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Monday, October 08, 2007

Characteristics

When a baby is born doctors will usually notice if there are any physical characteristics associated with Down syndrome (although I have heard of some parents not finding out until months later.)

Not every person with Down syndrome will have every single feature, and a person can have one or more of these features and not have Down syndrome.

I think one of the most obvious ones is the upward slant to the eyes - or almond shaped eyes.

With Kayla it was her eyes, at least for me. I saw it right away in her eyes and I just knew. There were other characteristics to look for, but I didn't know what these were until later.

A small nose with a flat-bridge. I think Kayla's nose is pretty small, we've always said she had a little button nose, but it seems in proportion to her face. I don't know if she has a flat bridge or not, maybe it is kind of flat, or maybe I'm just used to it so I don't notice it :)


Extreme close-up of her eye! I guess she has an epicanthal fold but it doesn't seem as pronounced to me. I think she has Brushfield spots (small white spots around the iris) but I'm not completley sure if that is what I'm seeing.


When Kayla was born and I noticed her eyes I said "she does have Down syndrome doesn't she?" The midwife who delivered her looked her over quickly (she was a little busy trying to deliver the placenta!) . She opened Kayla's left hand and looked for something (I didn't know what at the time), she shook her head no, but was noncommittal. She was looking for a single crease running across the palm. Kayla has this on her right hand, but not the left, and the midwife never looked at her right hand. (Again, a person can have this single crease and not have Down syndrome).


Then the midwife drew an imaginary line from the outside corner of Kayla's eye to her ear and said her ears weren't low-set. Some people with Down syndrome do have low-set ears and/or a small fold on the top of the ear, Kayla doesn't have that characteristic - her ears are just pretty typical!


Another characteristic I learned about later was a small gap in between the big toe and the next toe. For the longest time I didn't think Kayla had this -seriously! I didn't notice a gap, her toes all appeared to stay together. As she got older, maybe it was after she started walking, I don't quite remember, I suddenly noticed it - that little gap! Sometimes it depends on what she is doing, how she is standing etc...because sometimes it doesn't seem to be there.


Curved pinky fingers. Yep, both of Kayla's cute pinky fingers curve inwards. She also has shorter fingers.


There are more characteristics, but these are the ones I could think of that Kayla has, or doesn't have.
Reposting this as part of the Disability Blog Hop!

post signature

61 comments:

SunflowerMom said...

I adore your daughter's little parts! She has gorgeous eyes, I like to think the Brushfields are stars. Great photos!

Corey~living and loving said...

yes lots of little characteristics there...but every inch of her is a blessing. Her blueberry eyes are stunning.....thank you for sharing all her precious peices with us. :)

Tracey said...

Isn't it funny how you can get so used to your own child and have to force yourself to look for things that others notice right away? I can't even see Corinne's birthmarks anymore, or my boys' poky-out ears.

And while Kayla has all of the characteristics you pointed out, there isn't "one face" for kids with DS anymore than there is "one face" for people of different ethnicities. She's beautiful and so sweet.

Shelley said...

And every bit of her is gorgeous! I loved the way you showed such lovely photoes of the 'markers'- it definitely highlights them as features rather than 'flaws'!!

Mommatude said...

Kendall has all of those except Brushfield spots and the curved pinky fingers....I love them though!When she was born her nose was smaller than the tip of my pinky finger-its not much bigger now ;).

Kayla is such a beautiful little girl,simply stunning.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Thank you for sharing that information. I was not aware of all those characteristics. She has the most gorgeous eyes!

Katie said...

Wow Kayla's eyes are strikingly similar to Jaidens ... She is a beautiful little girl :)
So after all that did you find out for sure she had DS that day?

Cindy said...

She sure is fearfully and wonderfully made!! Brushfields? Extra sparkle sprinkled in by the creator maybe? She's beautiful.

Twins x 2 said...

HI: I found you blog while reading a friend of mines blog (Zoromski).
I just have to say, your daughter is beautiful!!! Also, Congrats on hitting 20 weeks with this pregnancy! Can't wait to read more!

Nancy said...

I love this post and the photos. It's fascinating and strangely beautiful.

My son has similar features associated with Williams' syndrome. The epicanthal fold...large, chunky fingers ("syndrome hands"), flat nasal bridge with a turned-up nose, and starbursts in each iris (that was the giveaway for me when I began my research). I have also heard syndrome kids don't have much in the buns department, but I'm not sure if that's true. He did have a flat bum for a while but seems to be filling out now. One of his ears was stuck to the side of his head when he was born, too, and we took him to a plastic surgeon to get an opinion. He told us to tug on it, and it is actually better now. I hope he can wear glasses if he has to!

Now I can see the features of WS very clearly in my son and others like him. It's like being part of a giant family, and I don't mind it anymore. It used to make me sad. I can see beauty in it now.

jennifergg said...

Oh, my. Looking at Kayla in all "her particulars" couldn't help me love her more. She reminds me so much of Avery.

Yes to the button nose, but I have exactly the same one and I'm rather proud of it.

Yes, to the epicanthal folds and the palmar crease and the
Brushfield spots (she definitely had them, I call them the stars in Avery's eyes. When your new baby is born, maybe with blue eyes, you will see. Or I can send you pictures, of our family, five blue eyes and only Avery's has the sparkles. By the way, did you know that not all babies have the Brushfield sparkles? Kayla has beautiful ones...)
And this. In each photo, I can see her as herself. She is a beautiful child, and too, your love for her is evident. So I will say it now, Can Avery marry her???

We are the first of many proposals, I am SURE. In the mean time, you have found, in us, friends.

amy said...

What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing this with us..Very informative

chelle said...

You missed a couple characteristics that Kayla has ... Beauty, Joy and happiness ... Love ... Giggles!

Michelle said...

I'm so glad I found your blog - thanks for commenting on mine.

I love this post!! I could have used it a few months ago, when we began explaining characteristics of DS to our friends & family. Ruby only has one palm crease, too!

Kayla is amazing - those eyes are unbelievable!!!

I look forward to reading your blog regularly! (and my older daughter had a similar lady bug costume when she was 2 - it's always been a favorite of mine. I can't wait until Ruby's old enough to wear it!)

Carrie! :o) said...

What a wonderful post. I learned a few new things. I wasn't aware of a few of the characteristics. Kayla is too cute for words and as my husband says, *People with Down's Syndrome are God's Angels*! So, so very true!

Karen said...

She is adorable, you can really see the colour of her eyes in the close up photo!

Princess Morgan said...

Every inch of Kayla is perfect, perfect, perfect! Those big blueberry eyes with the lovely stars are just to die for. Such a angel!!!

Overwhelmed! said...

What an educational post, Michelle. I can understand why you'd have to LOOK for these characteristics in Kayla...she's your beautiful girl (inside and out) and that's what really defines her.

Tammy said...

This was so interesting, Michelle. But what struck me in that close up of her eye is how beautiful it was! Big blueberry eyes is right! :) And looking over the replies just now, it seems everyone else has said it already!

One characteristic that you mentioned that both I and my girls share is crooked pinkies! Although ours are long, they are definitely crooked. ;)

Kayla is truly a beauty!

Beck said...

She's a lovely girl.

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

I love this post, Michelle. It is amazing how unique and beautiful each child is and how perfectly God designs us all. Kayla is truly beautiful on the outside, but as I tell Eve the real important place to be beautiful is on the inside, and Kayla definitely is. Give her an extra squeeze today for us!

-Andrea

Denise Pequignot said...

Love the toes, look just like Sydney..heck I cant even tell if someone has DS anymore! All I know is Kayla is super cute:)
Hugs,
Denise

~Melissa~ said...

What a wonderful way to educate! She is so beautiful!!

Tara said...

I love this post. I love every cute little part about her :) Thanks for sharing this - I wasn't aware of all of the features of DS. Oddly enough, Payton, who has williams syndrome, has some of the same features (epicanthal fold, curved pinky, flat nasal bridge, etc). Loved the pictures. Kayla is beautiful.

LauraJ said...

She has my toes!! She has my toes!! Such sweet and glorious toes!! :D

Once Upon a Dream... said...

Kayla is sooo beautiful!

Robin said...

What a sweet little post. Kayla is such a beautiful little girl and those close up pictures make me just want to squoosh her with a big hug! I have never seen such sparkely blue eyes! What a blessing she is!

Mayhem And Miracles said...

Hi Michelle,
I was just getting caught up on your blog after feeling so "out of the loop" for a while now. It sounds like you've had a busy few weeks! What really struck me first was from the photos how much Kayla has changed just since this summer! Maybe it was the closeups of you pointing out all her features, but her face looks "older" and less babyish than it did when we met. They really do grow up so fast! And speaking of growing, you have the cutest waist I have ever seen on a pregnant woman. It's not fair, really. Even with your bump you look so thin. I am so sorry Kayla mistook your friend for Joe. That would be hard. I'm glad she recovered so easily. He and you three continue to be in my prayers.

Kerry said...

Like the other WS mommies above me who posted Brady has similar features. (Except the butt part -- he has NO butt!) But he also resembles his brother and people comment he looks like his father too (although I don't see it!)

Glo said...

Loved all the pictures. The first time I saw your blog I remember thing what a beautiful gift from God. Just the pictures of her eyes can melt your heart. The best part is she has a Mom and Dad the love her very much. You are so blessed.

Paulette said...

I too adore Kayla!! She is so precious and I love being able to watch her grow. I am praying for you both as Joe is away.
I also love following the journey of the new baby! I can't wait.

Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

Thank you for this post....I didn't know those things. And like all your other commentors, she has the most remarkable eyes. She really is a beautiful young lady..but then again, you already knew that, didn't you? :)

The Rocking Pony said...

Michelle, thanks for the "tips." It brings back memories from Micah' birth. I remember saying that his mouth and nose looked like his next older brother, but I didn't recognize the eyes.

I didn't know about the crooked pinky finger! Micah has that and we even asked at the Downs clinic. They said it's just him.

Dori (Aviva's mommy) said...

what cute parts make up Kayla..she is adorable and those blue eyes.

Tammy J said...

I think she has the prettiest eyes I've ever seen, regardless!

I've never heard of any of these characteristics but it was an education to me to read it.

Love & Hugs to Ya'll!

Shannon **Gabi's Mom** said...

I do see the brushfield spots in Kayla's eyes. To me that's like the most beautiful feature of Down syndrome. Gabi has them, too. Although not sure about the folds (I couldn't even tell on Kayla). Gabi also has the curved pinkies, gap between toes, low set ears, small nose, flat bridge, and almond eyes, but she doesn't have the crease in the palms.

And then of coarse Gabi has a cardiac defect to go along with it.

I think Kayla's eyes are less like the typical Down syndrome eyes, but I am sure it was more noticeable when she was newborn.

I remember Gabi's whole facial features were real small. Her eyes, nose and especially her mouth were just so tiny. I am not a small bre*sted woman and I knew I couldn't bre*stfeed her since her mouth was too small to even go over the nipple. TMI sorry!

Great Post!

Amy said...

God made a beautiful perfect little girl that brightens are hearts each and everyday! Someday she'll get to see how many lives she touches. A big hug to my favorite little girl in Blogville!

The Rocking Pony said...

Michelle, thanks for the link to that website. Like you, we've just grown to love our little boy for who he is and don't give his looks a second thought. But we should, these kids are so cute! I'm kinda glad to learn about his pinkies though, because they're terribly crooked and it's good to know why.

Tricia said...

She's so darn beautiful!

annie said...

Thanks for sharing this information Michelle. She is just beautiful and perfect.

Barb @ A Chelsea Morning said...

Fascinating, Michelle. I didn't know any of these except the almond eyes. Her pinkies are adorable and so are her little eyebrows. These are really great photos.

Joy said...

Interesting. Thanks for sharing and educating us. All four of my kids have curved pinky fingers but it did take someone other than me to notice that.

Megan's got 47 said...

I JUST LOVE all that makes up our kiddos. It is funny, Kayla and my Megan have the same characteristics and are missing the same too....hmmmm...interesting ;)

Cathy said...

She is so beautiful! I love- love- love the piggie toes! Gotta love the little feet!

Anonymous said...

What a great post. My son Elijah is 11 and we would go to a teaching hospital once a month for the first twelve months of his life and the doctor would talk to the students about each of his characteristics. They would get to the Brushfield spots and just be amazed. He's a big boy now and enjoying his life. www.elijah.net

Omaha Mama said...

You will love this post in the future because of all the beautiful shots of your baby girl. She is SO cute, but you know that.

I had a child (I call her that but she was 18) in my class when I taught at the young adult program. She was dianosed Down Syndrome, but I never would have guessed. She had none of the typical physical traits.

I have that toe thing and my pinkies bend in. We are all God's children, eyes, ears, noses, and toes, arenn't we? :0)

This was an interesting and education post, thanks for sharing it.

~Hugs~

Red River said...

How striking and beautiful!

These eyes look like my wife's eyes.

My wife has deep green eyes and an epicanthic fold. No one knows where the fold comes from.

We are expecitng our first child soon and we both wonder what he will look like.

Vierotchka said...

What a delightfully beautiful little girl! One can see just how much she is loved, too, and how she blossoms and thrives in that love. Bless her, and bless you, her parents! :)

Anonymous said...

I am finishing medical school next friday and I want to make a comment. If you had asked me 20 minutes ago about the characteristics of a trisomy child, I would have rattled off your list in about 6 seconds (I forgot the brushfield spots), but your post quite moved me. I have never, in ANY of my many lectures have heard and seen such a beautiful description of Down's characteristics. Thank you soo much for sharing the beauty of your child with me. I will keep Kayla's image with me as I teach other physicians about Downs. Thank you for showing me the beauty in what I regarded only moments ago as just phenotypicals marker of a genotype. I am indebted to you and to Kayla for softening my heart and strengthing my mind. Sincerely, Chase

Amanda said...

Oh my god she is so adorable! Her eyes are such a beautiful color, too. You're blessed to have such a cute daughter. :)

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank you! I am a medical student, currently trying to learn these very features associated with children who have Down Syndrome. Your photos have made this much clearer to me. You have a beautiful daughter!

Debra said...

I think those special things are just what makes Kayla so special. I love those little things about children with Down syndrome. I do think that they have the Most Beautiful eyes.

Hugs
Debra and Hope

wayofturtlechan said...

Your daughter is absolutely adorable, and she looks so happy in the photos I've seen of her. I've been reading through your blog and am enjoying and learning from it. Thank you for sharing with everyone who reads it. ^__^

Anonymous said...

I love how great you showed all these things, and I think you're daughter is just so beautiful!! x

David G / State College said...

Sweet pictures, and clearly so loved and so happy!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for posting such beautiful photos of your precious daughter. I am currently a medical student and your post was not only educational but a reminder of how precious each child is!

Anonymous said...

Yes she does have the folds and a low nose bridge. It is apparent she has Down's Syndrome but there's something that they usually forget to mention as one of the characteristics and that is what wonderful human beings people with Down's Syndrome can be.

My mother used to work at a school for children with Down's Syndrome and it was always a cheerful place for me to visit. The children were almost always upbeat and friendly and had a level of altruism and compassion that I'm sorry isn't more prevalent among those without Down's Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

Yes she does have the folds and a low nose bridge. It is apparent she has Down's Syndrome but there's something that they usually forget to mention as one of the characteristics and that is what wonderful human beings people with Down's Syndrome can be.

My mother used to work at a school for children with Down's Syndrome and it was always a cheerful place for me to visit. The children were almost always upbeat and friendly and had a level of altruism and compassion that I'm sorry isn't more prevalent among those without Down's Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

She does have a lot of the characteristics, and she is so adorable!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle may I just say what a wonderful page, I am currently creating a poster for an assignment, I am studying for a degree in working with children with SEND, I currently work as Portage Home Visitor. The poster should be around one specific area of SEND and I have chosen to write about Downs Syndrome as I have worked with many children who have Downs and know what a pleasure that is. Would it be ok to use some of the photographs on your page to highlight the characteristics/features of children with Downs Syndrome.

Many thanks Sindy Hinchliff