Monday, January 16, 2012

any time is a good time for advocacy

On October 28th 2011 Ola went to our local hospital to have tubes put in her ears, it wasn't a really big deal, I was a little but nervous, handing her over to the doctors was a little bit upsetting, but watching her struggle to succumb to the anaesthetic was the worst.

I walked back to her room, impressed with myself that I didn't cry, and pretty much as soon as Mark snapped this lovely oh so flattering photo the nurse was back to take me to recovery to be with her.

When I was sitting in recovery with Ola I was busy chatting with a really friendly nurse about Ds. I can't remember how the conversation started but she asked me why Ola didn't have any teeth yet. When I started to explain to her that children with Ds usually get their teeth anywhere between 18-24 months and in random order she was really surprised, she had no idea. It kind of surprised me in the moment that a nurse wouldn't have any idea about this, but then she can't possibly know everything about every syndrome can she? She just needs the basic information about the patient she is dealing with, not all the fine details.

It took a about an hour in recovery for Ola to stop crying, and then we hitched a ride with a porter back to her room where she cuddled with Daddy.

I told Mark about our conversation, and as Ola sat with him still groggy and cranky from her surgery we talked about how any time is a good time to be a Ds advocate. There are so many opportunities in a day to spread awareness, you just need to get the conversation started.

I decided then and there how I was going to celebrate National Down syndrome Awareness week in Canada.

On November 7th the last day of Ds Awareness week I got a tattoo.

It has taken me a long time to write this post because this tattoo means so much to me. I have a few other tattoos that all have special meanings to me to, but this one... this one is different.

When I was deciding on how I could promote Ds awareness through a tattoo I decided that I would get a modified version of the Canadian Down Syndrome Societies logo. I am Canadian, and Ds was the purpose so it was a perfect fit.

I didn't want a carbon copy of the logo and gave my tattoo artist some ideas to work with like the heart, but I wanted the basic message still there.

It was a easy decision for me to get it placed in an obvious easily seen spot, the whole idea is for people to see it, ask about it, and then I can talk about it. I love talking about my beautiful Ola and her fabulous friends!

The other day (when the snow wasn't dumping!) I had the sleeves of my sweater rolled up in the grocery store and the cashier commented on my tattoo. Perfect, the conversation started and she learned that Ola:

a) had Ds (she said she had no idea)
b) that she was 20 months old (and still so little)
c) that she isn't walking yet, because of loose stretchy tendons, but that she's a bum scooter (bum scooter info courtesy of big sister Poppy)
d) that the symbol of my tattoo is for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society.

Mission accomplished I say.

There are abundant opportunities to get the awareness and advocate conversation started, you just have to start them.

I could talk about Ola all day long!

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Vintage Home said...

What a beautiful entry and a wonderful tattoo!
Thanks for sharing!.....!

Christina said...

Love the Tattoo! I have been thinking for months on what to get to represent Paige and DS as well! I am hoping that I will figure it out sometime soon.

Nana said...

People I work with are getting an education on an ongoing basis. They are really interested in how my Granddaughter in particular is doing and are excited as me with her progress. Helps that she is so adorable.

Andrea @ The Penny-Roach's said...

Hi there! I love your blog, and your kiddos are adorable! (This is Andrea btw, from #SITS31DBBB) Your tattoo is perfect, I wish I could come up with an idea that fit our family so good.

I think I'm going to like being bloggy buddies :)

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

I think it's a fabulous way to raise awareness!!

Ola is beautiful.

Stopping by from lovelinks.

Rachel from Birch + Bird said...

One of my daughters went through minor surgery about a year ago and she fought the anesthesia as well. I held myself together just fine up until that point. I love your tattoo and the story behind it. Thanks for sharing. :)

Ado said...

Lovely way to spread awareness.
Oh that must've been hard for you watching her go under anaesthesia!
Ola is SO cute.

Jackie said...

What a lovely piece and that tattoo a fitting tribute to you little girl!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I wish there was a tattoo that stood for my nephew's chromosomal deficiency for my sister. What a beautiful idea. People often think Austin (7) is 'off' but unless you see him around others his age it's not always clear. This is a way of saying, "Well...this is a symbol of my son's 'specialness'" LoveLoveLove said...

Watching little people go into surgery is so scary--the anesthesia, the hospital beds look so big, they look so small...and they have to go alone! I love the way(s) you have found to promote awareness and to be an advocate for your daughter and her friends--and their/your families. Bravo. (Plus it's a rocking tat. Nicely done--and you seem to have found a real tatto *artist* Fab)

Greta said...

What a gorgeous little girl! And a gorgeous tattoo. That's awesome...little Ola is very lucky to have such a loving, strong, involved mom and advocate.

Dude of The House said...

Such a great idea to get the tattoo as not only a tribute to your daughter, but also a way to spread positive info. It sounds like you are having a positive effect on those around you.

DiaperDads said...

This is coleslawesome. Keep up the good work!

Jamie said...

Definitely a conversation starter! She is beautiful. I have to say though that your disclaimer at the bottom asking us not to steal your tattoo design made me giggle!

Kindred Adventures said...

I LOVE your tattoo!!! Such a beautiful story. I love your inspiration and the idea behind the tattoo. You are such a smart momma. Did I say I love'd the tattoo. Absolutely beautiful! How lucky we all are that you are able to think so creatively and different to advocate for your daughter and continuously teach others about her!! -LV

PsychoJenic said...

That is a fantastic tattoo (and a great story!) Thanks so much for sharing with us at Down Wit Dat for the T-21 Blog Hop!