Amber Rojas, of Cedar Hill, Texas, knew something was different about her daughter, Ami, from the moment she was born.
“Having four kids at that point, I knew exactly what every single one of my kids looked like [when they were born],” Rojas tells PEOPLE. “But as soon as I picked [Ami] up out of the water, I noticed her eyes were slanting opposite the way that my kids’ eyes slant. I thought to myself, ‘I think she has Down syndrome.’ ”
The 35-year-old mom of five welcomed Amadeus, whom she and her husband, Fernando, have nicknamed Ami, in September after her second water birth. She says that during her pregnancy, she could sense that something was “different” about their new little one and that the birth was “a lot harder” than her last water birth (for her fourth child).
“Other than that, she’s just like all of my other kids. We love her just the same and we were just excited to be able to meet her.”
Rojas says she received full prenatal care through her midwife’s agency and regularly received sonograms at a local hospital. She says her 20-week sonogram detected no signs of risks for a heart defect or Down syndrome.
“As we were moving forward with getting out of the tub and getting [Ami] checked, I started to notice it more and more,” Rojas tells PEOPLE.
Then her midwife told her, ‘I don’t want to worry you, but we believe that your daughter could have Down syndrome.’ ” Rojas recalls. “I said, ‘That’s exactly what I saw.’ ”
Doctors later confirmed that Ami does have Down syndrome, and the family also learned that Ami has a heart defect. On Tuesday, the 5-month-old underwent open heart surgery and is doing well despite being hospitalized with a breathing tube.
“I feel like kids who are born with disabilities, their disabilities are only as big as what people allow it to be,” Rojas tells PEOPLE. “She’s going to be stronger because she is part of this big, giant family.
“She completes our family.”
As for her other children, Xavier, 10, twins Zayden and Kaydence, 8, and 23-month-olf Ezra, Rojas says they were initially worried that their sister would face bullies due to her condition.
“One of my twin sons, he said, ‘That’s okay! I just love her,’ ” Rojas recalls. “We are learning together about a whole community that we never knew anything about.
“But at the end of the day, she is our baby and we are her family. To us, she is perfect. We don’t see her diagnosis or her label — we see Amadeus Reign Rojas.”
Rojas first shared her story with Love What Matters.