Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Expectant parents' love undimmed

Please read this article,what a wonderful couple,I'm so glad they have decided to keep their baby.

Expectant parents' love undimmed by Down syndrome in their unborn child

For a list of local and national resources for families who have a child or are expecting a child with Down syndrome visit www.dsani.org/publications.html or contact the Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana via email at dsani4u@aol.com or call 471-9964.

By Jennifer L. Boen jboen@news-sentinel.com
“A baby changes everything,” so a Johnson & Johnson baby products commercial says. While that truth is experienced by everyone with a new baby, for Mike and Jenny Cordray of Columbia City, their baby, not yet born, has changed them in so many ways already.In just a few days, they will for the first time welcome a son or daughter into their lives. The Cordrays by choice do not know the baby’s sex, but other important things they do know: the baby has Down syndrome; he or she has a heart defect called atrioventricular (AV) canal, in which a large hole exists in the wall separating the two upper and two lower chambers; and, most important, they already love this baby.Getting news about both a chromosomal abnormality and a serious medical problem was a lot to handle, but the Cordrays are grateful for extensive resources available today. Organizations such as the Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana (DSANI), started just nine years ago, help them prepare for their baby. When they recently attended a DSANI play group, “They welcomed us like family,” said Mike Cordray, 31, an engineer and project manager with DePuy Orthopaedics in Warsaw.“We’re already in the club,” said Jenny Cordray, whose first ultrasound at 19 weeks showed a problem with the baby’s heart. They were told it was likely the most common defect that self-corrects or is easily repaired surgically.Then Jenny’s “quad screen” blood tests revealed a strong possibility of a chromosomal abnormality, probably Down syndrome. Also called trisomy 21, Down syndrome occurs when an extra copy of the 21st chromosome is present rather than the normal two copies. The condition occurs in one out of every 800 births.Additional tests at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis confirmed the more serious AV canal defect. Jenny recalled hearing the news: “I almost passed out. We weren’t expecting that worse news.” Doctors told them in light of the heart problems, the baby could have trisomy 18, caused by three copies of the 18th chromosome. It is incompatible with life. An amniocentesis was recommended.“The doctor said I was getting to the stage of pregnancy when it was going to be too late to terminate in Indiana, and I might have to go somewhere else. But I was starting to feel movement. I was already bonding with this baby,” said Jenny Cordray, a sales rep for Sanofi Aventis pharmaceuticals. It was a difficult spot. By their faith and values, the couple places great importance on the sanctity of life.“A lot of tears and sorrow” were shared that weekend between learning about the heart defect and the amniocentesis. “At that point, we were thinking Down syndrome was the best-case scenario,” Jenny Cordray said. About a week after the amniocentesis, the geneticist called. The worst-case scenario was ruled out.“We said, ‘Hey, we can handle that. That’s not so bad,’” Mike Cordray said of learning it was Down syndrome. Yet such news is never joyous. “You mourn. There’s a grieving process. That’s OK. You’re going to have negative thoughts. Then you do research and find out all you can – and move on. I think it’s through the tough times that you get stronger, get closer to your faith.”With news your child has abnormalities, “certain expectations you have to squash,” Jenny Cordray said. “Then you start over with a clean slate.”The couple hangs on to every bit of good news: Surgery to repair the AV canal defect has a more than 90 percent success rate; and for some reason with this particular heart defect, babies with Down syndrome fare better than babies without the disorder. How soon the baby will require surgery remains unknown.“When I’ve told people the baby has Down syndrome, they often say, ‘I’m so sorry.’ I tell them, ‘Don’t be sorry.’ ” Jenny Cordray said. “I feel like we’ve been chosen for this child. This child is a gift from God. I’m looking forward to meeting the next mom that gets this news.”


Tausha said...

Congratulations to this wonderful couple. What an amazing journey they will be embarking on. Thanks for sharing, this always puts a bounce in our steps.

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story. It brought tears to my eyes. I'm so proud of this couple and can't wait to hear how joyous their life is as a result of having their baby!!!