I don't remember exactly what prompted the conversation, but one of the nurses that cared for Pacey in the NICU reminded me that while Pacey's extra chromosome accounts for some of his characteristics, he still gets his genes from his dad and I. For some reason that felt really profound at the time...like I'd forgotten that although the tiny, wrinkled baby in the incubator seemed like a stranger, he was still half me and half Chris. There is every chance that he will show an aptitude for math, like his dad, or a love of structure and routine like me. He gets his brown eyes from me, his coarse hair from his dad.
One of the first things I noticed about Pacey (and this was before I had an inkling that he had T21) was his feet. He has a larger than normal gap between his first and second toes. Why did I notice that? Because his little feet looked like miniature versions of his dad's. It was so cool to see something familiar that I could directly relate to Chris. Now, as it turns out, this enlarged gap (called a sandal gap) occurs much more frequently in the Down syndrome population. But for me, that's just something he got from his dad.
Similarly, when I was having the anatomy scan with Brighton, the perinatologist mentioned that she had clinodactyly, or inward curvature of the pinky finger, which is a soft marker for Down syndrome. We'd already had a CVS performed and knew that she did not have Ds, but the doctor glanced over at my hands and said "oh, you have it too." And sure enough, my pinky fingers curve inwards just like my kids' do. Something that seemed "different" about Pacey is actually just something he has in common with his mom and his sister.
Another common feature seen in people with Ds is a single palmar crease (those little lines that cross your palm and apparently predict your future). Pacey actually has typical creases in his palms but I have a friend who told me about one of her parents (I can't remember now which one) who had a single palmar crease despite not having Ds. It's really cool to me to see these "hallmarks" of Ds in the general population...it's a good reminder that we really are more alike than different.