By Ella's Mom
Originally posted on May 29, 2014
Ella was welcomed into her family in the early summer days of 2009. She came with some resistance but with her chin up – a reoccurring theme in the years to come for Ella and her family.
The first time Krista held Ella she was overcome with joy but had a lingering concern for her beautiful new child. Her motherly intuition had been tipped off when she first gazed at Ella’s gorgeous almond eyes. Doctors and nurses continually told the family that Ella was a perfectly healthy newborn but her struggles couldn’t help but be noticed that she was showing signs of Down Sydrome.
Finally on day three of their prolonged hospital stay, Ella’s doctor admitted to believing there was a possibility of Down Syndrome and referred them to a specialist for further testing.
As a parent it breaks your heart when your doubts about your child are confirmed. All you want is somebody to tell you that there is nothing to worry about and that your child is perfectly healthy. For Ella’s family, their hearts were heavy when the doctor started talking about specialist appointments, possibilities of heart abnormalities, trips to Children’s Hospital, and everything that comes along with a diagnosis.
A visit to Children’s Hospital was not the answer. The genetic specialist told the family that usually after the physical examination there is a 90% yes or no confirmation but Ella’s case still left the doctors uncertain. Ella had the typical folded over ears, palmer crease, and of course, her eyes but she had better muscle tone, was more alert, and there was no history of genetic disorders in the family. Ella had to undergo chromosome testing, which finally confirmed that she had an extra chromosome resulting in Down Sydnrome or Trisomy 21. Since children with Trisomy 21 carry an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, it means that they have an excess of any genetic material contained in it. For this reason, children often have a flattened bridge, congenital heart defects, physical and intellectual developmental delays, along with many other potential health risks. It was discovered very early in Ella’s life that she had a hole in her heart. Thankfully, it was not too debilitating and would most likely close on its own (which it did).
It hasn’t been easy, but four-year-old Ella carries the courage many of us can only hope for in her healed little heart. She has the resilience that only comes through a determination to overcome adversity and stereotypes. She has people who believe in her, give her the opportunity to fulfill her potential, and who not only want her to succeed but who know she will succeed. And when you have a child with special needs they are not to be taken for granted. They are a rarity in the world that focuses on the ability instead of the disability. It is because of encouragement from her cheerleaders and her own hard work that Ella is able to live a very full life. She goes to preschool, has friends, dances, runs, makes art, sings, laughs and fights with her older brother. She never stops playing in the midst of her struggles. In September, Ella will start kindergarten – at a French Immersion school.
Thank you to Ella's family for sharing her story of over coming adversity. This little Bean is so inspiring, and we are so grateful to be able to share her story with all of you. All of us at PK Beans are sending Ella and her family all the best!
Super Beans is a space dedicated to children who have overcome challenges in their life and are thriving today. These stories, told by their families, continually inspire us and we hope that sharing them can positively impact you and your family too.
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