Three weeks before our little boy's expected arrival I woke up for the 5th time in the night to go pee. I thought I felt a tiny little pop. I wondered if my water might have broken so I stayed up a little while to see. After about 25 minutes I couldn't tell, so I decided to go back to bed. I woke up and hour later at 3 AM and still wasn't sure if I was leaking water or not, so I stayed up about an hour this time. Again I was unsure, so I woke Chris and told him I was just going to drive to the hospital (less than 15 minutes from our home) and have them check, since I was Group B Strep positive and would need to start antibiotics if my water had broken. It was absolutely pouring outside and Chris insisted that he would call my mom to stay with the boys and he would drive me.
At the hospital it took several inconclusive tests and almost 5 hours before they finally sent in someone to do an ultrasound to see for sure if the water had broken. It had.
I was given an IV for the antibiotics and encouraged to rest since it had been a long night and my labor hadn't started. We had breakfast and lunch, we walked for a long time to try and jump-start my contractions, and then I returned to the room so they could hook me up to the monitors.
That's when the little guy started to do his tricks. His heart rate was going crazy, the midwife on call kept trying to convince me to get pitocin, and I was beyond stressed with how medical it had all seemed. My previous births had been really peaceful and I had delivered both in the tub so all the "routine procedures" that kept being thrown at me felt really scary.
When my midwife finally arrived, I still hadn't really started laboring and the baby was still having a hard time so she refilled my uterus with water to give the baby something to move around in. Then she said that if he didn't hurry up and get things moving we'd have to get pitocin. Apparently all we needed was a little more water and the threat of pitocin because immediately labor kicked in!
At 5:45 pm my contractions began (I was at a 4 and had been since I arrived) and Cohen Martin was born at 6:30 pm! It was absolutely the most intense 45 minutes of my life.
Cohen was breathing, but quite blue, so instead of being placed in my arms he was taken by a team of specialists to be examined on the other side of the room.
As the Doctors and nurses moved around my precious little one I caught a glimpse of his face and I knew. Tears streaked my cheeks as I realized that this was reality- it wasn't some figurative baby with "designer genes." This was my baby and he has Down Syndrome. I watched Chris whisper to one of the many nurses surrounding my little Cohen, I saw her nod and say something back, then I saw his tears. The time from that moment until they placed him in my arms is still a blur.
When they put him in my arms, I suddenly knew that we would be okay. He looked at me, eyes full of the wonder that only a creature brand new to our would can know. He latched right on and started nursing. He was so beautiful, smaller than the other boys had been, and he had those signature upturned almond-shaped eyes.
I had read a story in a magazine once in which the doctor told a new mama something along the lines of "Your baby is wonderful, and perfect, and has Down Syndrome." That story stuck with me and that's how Chris called and told our families. Both of our parents and all of our siblings had nothing but sweet and encouraging things to say.
As I repeated the words in my head "He's wonderful and perfect and he has Down Syndrome" I began to believe it.
This is getting long again, so I think I'll have to do the NICU (Cohen Part Three) later this week!