Vacationing with an Extra Chromosome

We are about 250 miles from completing our first vacation with Hannah, and everyone survived! I have to admit when we decided to take the trek 6 hours south to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I was very nervous. Just the idea of it stressed me out.

I remember when I was pregnant, watching and reading about people with kids with Down Syndrome going on vacation, and it seemed like they were super human. For some reason, I had it in my head that just having an extra chromosome would make vacations more complicated. Little did I know that not even having an extra chromosome, a heart defect, and being on oxygen makes vacations more complicated. We had a little extra luggage due to her oxygen tanks and supplies, but aside from that, it was like going on vacation with a typical baby.

Our vacation was just a vacation.

That statement seems like common sense now, but when society as a whole views Down Syndrome as a burden, it’s hard to not get caught up in all of it. When you receive a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, the focus is generally on the negatives; there will be learning delays, feeding difficulties, shortened life-span, developmental delays, and the list goes on. They inform you of how your life is going to be different, but they don’t focus on how many things in your life won’t change, or more importantly, how many things will change for the better. The way it’s presented makes you believe your life is over, and you better get used to being a recluse. A Down Syndrome diagnosis comes with an, “I’m so sorry,” instead of a, “Congratulations! Your life is about to get so much better.” In the 21st century, you would think we could do better than this.

Instead of being sorry I’ve been blessed with a child with an extra chromosome, be sorry we live in a society that treats them as burdens and second class citizens.¬†

Thankfully, we are seeing more and more commercials, ads, TV shows, and articles highlighting the fact that people with Down Syndrome are just people.

There’s no need for special labels or explanations.

One can only hope the medical community will follow this lead, and be more responsible in the way the diagnosis is delivered. I hope in the future doctors decide to focus on the positives, so that no other moms have to have a small panic attack at the thought of going on vacation.

Here’s some pictures to show just a few of the things Hannah did on her first vacation!

Our vacation started at Cincinnati Children’s! And update as to how that went is coming soon! William wanted a picture in front of the dinosaur.

View from our hotel!

The three of us went creeking while Hannah sat with grandma and grandpa at the picnic table next to the creek.

Our first Gatlinburg shopping trip!

Dipping our toes in while big brother swam!

Our trip to The Island!

And more Gatlinburg shopping!

Hannah came with us everywhere we went. She loves her stroller, the car, and the carrier! There was literally nothing we were prevented from doing. We all had an awesome, relaxing vacation!

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