Startled by her baby’s Down syndrome diagnosis, a mom finds support

Moments after the birth of her son, Sam, in 2012, Cathleen Small was alarmed when a nurse swept him from her sight without a word. A woman in a lab coat eventually returned and flatly told Small that Sam likely had Down syndrome, describing some of the technical aspects of the diagnosis but providing little in the way of “where you go from here” information.

Small and her husband knew nothing about the genetic disorder and had no clue where to turn. They were merely handed a scrap of paper with a web address on their way out of the East Bay hospital.

“Medically, my hat goes off to the hospital for their wonderful care of Sam,” Small said. “But emotionally, it could have been much better. This is big news, and you need support.”

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