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1 in 800

By Stephanie Sumulong

Rubbing a rabbit’s foot before an interview. Photo provided by Stephanie Sumulong

Picking up a heads-up penny.

Trying not to break a mirror.

Using your “special” numbers on a lotto ticket, hoping to hit it big.

My beloved University of Notre Dame football team touching the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign before taking the field at a home game.

People do all these things to be lucky or get lucky. I remember being a kid and a friend got a Cabbage Patch doll for her birthday, and I told her she was SO lucky. How many times have you avoided something awful, like a car accident, and said to yourself, boy did I get lucky! We all would prefer good luck to bad luck, wouldn’t we?

I consider myself lucky because I have a husband that I love and he reciprocates (except when I nag about emptying the dishwasher). I have a son that I think is pretty awesome (yes, I know I’m biased).

But lots of people wouldn’t think I’m lucky.

When I was pregnant with my son, my odds of having a child with Down syndrome was 1 in 800. I was 31 years old and the thought of a child with Down syndrome wasn’t even on my radar. My pregnancy was fairly uneventful and nothing was ever detected by any technician or doctor.

But even when a nurse in the delivery room told us that the medical team suspected our son had Down syndrome, I never considered myself unlucky. I had a son, he was here, and I was pretty happy, worried and a little scared, but happy.

Life is often made up of choices that put you in one position or place at a certain time. Sometimes you just happen to be there at the right time for something great to happen; sometimes you aren’t. Often what you get is simply the luck of the draw—you won’t know if it’s going to be good or bad until the finality of the outcome arrives.

But I can tell you that my luck of the draw—my 1 in 800 shot at having a child with Down syndrome—has been one of those good journeys. It’s not without its bumps and bruises, but even when something is hard (surgeries, heart failure, potty training, extremely delayed speech), I know that life could be much, much worse.

You can’t always predict how life is going to turn out, no matter how many things you do to try ward off bad luck. Sometimes in life you have to make your own luck by taking what has been given to you and roll with it. Life has hurdles that force you figure out how to get over them. Luck doesn’t have much to do with that—you do.

Am I lucky? You bet your pot of gold I am!

 

 

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About the Author

Photo by Solito A. Sumulong

Photo by Solito A. Sumulong

Stephanie Sumulong is mom to a young son with Down Syndrome. She is also an online social studies teacher, although she considers working with her son to be her most rewarding teaching “assignment.” Stephanie writes a blog, chronicling the triumphs and challenges raising her son and has had several posts featured on other blogs, including the her blog The Sumulong3, as well as International Down Syndrome Coalition, Down Syndrome Blogs, and Down Syndrome Daily. This is her first formal published work.

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