the child will die from it.

For six weeks we waited, and prayed, and decided to name her “Maisie Lu Annalise,” which means “wished for child” (Maisie), “light” (Lu), and “graced with God’s bounty” (Annalise). She has brought us immeasurable grace and has been the greatest gift for our family, and today she is a giggly 18 month old.

Having an infant with special needs in the peak of the first wave of the pandemic was an experience I hope I never repeat, but I would do it a million times over for her smile and snuggles. She has helped me grow as a mother, has taught her siblings patience and kindness and unconditional love, and she has so much more that she is capable of and I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27 NIV