MamitaI don't mind telling his birth story. My first effort at typing it up was pretty long. Here's the short version:
Induced at 3 days past due date due to low amniotic fluid and not a lot of fetal movement. DS' heart rate crashed to nothing after each induced contraction so it was obvious he couldn't tolerate labor. Had c-section and DS checked out as "normal" so was allowed to room in with me. Two days later they found his heart defects and sent him to the NICU; the next day Down syndrome was confirmed. He was discharged the day after I was so he only had to stay in the NICU 5 days.And here are the details:
Pg totally normal. Had ultrasound at 19 weeks where arm and leg bones measured the equivalent of 18+ weeks and head measured at 20+ weeks. This is when I first started thinking that DH is a foot taller than me and his whole family jokes about their big Irish heads, therefore, I better be mentally prepared for a c-section because this baby's head may not fit through me. We had no ultrasound on the advice of my doctor. He said that at my age (I was 39), if there is no news that would cause you to terminate the pg then it's not worth the increased risk of miscarriage. So, other than a slightly large head, nothing to worry about. It was kind of odd to me that in my 9th month everyone who asked when I was due was completely shocked. Being my first pg I didn't think much of it at the time, but in hindsight...
When I was 3 days past my due date we went in for a stress test. DS had been VERY active that morning while I was eating my oatmeal, but 2 hours later he was napping. They gave me a soda to drink and used this bizarre buzzer on my belly to wake him up and he did move about, but nothing like when he was awake on his own. When they did another ultrasound to measure my amniotic fluid it was on the borderline between low and okay. The tech called my doctor then put me on the phone. There are 4 doctors in that practice and mine was not on call that day, but it was the woman I was actually hoping WOULD be on call the day I went into labor. She suggested that we induce while the baby was still healthy and not under any duress and I agreed. DH was thinking it wasn't a good idea, but he didn't say so at the time. I am a big believer in signs and took the fact that the doctor I wanted was on call (and she is not an aggressive "let's give everyone an epidural and then a c-section" type) as a sign that inducing that day was right.
When the nurse did an exam to check my cervix, we both noticed that the baby's heart rate dropped, and I mean crashed. The graph when from a high point to about as low as it could possibly go instantly. She took her hand back out and the heartbeat went to normal. Hmmmm, we both said. She went off to call the doctor and came back to say that they weren't going to use the little pill they normally put in to soften the cervix; if his heart rate crashed like that again there was no way to get that pill back out. So they put me on a pitocin drip that was minute. I could see that I was having contractions on the monitor, but I felt absolutely nothing. However, each time the monitor for me would go up with a contraction the monitor for DS' heart rate would again instantly crash. The nurse went off to call the doctor again and they decided at that point that they would turn off the pitocin. Unfortunately, they had already let me have lunch.
So we had plenty of time before they could even think about doing a c-section. I talked to the doctor on the phone and agreed that there was no way this kid could tolerate labor. That was obvious to me before she told me it was her opinion. DH was in big-time denial. He thought that this was DS' response to an induced contraction and that maybe he just wasn't ready to be born. We waited until the doctor finished her office appointments and then she came over (about 6pm) and sat down with us and all the family members who were there and explained why she felt a c-section was necessary. DH put forth his theory about just going home for the weekend and seeing what happened and the doc's response was that we would have a stillborn baby. I had been thinking this myself, so I didn't have any problems with what she was saying, but I think that DH's worst fears were coming true. He did not want me to be cut open and risk losing me too. He eventually agreed that it was the best thing for DS. I think my acceptance of the idea helped him. Like I said, I had been ready for the "you need a c-section" news since about week 20. It was all new to DH.
At 8pm they took me back to prep. I loved my anesthesiologist. She had me cracking up. I made sure they brought in something for DH to sit on in case he couldn't stand to stand up and watch the whole procedure. (He did though!) DS was born at 8:31pm on 6/3 and weight 6 lbs 3 oz. No wonder I looked small for someone at term. DH went over and did the ceremonial cord cutting at the little table where they were examining DS. His Apgar scores were both 9's. No one noticed anything wrong with him at the time. They didn't hear the murmur until the next day, and didn't worry about it until the day after that. (The neonatal nurse that was there for the birth told us that she specifically looked for signs of Down syndrome because of my age and saw nothing. Three days later when she was telling us that story, she was positive she could see it though.)
Because there is genetic deafness in my family, that was the thing that I was prepared to find out he had. However, when we were in the recovery room waiting for my spinal to wear off he looked right away at the sound of the neighboring gurney being moved, so we were sure that his hearing was normal. He roomed in with me for 2 days, latched on like a champ before the night nurse went off duty at 7am, and was just generally a cool kid. It broke my heart when they told me that the murmur hadn't gone away so that a cardiologist had done an echo-cardiogram and found some serious defects. That meant that DS would have to go to the NICU. The cardiologist was the first one to mention that it was possible that this was related to Down syndrome since heart defects are common in kids with Downs. We got the news from the geneticist that he was sure about the Downs the next day, I think (the days are a blur from the time DS had to go to the NICU until he was released). I got discharged one day before DS, and he only had to stay the extra day because his NICU doctor was off the day I was discharged. The doctor on duty didn't want to discharge another doctor's heart patient.
: It gave us a night of getting used to pumping at home, etc. We have a 2-story house and with the c-section healing I couldn't use the stairs unless necessary. I had to pick if I wanted to be downstairs near the kitchen or upstairs with the shower; I picked the shower. DH had to run up and down bringing me water and food. At least we were all set up and ready when we brought home DS the next day. We stopped at Wendy's on the way home and had a little picnic on the floor with him -- our first meal as a family.