A Defining Moment

Before Brooke was born, I would spend hours at the computer with Eric analyzing her 3D ultrasound images against those on the screen…we were trying to see exactly how Down syndrome our baby would look.

We were obsessed with it…every night, poring over the pictures…

The doctors pointed out Brooke’s nasal bone in her ultrasound, so she most likely wouldn’t have that marker…the flat nose.  She also didn’t have that thick skin on the back of her neck, another big marker.  In fact, from her pictures, she didn’t really look like she had Ds at all, which is why the doctors and nurses were so surprised when they finally gave us the news.

From the pictures Brooke’s ears didn’t look to be very low, she didn’t seem to have the big gap between her big toe and her second toe…

And yet we still spent months holding her ultrasound pictures up against the screen, comparing them to the pictures of people with Down syndrome that we could see after they were born…

Then it was January 20th, 2010 and Brooke was born…

And after they took her out of my belly and Eric went over to see her the first thing I said to him was, “How is she? Can you tell?”

“Yes, you can tell, it’s her eyes.  She’s so beautiful!”  Those were the words Eric delivered to me, with tears in his eyes and a tremble in his voice…

She’s so beautiful….

Those three words….

She’s so beautiful….

Yes…yes she is…

She’s our beautiful daughter…

Who happens to have Down syndrome…


  1. Angie says:

    I absolutely love reading about you and your family. The love that y’all share is so apparent. I also love the humanity you show. The concerns and fears you had before Brooke’s birth, the things you struggled with and the joy you find every day in her, these are all things we all go through in our own lives, in our own ways. Brooke is beautiful because of who she is but also because of how loved she is. She thrives because of her family. Thank you for sharing little glimpses of your life with us. I’m always glad I took the time to read your latest post. :-)

  2. TUC says:

    I remember that fear so well… what would she look like? I had read descriptions that made me feel sick. And then she was born, and like Brooke, she was beautiful.

    It is a shame that pregnant moms are told what their child will look like in such outdated, negative terms because they are wrong, so wrong.

    Thanks for sharing Brooke’s beauty with the world!
    TUC recently posted..Are You Aware?My Profile

    • holly says:

      and isn’t it crazy that we’re were more worried about her looks? And even now, I worry about it, because no matter how smart she is people will judge her like that…

  3. Jenny says:

    Love what Eric said…And she is sooo beautiful :)

  4. She really is a beautiful little girl!
    Heather ~ Acting Balanced Mom recently posted..Happy Birthday to Me Giveaway!My Profile

  5. Maddie says:


    You brought me to tears! Thank you so much for this story.

    Maddie (just another blogger)

  6. Becca says:

    Oh, yes, she *is* so beautiful! Even without a prenatal diagnosis, once Samantha was born I spent many, many long hours trawling the internet for photos of older children, teens and adults with Down syndrome, as if that would give me the glimpse into the future I was craving. I’ve learned how different all of our children are, how unreliable those early searches can be, how beautiful ALL people with Down syndrome really are.
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  7. Michelle says:

    I’m not sure how I never saw it before. How beautiful children with Down syndrome are!

  8. jester queen says:

    This is a moving tribute to a beautiful little girl. Go Brooke!
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  9. Well thank you very much for making me cry out of the blue!!! She IS beautiful like her mama – and blessed with two wonderful parents. xoxo
    dysfunctional mom recently posted..Spicing Up HalloweenMy Profile

    • holly says:

      I like to do that once in a while….I know you expect laughter most of the time, so every once in a while I have to change it up…

  10. Robbie says:

    This made me cry happy tears. Love this. She is beautiful.
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  11. Jessica says:

    Oh this has me all choked up. She is beautiful and the world is lucky to have her.
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  12. Alison says:

    Oh yes, she is. She is.
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  13. Shary says:

    So I’m assuming since she doesn’t have nearly all the traits that she’s extremely high functioning? I don’t mean to sound so blunt, I am just simply wondering. I’m actually anticipating my 20-week ultrasound in a few weeks and although I have no real reason to worry I think its a fear in all mothers-to-be whether or not they will get the child they expect. She’s beautiful though, as are all of your children. :)

    • holly says:

      You’re not blunt…just curious…no worries! Actually, there seems to be no correlation between how many markers or features one has with how high or not so high functioning they are, though the general public has that assumption. Before Brooke was born, we had the same thoughts, and people still say that to me all the time, that she must be very smart or “not very Down syndrome” since she doesn’t quite look it. And so far, Brooke seems to be more high functioning…speech is her biggest delay, though she has some words and knows signs and understands everything we say to her…she is truly amazing…I wouldn’t change anything about her, though if you asked me when I was pregnant I probably would have said otherwise….Good luck with your ultrasound…. :)

  14. She is so beautiful. Thank you for posting this.
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  15. Astrid+Brooke = I WANT A PLAYDATE!!!!!
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    • holly says:

      and then we could sit on our butts and drink too much coffee! Bliss…
      oh, and then we could go shopping and you could dress me…

  16. Anna Theurer says:

    Got that right, Holly. Miss Brooke is not only beautiful. She is stunning!
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  17. Chris Carter says:

    Funny I am reading this now. About two minutes ago, I just posted about our dreams…and how they turn into “better dreams”. Your Brooke is a precious site to behold!!! I truly believe you would have lots to say about my latest post!! What an incredible family you have!
    Chris Carter recently posted..Better Dreams…My Profile

    • holly says:

      Oh, I could have written a novel as a comment for your last post, but didn’t want to be obnoxious…so I stuck to the big points…ha!

  18. Ty & Tracy says:

    Hi! I’m Ty!
    Brooke is beeyooteeful!!! And by the look on her face in the pic, I’m gonna guess she likes to keep mom & dad on their toes lol…my kind of girl!

  19. We’ll you’ve made me cry! I wasn’t expecting Holly to make me cry on Monday morning!

    She IS beautiful… simply gorgeous!
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  20. Charity says:

    Yes she is beautiful!
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  21. Cricket Sosa says:

    I did not expect to come cry my eyes out at your blog. Your daughter is beautiful! All children are, and thank you for sharing!
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  22. Melissa says:

    I remember looking at Claire’s ultrasound pictures too. On one of them you can obviously see her sandal gap, but with all the markers we were told about, that one was never mentioned….and yet there it was in ultrasound picture evidence. It’s actually my favorite ultrasound picture. :)

    Claire hasn’t been feeling well the last couple of days and is dozing on my lap while I get caught up on blogs. She saw Brooke’s picture as I scrolled by and popped up and said “hi” and signed friend. :)
    Melissa recently posted..Step Up for Down SyndromeMy Profile

  23. We opted out of the amnio and took the MaterniT21 blood test instead. It came up negative, but it’s a pretty new test so as I get closer and closer to my due date, this is certainly on my mind. I don’t think we’ve had any of the “soft markers” but we had all the elevated proteins, etc. So now it’s wait and see…
    Christa the BabbyMama recently posted..Remember How I Said I’ve Been Working On a Project? Check Out Mom Meet Mom!My Profile

    • holly says:

      did you do the triple marker blood work also? And just because I’m curious, though I probably shouldn’t ask, why did you do the test anyway? Would you have terminated if it came back positive? Or do you just want to be prepared?

      • Yep, our markers were why we did the new test. Which is supposedly quite accurate but is no substitute for an amnio.

        As for what we would have done, honestly I don’t know! Like no idea. We talked and talked and went back and forth and really never came to any 100% conclusions. Sometimes we talked about termination. Sometimes we talked about wanting to be as prepared as possible. In any case, we still never found out 100% since only an amnio can do that and we didn’t go there because of my previous miscarriage. It seemed too risky when we were never sure what path we’d take anyway.
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  24. I have my own special needs child and she is just as beautiful to me as my other children. They are all special in their own way, aren’t they? BTW…LOVE the photo of you…PRICELESS! Ha! Ha! ;)
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  25. Of course she is beautiful. I think sometimes as a coping mechanism we concentrate on those little things to avoid thinking about all the huge things that could happen.

    You are so lucky to have your beautiful Brooke in your life.
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  26. Oh, she really is so beautiful! And so happy, too! How blessed are you?

    Visiting for the first time from PYHO. What a sweet introduction to your blog! :)
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  27. Shell says:

    This made me tear up. She is beautiful!
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  28. Tiffany says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. She is beautiful. So much so.
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