three medical personnel rushing a patient down a hallway in hospital
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
April 6, 2024 ·  4 min read

Noah’s Birth Story: How Down Syndrome Changed This Family’s Lives… For the Better

In 2010, newlyweds Rick and Abby found out that they were pregnant and beyond ecstatic. They had a joyous time painting the nursery, picking out clothes, and celebrating with their friends and family. The couple was on a journey to start their own family. However, when the baby was born, he was diagnosed with Down syndrome and thus set off a lifetime of love and unexpected turns. Rick has documented their family’s everyday moments to spread awareness of the condition. Moreover, he shares how Noah enjoys his life, despite his challenges.

Blissfully Unaware of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis

On December 14th, a few weeks shy of the due date, the couple went to the OBGYN for a checkup. Things seemed mostly normal, but Abbie’s blood pressure was slightly high. As a result, the doctor decided to induce labor and told them to come back the next morning.

The following morning Rick and Abbie went to the hospital. After 12 hours of labor, the OBGYN came to them with 2 choices. Either keep trying delivery for possibly another 12 or more hours or deliver the baby through a cesarean section (C-section). Because they didn’t know how much longer it would be, and they just wanted to meet their son, they opted for the C-section. Thus far, they still weren’t aware that Noah had Down syndrome. 

Read: Baby Born with Unusual Syndrome – 25 Years Later She Looks Amazing

Image Credit: Noah’s Dad

Noah’s Arrival

After that, everything happened so quickly, and within minutes, the doctor came to get Rick because it was time! They were having a precious baby! A baby boy whose name would be Noah. Rick recalls the doctor saying, “Oh, wow there he is!” and then “Wow…! Look at those cheeks.” The excitement was so intense there was no way Down yndrome, or anything else, could derail the love they already felt for Noah.

Image Credit: Noah’s Dad

In those next few moments Rick felt a range of emotions from nervous to excited. He couldn’t wait to see Noah for himself. Finally, the doctor asked, “Would you like to see him?” Rick excitedly responded, “YES! YES! YES!” He explains in his blog, “Then my heart froze. Seriously. She palmed his little head like a basketball, and lifted him above the sheet, and at 6:15 on December 15, 2010, I saw our beautiful son, Noah David Smith, for the very first time.” Further sharing, “I remember thinking; Wow…shouldn’t she be more careful with him? I had always been told you had to hold a baby very, very gently. Turns out they are a lot tougher than I thought.”

Image Credit: Noah’s Dad

Learning of a Possible Problem

Noah was taken away to be cleaned and have a checkup, as is standard procedure. In strange twist of events, Noah hadn’t been brought back out. Friends and family spent hours waiting around to enjoy the new bundle of joy. The staff on duty needed to contact Abbie’s OBGYN because they recognized the baby had Down syndrome, but they needed the doctor to inform the family.

Noah still hadn’t come out and many visitors left. Rick and Abbie were finally able to rest but all they wanted was to see and hold their baby. Finally, their doctor came in to break the life changing news. The conversation left the couple with countless questions, but Rick remembers hearing the words, Trisomy 21 and Down syndrome.

Characteristics of Down syndrome include decreased muscle mass, a slanted face, small hands and feet, and a tongue that sticks out of the mouth. There are three types of Down syndrome, and Trisomy 21 is the most common. Although Noah faces some difficulties that other children do not, he is happy and thriving.

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Shedding Light on Down Syndrome

Rick wanted to savor every moment of their journey and so started the family’s blog. Furthermore, it became a platform where the family chooses to shed light on Down syndrome. The inspiration came after attempting to learn more about their son’s future needs. Rather than being presented with reassurance and hope, they found little guidance and misinformation. In addition to the blog, they also have a Facebook page with more than 240,000 followers and an Instagram page with almost 20,000 followers. Rick has documented their lives together with numerous videos and pictures.

Noah hasn’t let Down syndrome derail him from enjoying his life. He has a vivid imagination, loves playing with his friends, and has a solid foundation in his family’s religious beliefs. Noah has two brothers and a life full of love and happiness. Each post highlights the family’s fun, giving other families a new sense of hope after a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Keep Reading: Adorable twins with Down syndrome are 1 (or rather, 2) in a million


  1. Noah’s birth story: How down syndrome changed our lives…for the better.” Noah’s Dad. Retrieved January 19, 2023.