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".