Thursday , July 29 2021

‘Extra’ Chromosome Completes Oskaloosa Family

OSKALOOSA, Iowa – World Down Syndrome Day is Sunday. It falls on March 21 because Down syndrome is caused by having three of the 21st chromosome.

Turns out that extra chromosome in one little girl is making up for what her mother is missing.

Like any 8-year-old, Khia loves watching her tablet and eating sweets. She’s the youngest of Lynette Gordon’s five kids, kids she wasn’t sure she’d be able to have after being diagnosed with Turner syndrome as a teen.

“Turner syndrome is a condition where the woman is missing one of the sex chromosomes. And if that is missing in all of the cells, then it’s highly unlikely that she will be able to reproduce,” Dr. Neil Mandsager, maternal-fetal medicine physician at MercyOne, said, “but if it’s only missing in some of the cells, what we call a Mosaic Turner, then it’s possible that she can have children.

Lynette remembers Dr. Mandsager consulting when she was pregnant with her twin boys, and again when she had advanced maternal age when pregnant with Khia. She said her ultrasounds indicated everything was fine.

“It’s so true when they say a mother’s intuition because, throughout my whole pregnancy, I felt like there was something wrong.”

It was Nov. 16, 2012 when Khia was born. It was also then when they noticed she was showing characteristics of Down syndrome.

“About three hours after she was born, our doctor came in,” Lynette recalls, “and as soon as he walked through that door, I could just tell something was not right.”

As a single mother with four kids at home, Lynette was overwhelmed and unsure if this was something she could take on by herself.

“I felt guilty. I felt like maybe she would be better off with a two-parent family,” Lynette said, “but then when she would smile at me, I was like there’s no way. She’s here, she’s mine, she was meant to be here with me.”

Lynette soon realized Khia completed her family in more ways than one.

“I’m missing a chromosome and she has the extra.”

As we approach a day that brings awareness to a disorder that impacts so many families, Lynette has a message.

“I don’t even think about Down syndrome when I look at her. I don’t treat her any different. I want people to see her ability and not her disability, and to see how more alike she is than different because she definitely is.

Khia is happy and healthy, with no major health problems related to her diagnosis. She’s going to school where she’s learning how to read, and keeping her mom and siblings on their toes at home.

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