It’s no wonder that Lee-Anne is a ballet teacher. She is graceful beyond measure and she has that air of elegance that all ballerinas exude.
Dave and Lee-Anne were told that they would battle to fall pregnant and when they did, little Rhys was their long awaited gift. Spend even one second with them and you will see their deep seated love for their little boy in every fiber of their being.
Rhys has some of the most incredible balls skills that I have ever seen on a little boy and you cannot help but fall in love with his gentle nature and cheeky grin.
Thank you Lee and Dave for sharing your beautiful son with us.
Enjoy reading Lee and Dave’s journey – it is heartbreaking, hopeful and humbling all at the same time.
Who makes up your family?
Dad (Dave), myself (Lee) Rhys as well as two cats, Yaya and Tom
Tell us about your diagnosis journey – how, when, where?
Drs had always told us that it would be impossible for me to fall pregnant and if I did there was very little chance that I could carry to full term due to medical complications as well as a severe stroke, but despite all odds we did. I was already 40 YO, in top shape and healthier than I had ever been before. We had all the normal scans as well as tests for Down Syndrome, when we went for our Nuchal scan and were told all was normal so I opted not to have an Amniocentesis due to our high risk of a miscarriage. We also knew it was the one and only chance we had of having a baby. My last scan I had at 30 weeks, we were informed I had run out of amniotic fluid and was prepared for an emergency c-
section. Rhys Eduard Holding was born a blue-baby, jaundiced and rather small was swiftly rushed off to NICU. They sedated me and apparently took Dave off to have a “chat”. I later learnt that they suspected Down Syndrome and requested if they could test Rhys.
The nurses were very unsupportive of us and asked which home they should call as we
would never be able to take care of our child. Two days later I got to see our little warrior, he spent 5 days in NICU. It wasn’t until 7 weeks later that I got the call to say, your son has been tested positive for Down syndrome, we can’t do anything more for you. I was devastated, there we were left alone without any support, knowledge and to fight this battle on our own. I have learnt so much already on our journey, and there is no way in hell he was going to live any where else but with his mamma, papa and two cats.
Which moments do you find tough?
Shew, were does a mamma start, to be the toughest have been the looks you get from
strangers. They look at Rhys and then look at you, but swiftly look away. It is so hurtful to
think what must be going through their minds. We’ve had so many judgmental comments spoken, from is he one of those children, you know he will die soon to how long long will he live to other parents saying to their children, he’s different don’t play there. Rhys is an extrovert in a bundle of fire exploding to make friends and share his ball skills and cars.
There is nothing Down about this little warrior.
Which moments do you find euphoric?
Watching Rhys reach each of his milestones with grace and gust. Nothing has stopped him from achieving them. he has taught me so much, the greatest lesson being to BELIEVE that all is possible just put your weight behind it.
What would you like to tell your pre mom of a child born with Down Syndrome self?
Its a tough emotional journey to start off with, it can be overwhelming but trust in
yourself and you will get over these hurdles, just like any other in life. Nothing in a
“normal life” is easy in any case, with Rhys it’s just a little different.
What would you like the world to know/understand about your child?
Rhys wants to make friends just like any other little child. Please give him a chance. He is
just a typical little boy who wants to play in muddy puddles, dance, sing, kick balls, and
play with cars. There is nothing NOT NORMAL about that.
What advice would you give to a family who has just received a diagnosis?
Mamma, you’ve got this, take it in your stride, I know it is hard. But we are a united
sisterhood and there to stand together through this journey. Please give your bundle of joy a chance at a life worth living.
If you could change one thing in the world to ensure an easier life for your child what
would it be?
For kids not to be cruel, and that unfortunately starts with parents and how they bring up their children. Don’t be mean just because someone is differently abled, instead show
them or just better yet, just be their friend and that goes for you too mammas.