Wednesday, 21 March 2018 15:11

Youngest mum to have a baby with Down’s Syndrome celebrates prom in the hospital

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A teenage mum who graduated school at 36 weeks pregnant celebrated her school prom with a formal in hospital at her sick son’s bedside.

Brodee Hampton is believed to be the youngest mum in Australia to have a baby with Down’s Syndrome. She gave birth to Elijah on 31 October last year aged 17. Brodee found out a month after her 17th birthday that she was pregnant. She split with Elijah’s dad soon after falling pregnant, but decided she would raise her son alone. At her 21 week scan, Brodee was told her son would be born with Down’s Syndrome and doctors advised her to have a termination, but she refused. Elijah was born at 38 weeks, staying in hospital for 22 days including over the day of Brodee’s formal dance on 11 November.
Elijah needed surgery for a blockage in his bowel days after birth. When Brodee refused to leave him alone in NICU, to attend her school formal, her mum Jodie brought the celebrations to her in a surprise prom. Single mum Brodee, now 18, from Wollongong, New South Wales, has now released adorable images of her marking her prom with her tiny date. She said: ‘Elijah was only 11 days old on the day of my formal. ‘He had surgery at three days old and I couldn’t bear to leave him alone in hospital while I went to party even though like any other teenager I wanted to be with my friends and celebrate. ‘My mum then told me to take a short break and get some photos done on the beach in a bridesmaid’s gown I had.’
Brodee’s sister did her hair and makeup and drove her to the beach. On their way back from the photoshoot, she pulled up across the road from the hospital and said: ‘Let’s go see our boy’. Recalling stepping into the hospital in her gown, Brodee said: ‘I was nervous as I was feeling overdressed but I wanted to see my son, so I went along. ‘As soon as I reached NICU, I saw mum holding Elijah wearing a tux and a chocolate rose. It was such an emotional time that my tears wouldn’t stop. ‘My son was my date for a very special day. I couldn’t believe my formal had come to the NICU for me. ‘We took pictures with the nurses and Elijah, making it a most memorable day.’
Jodie was inspired to bring the prom to the hospital after having watched her daughter face bullying throughout her last year of school, as she faced taunts from other kids for falling pregnant. Brodee had almost given up and stopped going to school for two months, but her mum begged her to continue. Now, Brodee and Elijah are back home, and Brodee one day plans to work with children with disabilities in honour of her son. The full time mum said: ‘I’m glad I pushed through and was able to graduate based on the results of my half-yearly at the same time as my other classmates after a discussion with the Board of Education.
I was 36 weeks pregnant on the day of my graduation ceremony and it was a special moment to hear my name called on stage. ‘Ever since I was eight years old I wanted to be a mum, but I hadn’t expected it to happen this early. ‘I cried myself to sleep for two weeks but as soon as I saw my baby’s heart beating on the ultrasound screen my worries went away. ‘At 21 weeks I was told my son would be born with Down Syndrome. Doctors said I could be the youngest mum to have a baby with the condition.
‘They advised termination. But even the thought made me sick. I couldn’t breathe.’ Brodee added: ‘My little boy did not deserve to die just for being a little different. I was going to give him the best life possible. ‘I joined a Facebook group so I could openly share my sorrows and joys with other young mums and it made my journey a lot easier.’ If you would like to follow Brodee and Elijah’s journey, you can do so here.