Like most first time parents, Joey and Alix Moore were anxious to meet their little bundle of joy. On November 3, 2006 Alix delivered a beautiful baby boy they named Caleb.
Within moments after his birth, the doctor and nurses were examining the newborn and talking amongst themselves alerting the young parents that something was wrong. Alix’s mother, who was in the room at the time, asked the doctor what was happening, the doctor replied the baby had certain traits she had noticed and that Caleb was having difficulties breathing.
After only a brief moment with his parents, the baby was quickly taken to the nursery unit.
Later the doctor explained that baby Caleb had traits of a baby with Down syndrome. Examining his palms, the line across his was palm is a continuous line, instead of a broken line like most. Babies affected with Down syndrome tend to have this trait. Blood test would later confirm their suspicions.
Alix’s pregnancy had been without indication, the young couple had no idea their little boy would be born with Down syndrome.
Caleb was diagnosed with mosaic Downs, about 5% of individuals with Down syndrome have mosaicism or a translocation.
Individuals that have mosaic Down syndrome have two different types of cells in their bodies – some with trisomy 21 and 47 chromosomes, and others with a pair of chromosomes 21 and 46 chromosomes.
According to the CDC, Down syndrome is the most frequently occurring chromosomal condition, affecting approximately 1 in every 733 births in the United States. The probability increases with advanced age in mothers; however, 80 percent of children who have Down syndrome are born to mothers under the age of 35 because younger women have higher fertility rates.
Alix and Joey along with their families were shocked at the news of their young son, as new parents they were filled with mixed emotions. The thought of their child having Downs and having never been directly confronted with a child with disabilities, was very scary.
Luckily by the grace of God, Caleb was spared the more serious conditions that some Downs children are more prevalent too.
Caleb’s most immediate problem was his oxygen levels were low, his epiglottis was too large and blocked his air way. At 3 days old Caleb’s parents took him to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock – ACH. Caleb’s parents were told that in time his young body would grow to fit his large epiglottis and that his breathing would improve. But this was not the case, his oxygen levels continued to decrease and at 4 weeks old Caleb was taken to the emergency room at ACH. The doctors said Caleb’s epiglottis was attempting to grow shut, which was very rare and that surgery was necessary. After surgery the very next day, Caleb’s oxygen levels immediately returned to normal.
Looking back Alix, Caleb’s mother, says “We were beyond thrilled to be new parents, but we also had moments of fear about what Down syndrome would mean for our son and our family. We see first-hand every day that the “little something extra” really means ‘more alike than different’ Caleb is a blessing beyond anything imagin able!”
Caleb now almost 9 years old, is healthy and thriving. As a third grader, he is part of everyday school activities and is now playing youth football with his cousin Casey, also a third grader. Caleb now has two younger sisters Carlee 6, and Cason 20 months old. Alix and Joey cherish the time they spend as a family and appreciate the memories they are creating with their children.
Since Caleb’s birth, Alix reaches out and lends support to other parents whose children have Down syndrome as well as anyone affected with disabilities. Her understanding and knowledge has continued to give hope to others.
“Of course as all parents do, we still have moments of fear regarding our children” says Alix, “because you always want your children to be healthy and happy. However, we have gained so much and met so many wonderful and amazing people within the Down syndrome community, that we no longer fear Down syndrome. We know that it means the little boy who came into our family has a very, very bright future ahead of him, and that everything is possible!”