You’re In for SO Much Joy! | Nic’s Story

a 4d ultrasound of Nic
Nic’s 4d Ultrasound

My pregnancy with Nic was easy. I had no substantial or prolonged morning sickness like I’d had with my previous two pregnancies, no major aches, pains, swelling, or other typical discomforts that one might experience, and the entire family was happy and excited for our last little love to join us. Of course, given my advanced maternal age (I was *gasp* 36!), my OB really wanted me to do all the genetic testing that was available – you know, just in case… I agreed only to the 4D ultrasound, which yielded a very cool picture of Nic looking very much like big brother Tim, and an “all clear” about his health and development from the docs. And so, my happy, easy pregnancy progressed.

The night Nic was born, the pediatrician who was working on him after they whisked him away (before I could even see him) came into my room around 3am, wringing her hands and looking terrified. My stomach dropped and I thought my baby was dead, but all she said was that they suspected he had Down syndrome. Wait, what?! She wasn’t delivering condolences?? Some other horrible thing must be wrong based on her demeanor, right?

Nic in the hospital; he has a breathing tube
Newborn Nic

So, I asked her if he was okay and she looked at me like I had three heads, and repeated that they thought he had Ds. So, I emphatically repeated, “BUT. IS. HE. OKAY?!” As in, “You look like you’re about to tell me my baby is dead or dying, but so far, you’ve only said, ‘Down syndrome,’ which is FINE.” She couldn’t seem to grasp this, so I flat-out asked her if he was going to live. She then, very matter-of-factly explained that he’d aspirated meconium and had pulmonary hypertension. She said they’d need to transport him to a hospital with a higher-level NICU so that he could be intubated (and they left me behind – don’t get me started on that ridiculousness!), and then I asked her to leave.

Nic and his siblings sitting on the couch
Nic and his siblings

After that, I emailed my dear friend and then-boss, Cynthia Rodriguez, who has a beautiful daughter, Libby, who also happens to rock the extra chromosome, and told her about Nic. Cynthia also happened to be my boss at the time, and Libby spent a good amount of time at the office, and Libby days at the office were always the BEST days! I made it my business to always have “business” with the boss whenever she was there. I also had at least two distinct moments during that pregnancy when I wondered if Nic had Down syndrome. They weren’t unsettling thoughts; just, “hmm… I wonder if…?” I’d never had those thoughts with his older siblings. Maybe they were wishes. Anyway, the next morning, Cynthia had replied to my email with a beautiful message that began, “Congratulations! You are in for SO much joy!” and truer words have never been spoken!

Nicole and Nic making funny faces in the mirror. Nic is wearing a dinosaur costume
Nicole and Nic

The past decade has been filled with so much fun, laughter, learning, so many new friends, the purest love, and the most unadulterated joy I have ever felt in my life. Nic is my soulmate, my best friend, and the absolute love of my life. He may be my youngest child, but I scarcely remember a time when he wasn’t around. If I could do it over again, I would in a heartbeat. I would choose him every time and I wouldn’t change him for the world (but I sure as h*** am working on changing the world for him).

-Nicole Harrigan

The Harrigan family sitting on a couch smiling for the camera
The entire Harrigan Family- Bill, Nic, Tim, Nicole, and Lyla!

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1 Comment

  1. cynthia rodriguez on August 1, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    OMG I am so touched. You have told me before that you needed to hear that, as I wish I could have, but to see it there at the heading of your blog completed me. I have always been so glad I could share that, and then even more glad I could watch and witness the happiness and charm of your whole family, and their embrace of Nicolas and all his positivity and perfection without any of the fear and prejudice that so many parents have to experience because the general misunderstanding of ability, disability our own lives and futures. your fabulous understanding of our souls and expectations has allowed all of your kids to grow up happy, accepting, and with their values satisfied by love. you are the lucky ones. everyone, every one, envies your beloved family.

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