The Prieto Family’s Journey: Birth to 3

Gabby's Birth

Before Gabby came into our lives, I was pretty much living the life that everyone else was. I was working sixty hours a week at Target as an executive manager. My husband and I were newly married and we were expecting our first baby. I gave birth to Gabby in October of 2001 and we had no knowledge that she had Down syndrome before we had her. It was just a very chaotic time in the hospital, finding out she had Down syndrome and…and dealing with the different influences from the nurses and doctors. Just simple things like I wanted to breastfeed my baby and I was told by the nurse, “Oh honey, babies with Down syndrome don’t breastfeed” and they took her away to the nursery. And I remember feeling like already I was being told of all the things that my child would never do because she had Down syndrome and she was two hours old.

Over the next 5 days in the hospital, as Gabby underwent screenings for heart defects, kidney issues and photo light therapy for jaundice, we worked at breastfeeding. While we were there, the hospital social worker and our genetics team were helpful with giving us information. We were briefly told about the Alta California Regional Center and the Infant Development Program and that they would be calling us. I was also given the number of the Down Syndrome Support Group leader.

Once home, we struggled with many things. We made the decision that I would not return to work. We struggled with ways to tell our family and friends and I spent a lot of time crying, afraid for Gabby’s future, wondering how hard everything would be for her. My family's only reaction was, “We still love her.” I was numb. Of course I loved her, that wasn’t the issue at all…I was worried about her.

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