Thursday, July 31, 2008

Then

Dylan was born on June 28 2008, at 7:24 a.m. Apparently he was in quite the rush! Around 1 a.m, two and a half weeks before our July 16th due date, I started feeling "stomach pains" AKA, contractions! D'oh!

Dave, Cassidy and I left for the hospital at about 6 that morning - of course after Dave finished giving the dogs their well deserved treats. By the time I was admitted and lying in my hospital bed, I was told that I was already 6 cm dilated! Thankfully Becky made it up in record time for the Cassidy hand off! Things were progressing very quickly so I was checked again by the doctor - 9 cm!

The nurse broke it to me gently that it was far too late for an epidural, but reassured me that the pain would not get worse - only the pressure. The next thing I knew, Dave was back in the room, camera in hand. I began pushing and Dylan entered the world! He was perfect! We were told that his apgar scores were an 8 and 9, and that he weighed in at 7 lbs, 5 oz and was 18 3/4 inches long. Dave and I were absolutely elated - already planning on making the trip to the cape for the 4th of July weekend. Dylan was wheeled away to be checked by the doctors in the nursery.

I did not know it then, but I would not see him again until about 5 o'clock that night.

After I was settled into the postpartum room, I kept asking the nurses if I could please see my son. "Not quite yet", I was told. "He needs some time to chill out" said another nurse. "He was born early, he needs his rest". The hours passed and I was still not able to see my boy. While I was thoroughly annoyed, I was not worried at this point as I had been continuously reassured that he was fine. At around 1 pm, a specialist from the NICU at Tufts Children's Hospital in Boston entered my room. Becky and I were just sitting in there chatting away. Looking back, I do not know why I was still unconcerned. Why did it not occur to me that something wasn't right? This was a specialist! From the NICU! Hello!

All I remember from that conversation is the following: "Blah blah blah dangerously high red blood cell count...blah blah blood transfusion...blah maybe transferring him to Tufts...possible heart problems". At this point you must be saying to yourself, "Oh my gosh, Laurie! You must have been terrified!". Nope. None of this was sinking in, or worrying me. The next words out of her mouth did terrify me...did send my body into some kind of shock. And I am ashamed now that this is what caused me such grief at the time. "We have noticed that Dylan is showing some possible signs of Down syndrome". I looked at Becky just in time to notice her wipe a tear away from her eye. Becky looked at me. I breathed out. I shook my head quicky. Back and forth, back and forth. No. No. The doctor looked at me. I just sat there. Just sat and sat and did not say a word. The doctor kept staring at me, waiting for me to say something...anything! But I didn't, couldn't. Finally, I told her that I needed to call my husband. I was so scared. Scared of Down syndrome. Scared of my son. Scared for my son.

Karen sat with me while I waited for Dave to arrive at the hospital. She tried so hard to reassure me that everything would be ok, that I would be a good mom no matter what, that life would be ok. I didn't believe her.

Hours passed and Dave and I talked with doctors and nurses. We talked with my family, his family. We cried and we got angry. We were so lost. We had to make decisions at a time when neither one of us was in our right mind.

Finally at about 5pm, they wheeled Dylan in to my room so that we could say hello and goodbye as he was headed to the NICU in Boston. He had a whole team of people who would be traveling with him in the ambulance. I remember looking at him and feeling so many different emotions. It pains me now to think about that moment. He did not look good. His body was red...so red. I was so sad, so afraid, so disappointed, so lost.

Thank goodness my family was there that day. I will never ever be able to thank them enough for what they did for me and Dave during those hours at the hospital.

By 6 pm, I was discharged and sitting in Dave's car on our way to Boston. Never ever in my wildest dreams did I imagine my birth experience, heck my life, Dylan's life, our lives going this way. I will never forget sitting in the wheelchair outside of the hospital waiting for Dave to get his car to pick me up. I was just sitting there with Dad and Karen bawling my eyes out. I didn't want to be crying, though, but I couldn't stop. I wanted so badly to be strong. But I was afraid, for I thought that life was not good, not fair. I truly did believe that.

Once I was finally able to see my son and I was able to hold my boy, I knew that I had been terribly mistaken. As I read in the book from my dad, Roadmap to Holland, "Life is good. Hard, but good".

8 comments:

Grammie said...

Laurie,

I'm sure it is not easy to relive those moments,but I can't help but think that you may be helping someone else going through the same thing Grammie

heather said...

This brought tears to my eyes. It makes me so upset how they take our babies away and think it is ok for us to not be with them when they are not doing ok. The same thing happened to me. Morgan was born at 3 am and we didn't get to see her until 9 am after the pediatrician told us they suspected Down syndrome. Maybe his words would not have been so shocking for me if I had seen her struggling in the NICU to keep her oxygen levels up since she had a congenital heart defect. Maybe if I had seen her I could have suspected Down syndrome. But they just kept telling me they were trying to get her body temperature up and stabilized. If I would have known more, I would have insisted I see her in the nursery. I wish you love in this journey. It can be hard to relive those first few months and feelings again but you will come to a place of peace and happiness with your baby. Your life is just more colorful now--a bigger rainbow with Dylan in it!

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Oh Laurie, what a day that must have been. I have tears in my eyes thinking about it. What a journey we are on.

Danielle Jalbert said...

Laurie, I'm sitting here crying as I am reading this. I can picture you outside the hospital in the wheel chair you weren't alone, but yet you were. It's the unknown. I can't even image. You are an angel!

mauimom said...

Hi Laurie-
I have a baby boy with DS that just turned 4 mths old, so it is comforting and interesting to read your blog as you have a year more than me under your belt! As I look through your earlier pictures, I saw your daughter trying Dylan's bumbo, bouncy seat, ect - this made me laugh because my 5 year old daughter is doing that now. I found out about my son's DS prenatally, and a few hours later I was on a plane traveling for 9 hours, I bawled the entire way. When you wrote about crying while sitting in the wheelchair, I felt your pain. It makes me wonder if there is any difference in finding out prenatally or post, I am thinking not. Take care, your children are beautiful!

tracy said...

I just read your post on Dylan's birth (by the way, my kids think your Dylan is just adorable!) and it was like reliving my own birth when Leo was born. They kept him for hours, took him off to intensive care in another city and only hours later (after I had a massive fit) did someone tell me the truth. My little guy is seven now, and every day is full of love! Good luck!

Tammy W. said...

This is so horrifying to read your post and the comments saying how the babies are taken away and the parents aren't told anything. Obviously the hospital staff shouldn't behave that way, but they are able to get away with this because parents are so clueless. I know I wouldn't just let them wheel my baby off to the nursery without giving me a damn good reason. My son stayed with me, non-stop, the entire time we were in the hospital after his birth, except for one very brief trip to the nursery for his heel stick, and my husband went with him for that. How do you not ask questions? How do you not ask to see the baby to breastfeed and have skin-to-skin and bonding time? How do you not get up and go to the nursery if they won't bring the baby to you? It's YOUR baby. You are the PARENT. But I guess if you're that clueless and you're not breastfeeding and you think it's a good idea for babies to be in the nursery after birth, then you wouldn't see anything wrong with this scenario. It still makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine the pain and fear you felt.
Tammy W--what is your problem, why are you being so judgemental?