In July of 2015 we found out what every young couple can’t wait to hear. You’re pregnant! In August it became even more real. We got to see our little Nugget ( which would later become one of his nicknames) on the ultra sound screen. In September we started getting impatient. Okay, I was getting impatient! I couldn’t wait to find out what we were having! We both wanted a boy so bad! We decided to have the Harmony test done that would let us know the gender of our baby a few weeks earlier than an ultra sound. The test was also designed to pick up on any chromosomal abnormalities. I was as a young, healthy, 23 year old woman and I wasn’t thinking about the chance of there being anything “wrong” with our baby. Then the phone call came that would change our whole pregnancy.
“Mrs. Corum?”
“Yes, this is her.”
“Hi, this is Lorie form the OBGYN office. I was calling about your test results.”
“Oh their in? Thank you! Can I come and pick them up on Monday?”
“Mrs. Corum there is something else. The test shows that your baby has a chance of having Down Syndrome.”
“What? How big of a chance?”
“The tests are normally 99% accurate. Now there are options such as abortion, and…”
“No! No one is touching my baby!”
“Yes ma’am. I just have to give you your options. Most parents choose not to go any further with…”
I don’t remember the rest of that phone call. After we hung up, all I remember were tears, questions, and lots of prayer. Were my husband and I capable of being special need parents? I had never met or seen anyone with Down Syndrome before. I was clueless and at that point I thought it was the beginning of a difficult life with a child that would never be able to do much or be an independent person. The months to follow was a blur of extra doctor appointments, research, and kept secrets of the diagnosis from family and friends.
We had our gender reveal party. Its a BOY! Everyone was so excited. It was a prefect day. Even with the secret of our sons diagnosis in the back of our minds.
A few months before our due date, we were to meet with a cardiologist in Birmingham. They were looking for heart defects. They told most babies with Down Syndrome have higher chances of heart defects. After two trips to the Cardiologist, he gave us the all clear. “Your baby looks perfectly healthy to us. We see no defects. I would say this lowers your son’s chance of having Down Syndrome from 90%-80% to 30%-20%.
That was the best news we thought we could get. We didn’t have to worry any longer. Our baby was fine, no heart defects. Out of all the ultra sounds, a tiny nose was all they could find that he could have Down Syndrome. We thought it was over, so we pushed the thought of Down Syndrome to the back of our minds. We didn’t think much about it, until April 12th 2016. After 12 hours of labor and an unplanned C-Section, our boy was here. Enoch Ellison Corum weighed 7 lbs 9oz and was 20 inches long. They brought him over the curtain and I held him next to my face. I rubbed his little head and introduced myself. Then in just a matter of seconds he was gone. It was then that It dawned on me… that my son had a chance of having Down Syndrome. When I got to recovery, I started asking questions. I could tell something was wrong. They told me he was having trouble breathing and that the doctors could hear heart murmurs. They also confirmed that he also had characteristics of Down Syndrome. I was then told they would be transferring him an hour away to Huntsville NICU. They wheeled him in my room and he was inside what looked like a big plastic tub with two holes on the side and wires of every kind sticking out everywhere. I said goodbye from a distance since I had a C-section and it was hard for me to get close to him. My husband and I sat down and cried. We were tired, scared, and running low on hope. We were about to be separated from each other when we needed each other the most. My husband, mother-in-law, and father-in-law left late that night to be at the hospital when our baby arrived. They slept in the waiting room that night in waiting to see our son early the next morning.  The doctors there confirmed what we had been told previously about him having body characteristics of Down Syndrome but had to confirm it with a blood test.
Three days later I begged my doctor to discharge me. I needed to hug my husband and I needed to hold my baby. My husband left the NICU to come and get me. The car wouldn’t go fast enough. When we finally got to the NICU we got the answers we had been needing and more importantly we finally got to hold our baby for the first time!
“Dose he have Down Syndrome?”
“Yes, your son has Trisomy 21, along with three heart murmurs and pulmonary hypertension.”
 He spent three weeks in the NICU and every morning we would call from our hotel room and check his oxygen levels. We would then make our way to the hospital where the days were spent watching stat levels, feeding tubes being put in, doctors, nurses, and asking questions trying to figure out when we would be able to bring our boy home. May 2nd we got the news. We were heading home!! Now we could get on with our lives and start really getting to know our son. Our son with Down Syndrome.
B.U.D.S, other Down Syndrome families, UCP centers, Facebook groups, etc. filled our lives. It wasn’t long after all the support we were given that we realized just how amazing our lives were going to be now that we had this little boy. He was going to be no different.
Now fast forward to today. Enoch is a wild, two year old, Mickey Mouse watching, mac and cheese eating, fist bumping, kiss blowing ladies man who has amazed us with all with his abilities. Yes, he didn’t start walking until he was 20 months old, but now he is practically running and it’s all we can do to keep up with him. Yes, he can only verbally say 4 words but he can say 20 in sign language and his “I love you’s” will melt your heart! Yes, he may be a little behind his peers but he is smart and learns fast! He may get to milestones a little slower than other kids, but from a parents stand point it doesn’t bother us. We get to watch him reach these milestones slower which means we get to enjoy each stage longer, and get to rejoice harder when he reaches them. Down Syndrome has not been a burden, and will never be something that holds our son back from doing something he sets his mind to. It will only be a reminder that we are all different, diagnosis or not, disability or not, we all have a purpose, and have a right to be given the chance to follow our dreams.