If you want to get caught up, all the way, then click here for the backstory.
So I rested and slept and thought and waited until about 2 am. The contractions were getting more intense, and although they didn't hurt, I could tell something was different about them. I debated in my head alot about whether or not I was feeling the "right kind" of pressure that they kept asking me about. Finally, I asked to be checked again, and what do ya know...it's time!
They called Dr. N right away and got me all ready to go. She got there in about 10 mins, got all gowned up, and said, "Let's have a baby." I pushed 4 times, over about 8 or 9 minutes, and there she was at 2:27 am. 7 lbs 0 oz, 19 1/2 inches. Nebraska Larae. I didn't have a bit of pain while pushing, either. Very cool.
It was all very exciting for about 1 minute. One precious minute of bliss. The baby went to the warmer just across the room and my husband followed. The doctor continued to do her thing on me, and I noticed that the nurses were whispering over at the warmer. I immediately felt uneasy and wanted to know what was up. Everyone just kept talking all hushed. Braska was crying, so I knew she was breathing and all. My husband came back over to me and I asked him what was up. I don't remember what he said exactly, but he blew me off, basically. Said it was all fine or something. He knew at that point. He just didn't tell me. The nurses talked to the doctor, the doctor looked at Braska, then she came to finish up with me. She was telling me all about what to expect for my part of the recovery, etc. Finally they bundled the baby up and brought her over. I knew immediately when I looked at her. I could see it in her eyes.
I feel the sense of loss again now just as I did in that moment. But now it's passing and minimal. Then it was the whole world.
From there on, for the next two weeks almost, I was in a fog. I don't remember alot of things. Some I remember distinctly though. Dr. N came and said that they suspected Down syndrome and that they would draw some blood and confirm. She said they would be running an echo to check for heart defects, but that she didn't think they'd find any since all of my ultrasounds were good views and showed nothing. Wow.
They came to draw the blood and they stuck her I don't know how many times. I don't know now why I didn't make them stop. Tell them to do it later. If I'd have realized how unimportant it was at that point, I would have, but I was numb and almost couldn't put a thought together. I sat there and watched them stick her and she screamed. Not 30 minutes old and she screamed for almost that long while they tried to get blood. Finally, she went limp. I thought something happened, but I think she just shut down. They continued to stick her but she didn't move. Her eyes were open, but no sound. It was heartbreaking, I do remember that. Thank God she can't remember that.
We spent the rest of the "night" trying to rest as she slept in her little acrylic crib at the end of my bed. I watched my husband sleep, and my mind just raced and was nothing all at the same time. I remember thinking about how it must have been all the stress of the first trimester that did this. I was so mad at the people responsible for that. Then I thought maybe it was some kind of mistake...I thought that alot. But I knew. I just knew.
I felt that this was the worst thing that could happen. This was a sort-of surprise pregnancy, one that brought a great deal of problems to our marriage early on. Things had been looking up over the last couple months of the pregnancy, and I was hopeful that this was a new start. But nope, that wouldn't be possible now. This would be the icing on the horrible cake. I was sure that I had lost everything I knew and loved at that moment, and I would be left to deal with this child and all her problems alone. You can see how I didn't get much sleep those few hours when I had the chance.
Braska hadn't been the least bit interested in breastfeeding when they had me try, but then again, that was right after they'd made her a pin cushion for 45 minutes. Who could blame her? Man, I wish I'd had my senses about me...so much I would like to correct. That's the nature of reminiscing, I guess. So she hadn't eaten at all at about 6 hours. The nurses took her to bathe her and try to get her to eat. They gave her a little from a cup, they said, but not enough. So we were told that they were moving us to the postpartum area, they were taking her for the echo, and she would join us there. We waited about 2 hours, and I was getting anxious. Finally, they brought her in, but only for a few minutes. They said she'd still not eaten, and they were going to put a tube down her nose and into her tummy to feed her. I was not at all happy about that. In fact, when they took her to the NICU to do this, and then called for us to come see her, I couldn't go. My husband went first and came back to tell me, "It's not that bad." I did manage to go in there for a short while, but I had to leave.
The NICU doctor came to tell us the results of the echo that afternoon. I remember him standing there with his PDA (the device), talking to us about a PDA (the defect) and mentioning AV canal. I listened closely and understood...after all, I work in medicine and medical terminology. I thought I could handle it better because I "got it." But after he told us the situation of her two holes and what to expect, including surgery at 3 to 6 months old, I fell apart. I had a harder time with the heart stuff than I did the DS at that point. I kind of refused to think about the DS, hoping it would be wrong. But this heart stuff, that was for sure. That was proven to exist, and I couldn't deal with it.
The rest of that day is a blur. I know we had friends come to visit and some family in and out. But I was just a shell of myself, as they say. I only remember going to sleep that night, my husband getting out of his bed and crawling into mine to hold me and cry with me. As painful a time as it was, that moment will always be a cherished one. We talked then only a little, but it was probably the most connected we had been in months before and after. For that moment, we were in it together. And that's how the day ended.
November 21, 2006. One very long day. One very sad day. But the day that led to many, many happy ones to follow. If only I could have glimpsed that then...