Mom Shares the Moment She Realized Her Newborn Has Down Syndrome & It's Beautiful

Down Syndrome water birth
Birth Unscripted

Amber Rojas certainly didn't "plan" on having five kids. After finding out that she was pregnant with her first child, Xavier, while she was on birth control, this mom from Texas decided that she and her husband, Fernando, were done having kids. But she quickly changed her mind and ended up pregnant with twins. Six years later, baby number four joined the brood, and 19 months later they were surprised with another pregnancy. However, Amber knew that something was different about this pregnancy long before her baby girl was born -- or anyone else believed her.

  • Amber wanted to be surprised during her baby's birth and decided to wait instead of finding out the gender.

    "Since this was my fourth and LAST pregnancy and fifth baby and I've literally labored every way possible, I wanted to leave something to surprise," Amber tells CafeMom. "Something different to look forward to, especially because we really were not planning to have any more. So I decided to do a surprise gender and my husband and kids just went along with it. We all thought I was having a boy!"

    Despite both mom and baby being in perfect health throughout the pregnancy, Amber says that she always knew something was different -- and it had nothing to do with not knowing the gender. "I really thought it was a boy but I also knew that something else was different! I didn't know why or what but I always told my husband this baby was going to be different," she says. "My pregnancy wasn't different but I knew something was. He kept saying it was because we didn't know what the baby was."

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  • It turns out that she was in for a surprise, and it had nothing to do with gender.

    According to Amber, although the pregnancy felt the same as her past experiences, her feelings and instincts were different this time around. She explained that even after her sonogram showed "zero signs of concerns," and she knew her baby was healthy, she still had a strong feeling that she couldn't shake. "I remember thinking that the fact that I was 34 (35 at delivery) that I'm considered high risk but only because of my age. But then I thought that if I did any further testing that no matter the outcome, my feeling for my baby would be the same," she says. "We would still love the baby and the baby would still be part of our family."

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  • Amber realized her girl had Down syndrome the moment she held her -- before doctors even realized.

    At first, Amber was mesmerized that she was having the clear water birth that she's always wanted and was enjoying the end of her last pregnancy journey. But within five minutes of Amber's getting in the water, baby Amadeus was born and Amber immediately realized that her newborn has Down syndrome. "Next thing I know my sweet baby is in my arms and sooo many emotions, and as soon as I look down I saw it. I saw it in my baby's face. I thought to myself ... my baby has Down syndrome," she says.

    But then her eager family asked about the gender and Amber's pure joy took over. "I totally forgot we had no idea, we didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. Then I looked down and to my surprise it was a girl!" she says. "My thoughts of her having Down syndrome went away because I was so excited we were having another girl!"

  • Amber's hunch throughout her pregnancy was right: Her beautiful baby girl is "different."

    Nobody said a word to Amber about Amadeus's possible diagnosis but this mom trusted her gut. "After getting out of the tub and nursing her I could feel that she felt differently than all my others. She felt really limp, and her eyes -- we all have small eyes but hers were small in a different way," she says. "I kept thinking, why isn't anyone saying anything ... I thought I was crazy ...."

    As they were getting ready to leave the birthing center, Amber's midwife finally came over with some news. She shared with the family that Amadeus, whom they nicknamed Ami, has "a few Down syndrome markers," and Amber only had one reaction: 

    "In that moment I was like I knew it! I KNEW IT! Finally I didn't feel crazy! I knew I was right! I knew something was different when I was pregnant and then immediately became a worker bee," she says. "I wanted to know everything they knew about babies with Down syndrome so I could best care for my daughter Amadeus. We didn't care that she had Down syndrome because we were all obsessed with her and all of her chromosomes!"  

  • Ami's siblings are already madly in love with their baby sister and proud to be members of the Down syndrome community.

    Ami had to spend the following five days in the hospital because she was born with a congenital heart defect, and this was the hardest part for her loving siblings. "The big ones were so confused and worried a lot so we tried to make their life as normal as we could, being so far apart from each other," Amber says. "They love her greatly and I've tried my best to explain what Down syndrome means to her and us but I also didn't want my kids or anyone else to treat her differently." 

    When they asked if their baby sister was going to be bullied, Amber was honest with her kids and explained that Ami is just like everyone else. "They were concerned others would make fun of Amadeus as she got older and the best way I could explain is the fact that all of us have been made fun of at one time or another and we don't have Down syndrome. But it's our job to help educate others and to lead by example for Ami so that she has the life as we all do, and we can't prevent others from being mean," she says. "They LOVE her, they love sharing her story with their friends."

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  • Although Amber knew from the start that her baby was "different," there's no doubt that she's also perfect.

    "To us, she’s like all the other babies we have had! She needs milk. She cries when she's wet or uncomfortable. She smiles when she sees us and we love her fierce!" she says. "We are learning together about a whole community that we never knew anything about! But at the end of the day she IS our baby and we are her FAMILY! To us she is perfect! We don't see her diagnosis or her label ... We see Amadeus Reign Rojas." 

  • Ami is now recovering from heart surgery to repair a heart defect that is common in babies with Down syndrome.

    Amber admits that as a mom, she's dealing with guilt while feeling like she's carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. And online trolls are making it even harder for her as she tries to raise awareness for her newborn:

    "Many have called my daughter sick, or have asked whats wrong with her and as hard as I try, I've come to the understanding that some just don't and won't receive her diagnosis the way we do. And that's hard. You want everyone to accept your child and love on your child and that's just not the way it is. She is just like all my kids; every single one of my kids have 'special needs' in a way to me -- like more help with math or reading, or more discipline -- but they also ALL do need love and acceptance. 

    "Kids with the diagnosis of Down syndrome just want to be looked at and treated just like everyone one else and they deserve that right. I will always do my part and share and educate those who are open to learn and go on this journey along with us as we all start to see things from a different perspective."

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