Holli and Marcie's story on World Down Syndrome Day

Hi Holli! First of all, congratulations on being Mum-of-the-month and thank you for joinign me here.

Thanks for asking me, I'm absolutely so honoured :)


Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I'm Holli (well I was before my name changed to 'Marcie's mum'!!) I live with my husband Jamie, two little rescue dogs, two rescue bunnies and our daughter Marcie (who is now 14 months old - where does time go!) We're a very creative and musical family who are now embracing the scenic route learning all about raising our gorgeous baby with Down syndrome.


Would you tell us about your incredible journey into and through your first year of motherhood Holli?

I could go on forever so please forgive me for waffling... I LOVED being pregnant (aside from the sickness and leg cramps!) All my scans were perfect, no concerns, a little wriggly girl was awaiting her arrival. The 'big day' came, 3 weeks earlier than expected and it was just as I'd written in my birth plan (which I hear is rare!) I laboured at home until my contractions were really close, then went to the birthing centre at the General and had a water birth (with my music playing in the background to get me through). The amazing midwives followed my birth plan to a t (and it was an a4 page of a plan!!) Beautiful Marcie was born into the water within 4 hours, I pulled her out of the water and put her straight to my chest, what an incredible experience, I'm welling up just thinking about it! Once we were out of the pool, we did skin on skin and attempted to breastfeed. Then they took Marcie to weigh her/do her newborn checks and Jamie dressed her while I showered. A few hours after Marcie was born we had a 'family leaving hospital photo' and left the General and went to St Mary's Birthing Centre - what a lovely place with the loveliest midwives giving us lots of support and advice while we were in our little happy bubble.


The day after Marcie was born we felt our little happy bubble burst. We woke up and were called straight into a room and told they had checked Marcie in the night and seen some markers for Down syndrome. We were then sent back to the hospital for tests. This was a very dark time for us, it was New Year's Eve and we were in hospital not knowing what the future meant for our family. I didn't even want to tell anyone she'd been born. We went into denial, thinking maybe they'd just got it wrong (things like this don't happen to us right?!) But a few days later Marcie's blood test results came back and they gave us her official diagnosis... Trisomy 21 Down syndrome.


We asked what that meant for her and we got a leaflet and were told not to Google anything. That was it. We cried over the 'loss' of our daughter we thought we had and worried about what our future as a family meant now... Then we rebelled the doctor's advice, we Googled, we researched, we found a charity called 'Positive about Down syndrome' and all of a sudden it felt like a weight had been lifted. We weren't alone in all this, all these babies, children and adults were incredible and achieving so much. So what were we even worrying about? We might be on a different journey than we expected but we're taking the scenic route and we're loving it. Marcie is smiley, VERY chatty, loves cuddles, music and books, has Down syndrome, likes to steal my glasses, hates loud sounds (unless she's making them!!), loves swimming, loves my morning green juice, could happily sit for ages just watching you talk and sing to her. Notice how DS is just a small part of who Marcie is? If only we'd known this when we got her diagnosis, we wouldn't have wasted any time grieving and we would have spent more time celebrating our little something extra!


We celebrated Marcie's first birthday in December and she had over 70 people turn up to her party! She is SO loved by everyone who knows her and we're incredibly proud of everything she has achieved in her first year and looking forward to seeing her break even more barriers this year!


What is the one thing that you most wish to share with us all about life with Marcie, your #homiewithanextrachromie?


If there's one thing I've learnt this year, it's to embrace the here and now. When we got Marcie's diagnosis it felt like the world had come crashing down on us. But every baby is so different (with or without that extra chromosome) and it makes them who they are. Marcie may be delayed meeting her milestones but because we have no idea when she'll reach each one it makes it even more fun and exciting when she gets there. Her hard work and determination is inspirational and we couldn't be prouder.


What’s your favourite gadget in motherhood, the one you can’t live without?

My favourite gadget in motherhood was also my favourite gadget before... it's got to be the kettle!! I loveeee coffee (*me too!) and I don't think I'd function through the day without it! And thanks to you for introducing me to Oatly cream, it's THE BEST in coffee :). That's a pleasure - it's the best!


You did your pregnancy & postnatal fitness with me – Zest4lifeUK - but have you always been interested in exercise?

When I was younger I did gymnastics, dancing/dance shows till I was about 14/15 and various exercise classes each week. Then I kind of stopped. I went to university and my only exercise was the walk to and from uni and the dance floor in the club haha!! After university I got really into yoga and kettlercise but I didn't carry on the classes. When I found out I was pregnant I knew I should do some exercise but I didn't know what, so when I found your classes I was so glad as you knew how to look after my baby bump while exercising (and what not to do with my sexy ab separation - I'll never forget demonstrating that to the class!) I absolutely loved pregnancy pilates and postnatal HIIT!


I know you’re vegan like me: are you also into healthy eating? What’s your all-time favourite plant-based dish?

Just like exercise I go through health phases so much!! With all the vegan junk food and alternatives they keep bringing out I've had a LOT of relapses recently but overall as a family we eat lots of veggies and I drink a green juice every morning (it makes me feel healthy before I have some chocolate!) I love a cottage pie - mash potato and a chilli with all the lentils, beans, veg... so good!!


You and your husband have “his & hers” jobs! Tell us more as I do love that you both have jobs that make a difference in this world.

Well we both work for hospice charities (I'm at our local children's hospice and Jamie is at our local adults hospice). We both do digital marketing, social media, videos, photography and I also do the design/artwork. We both absolutely love our jobs and feel very lucky to be in a job that's for a good cause. Making a difference and having a positive impact means a lot to us.


We all need a bit of “me time” when we’re mums. What’s your favourite “mummy me time” activity?

Jamie tends to take Marcie for a Daddy-daughter walk at the weekend for an hour or so. I use that time to catch a snooze, drink a coffee (more likely), lie down and not do a single thing or if the coffee kicks in I'll clean the house (rarely!) As a couple we go to quite a lot of gigs too so we get the Grandparents on babysitting duty and it gives Jamie and I a bit of 'us' time so we can feel more like us again!


Holli, thank you so much for taking the time to share your Marcie journey with us. It honestly feels such a priviledge and not only am I in awe of you but I also love love LOVE following @holliandmarcie on Instagram. Marcie is a ray of sunshine in our world.