Friday, 31 August 2012

What Down’s Syndrome could mean for the baby: Thurs 30.08.12

(and for Vicky and Mike)

The Archers Thursday 30th August 2012

  • Herd Manager’s get paid £60k!
  • The Brookfield grassland hasn’t worked
  • Vicky and Mike’s baby definitely has Down’s Syndrome

Herd Manager’s get paid £60k!


Seems Brian is in a “sunny mood” as he and Debbie have got a good batch of applications for the job.

No wonder, at that rate of pay!

The Brookfield grassland hasn’t worked

Ruth and David had planted Timothy and the like to try and improve their pasture.

But it hasn’t really worked. They’ll need to try again, re-ploughing in the Spring if need be.

But, quite contrary to David and Ruth’s normal reaction to adversity (get deeply and darkly depressed), they can’t be frustrated this time.

Their part (now a picnic) is on Wednesday.


[David] “If the worst we’ve got to worry about now is patchy germination, things can’t be that bad.”

Vicky and Mike’s baby definitely has Down’s Syndrome

Seems the test has no margin of error.

[Doctor] “Your baby definitely has down syndrome … but, what we don’t know of course is to what degree that will affect its development …children with down’s syndrome often share characteristics, including particular facial features, but there’s as much variety as with other babies … some don’t have any specific medical issues …”

But the baby may have heart problems. Bowel problems. Problems with its sight and hearing.

[Vicky] “You always see them wearing glasses, don’t you?”

And its immune system might be compromised.

[Doctor] “They can be at a great of infections, a higher frequency of coughs and colds …”

[Vicky] “Well that’s not a problem is it, a few more sniffles …”

Well, the doctor explains it’s more about being susceptible to lots of other infections.

But. Their baby might have some of these problems. It might have none at all.

[Mike] “Even if you can give them an operation or whatever, they're still going to be mentally handicapped.”

[Doctor] “We tend not to use that phrase nowadays but yes … all children with down's syndrome will have some degree of learning difficulty.”

[Vicky] “Some degree, so that might be mild?”

Yes, the doctor explains, but the baby will definitely be slower to reach “milestones”, like walking or talking. On the flip side, he explains that most folks born with Down’s Syndrome will go to lead fairly independent lives, being able to do things like dress and feed themselves.

[Mike] “Most. But not all.”

[Doctor] “It is easy at this stage to focus on the problems.”

And he explains that life expectancy for folks with Down’s Syndrome is 60/65 now.

[Mike] “I’ll be long gone then, won’t I!”

[Doctor] “Nobody expects to outlive their children.”

But as negative as Mike is being, he’s also being practical. He’s worried about who will support their child when they’re gone.

[Doctor] “One way parents look at it is it’s different, not worse, every child is a person with their own personality and they’ll al capable of bringing joy to the people around them.”

[Vicky] “They can be very affectionate, can’t they, happy children …”

The doctor concurs. Though points out they can also be sad, just like anyone else.

And he gives them a leaflet (!).

Mike then asks about abortion - how many folks have them, and the like.

The doctor tells them that it’s always a very personal decision. Each couple has to make their own choice.

[Vicky] “I don’t care. I don’t care what anyone else does. I couldn’t do that to my baby! … I just know that I want this baby. And I’m going to love and care for it come what may. It’s our baby, Mike.”

When they get home, Vicky wants to be able to talk to other folks about the result. Mike doesn’t want to (as per).

[Mike] “Don’t want to have to tell them one thing, then have to tell them another … you know, if we decided, if we go for termination … have your really thought it through … this baby, it was going to be hard enough work if it were normal, now look at all the problems it will have …”

[Vicky] “Our baby is a gift Mike. I don’t care how hard it’s going to be.”

[Mike] “You say that now, but it’s going to be day in, day out, for years and years, you’ll be getting older, I’ll be getting older. We have a good life Vicky, while spoil it?”

[Vicky] “Please, I can’t bear it.”

Oh, how awful.

Just a wee baby, much loved and wanted by his or her mum.

But Mike … the ever practical ...

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