*This may contain sensitive information for some*
November 1st. M and I went in for my 12 week scan. It was such a wonderful time for us becuase we were so excited to see our baby. This would have been the first time we saw an actual baby with arms and legs, not just a blob on the screen! A little while in, and after 2 attempts at emptying my bladder “just a little bit more” the sonographer informed us that there was a problem, and she had contacted our Obstetrician. She pointed out there was 7mm of fluid under our sons neck and he also had some fluid over his stomach. My memory fails to remember if she mentioned whether there was a nose or not. But I do remember her saying, “Structurally, everything else looks OK”.
M and I walked over to the Dr.s office and spoke with our OB. He broke the bad news to us. He said there was a strong chance that it was Downs Syndrome that was causing the abnormalities, and that with the degree of fluid, our babies heart was going to stop.
I was in shock. How could this happen? I was only 24. These things don’t happen to people so young… Well, they do.
November 6th. We decided to accept the referal to go to the Royal Women’s Hopsital in Melbourne for a CVS. The procedure wasnt too bad, considering the size of the needle. It was more painful waiting for the results.
The next day we received the preliminary results, and it was confirmed. Trisomy 21. the fluid had also increased to 13.2mm under our baby’s neck, and his heart had slowed to 95 bpm. It appeared things were going from bad to worse. I was numb. I didn’t feel anything.
When I met up with my OB again 5 days later, our baby was still alive, however he wasn’t moving much and I just didn’t feel right. Our OB suggested that it would be better to be induced and give birth to our little boy (we found out his gender through the genetic screening). Now this is where it gets tricky. Some women, like me, don’t want to carry on the pregnancy and prolong the suffering. Other women will choose to do that. At the end of the day, no way is right or wrong.
I decided that I couldn’t sit around waiting for my son to die and not enjoy the pregnancy. I knew deep down that he wouldn’t live, due to the strain on his heart.
November 16th. I checked in to the Maternity ward in Warrnambool and met my midwife and the OBGYN on the ward. We were briefed on how I was going to be induced etc and what to expect. The midwife made us comfortable, and then the waiting game started. 1 hour later I was given my first dose of the medication to induce labor. This happened about 3 or 4 times. Nothing was happening, excpet for some light cramping.
November 17th. 0230hrs I went into labor. I had gone to the toilet and left an awful mess of blood and clots in there and climbed back into bed and rang the buzzer. As soon as I relaxed, it started. Oh my, It was INTENSE! the midwife asked if I wanted any pain relief, and me being me refused, then gave in to the lowest dose of the weakest one. I can’t remember which one it was… probably Panadene fort. Well, this didnt touch the edges. The pain only got worse. I don’t know how long it was but I ended up asking for some sub-cut morphine (I think thats what it was). I could feel that working a treat, and was given some gas to suck on to take the edge off, until the morphine really kicked in. Naturally, it took the contractions away and put me to sleep! But I wasn’t complaining. 0730hrs the OBGYN came in to assess me and said he would be back in an hour to deliver my baby. Sure enough, he was back. 0830hrs my son was born. We got to bathe him, hold him, cuddle him, and take photos, as well as hand and foot prints. I required a D&C as I had a retained placenta.
November 18th. I had a low Hb as I lost about 1 litre of blood throughout the course of the stay. I felt like absolute shit. My son was beside me in his crib. He looked so small. I held him a while longer then decided that it was time for the midwife to take him away. Surprisingly, that wasnt the hardest part of the day. Leaving hospital an hour later was absolute torture. My heart broke into a million pieces, then a numb wave came over me… long enough to get me home. There in the comfort of our house, and with M, we broke down and began our grieving process. I held the blanket and wrap our son was in while I slept…. I still do sometimes.
There is not a day goes by where he isn’t a part of my life, somehow. There are so many things that I own now, that are for him , or a reminder of him. He is my first born. He is my son… And he always will be.