Moment 2 Moment Masterpiece Parenting Blog
The birth of our daughter and her Down Syndrome diagnosis

How Down Syndrome Came Into My Life

by: Dan Thorndike

Our lives changed deeply on a sunny March day in 2011. My wife, Elizabeth, was in labor and we barely made it to the hospital to receive the epidural she so desperately wanted. She endured natural labor at the birth of our first, and let’s just say, she left her mark… straight in my arm as she bit it!
As things settled down in the delivery room post epidural, we had time to breathe and take it all in. It had been a hard pregnancy on Elizabeth. She endured several hospital visits that resulted in IV fluids and nausea meds, the last one inhouse for a week. It was difficult on the whole family. So, we were ready to move forward and meet this little one. We knew we were going to have a girl, but I was totally betting on a blue eyed, red hair butter ball!

The time came to push and my wife was ready for the task. It was a fun moment, and joy filled the room as she gave one last push. Immediately I saw a bright head of RED hair. I had totally called it! Something was off with Elizabeth though, and the nurses quickly whisked Shelby, our new baby girl, off to the other side of the room. I quickly followed, shielded my new sweet girl from the light, and talked to her. She was just beautiful to me. I counted all her fingers and toes (yes, people actually do that!), and then took a deep breath of relief. I had no idea what was about to transpire.

The words Down Syndrome started to be tossed about the conversations in the room. I felt a bit confused. I did not know much about Down Syndrome. The diagnosis did not phase me as much as seeing my wife in such a state of grief. She was excited and sad at the same time. She is so in tune with people, that she knew Shelby had Down Syndrome right as the doctor was pulling her out. I wanted to comfort her, but I did not have the exact words. As the diagnosis became apparent, the room became a swirl of craziness. Nurses surrounded us with love. Pediatricians came in and out. Tests were run to make sure Shelby’s heart and lungs were functioning well, and close friends began to arrive.

I had no problem with our new diagnosis, but I had a heaviness about the way people were apologizing when they found out. She was beautiful! She was a gift from God! She was ours! I made a promise right then to her that I would set the path off right and celebrate all that she was! We have been doing that ever since. On March 7th 2011 I became a dad to an amazing little girl named Shelby, and my life and heart have been better ever since!

Our beautiful Red Head Daughter

about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”


Dan Thorndike

I am an engineer at heart. My passion is fixing cars and knowing how things work. I owned and operated an automotive repair shop for years but sold it to spend more time with what matters most – my family.



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