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Isla’s Story

Our journey begins in June of 2021. This date will be forever etched in my mind. My solo first ultrasound was at 12 weeks – not by choice, but due to COVID restrictions. But I knew what to expect; it’s my fourth baby after all. I didn’t yet realize the storm my baby and I would need to endure.

After having a CVS test done at 14 weeks, they confirmed that our child would be born with Down syndrome. It was never something I ever really thought about… the possibility of having a baby with Down syndrome at age 33. But I know now that this is a common misconception surrounding a diagnosis. This was our fourth and last baby – I naively expected the same “cakewalk” we had previously.

Fear is a normal response to receiving a diagnosis during your pregnancy. It’s okay to feel all those emotions. I grieved when I received the prenatal diagnosis. I couldn’t imagine what my life would look like with all the uncertainties. I would tell myself to just get through another week. At the end of every week, I would celebrate getting to a new week. This mindset helped me get through some of the dark, hard times during my pregnancy. 

Isla was born on December 20th, 2021 – she was perfect! She had a short stay in the NICU and was discharged on Christmas Eve. It was the best Christmas present we could have wished for, a beautiful gift for our family. 

Isla’s first year of life was harder than we could have ever imagined, with many hospital stays, due to several respiratory illnesses, pulmonary hypertension and a complete AVSD (heart condition). We were informed that she would need to have surgery in infancy to repair her heart. This was completed on July 21st, 2022, the day after she turned seven months old. Although recovery was harder than I expected, Isla got through it. Day by day, she gets stronger and stronger. 

Although parts of Isla’s journey have been hard, it’s been worth it. We have so much love and so much to celebrate every single day. Isla is that little piece that was missing in our family puzzle. We couldn’t imagine our life without her. 


Written by Kandace Lalonde, mom of our cover kid, Isla


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