Micah was born on Saturday morning (2/19)! We was 36 weeks and 2 days along. It was a pretty amazing birth: I woke up at 8am and thought "I think the baby has dropped." Then the contractions started. When I started timing them they were 7-8 minutes apart, then quickly they were 6, then 5, then 4. The nurse midwives said to call when they were 4 minutes apart for an hour, but it had been less than 30 minutes when they started coming 3 minutes apart, so we called then. I was lying on the bed--the contractions were too intense for anything else. I had taken a shower and was trying to get dressed to go to the hospital but I could only get one leg or arm in a garment between contractions. I could literally feel my cervix opening with each contraction. My husband David was there, timing the contractions and calling the midwife, and my mom was there because we had called her to come get my daughter. The midwife said to come on in, but then I said that I felt like pushing. Apparently she put me on the phone and said, "Danielle, do you feel like you're going to have this baby right now?" and I said yes very emphatically. She said, "call 911 and get some towels." A few minutes later I gave 2 pushes and David and my mom caught the head, and then the firemen arrived and caught the rest of the body. It fe3lt absolutely amazing to push him out. Then the 911 paramedics arrived and clamped the cord (there was no way I was going to say, excuse me, we want to wait until the cord stops pulsating...) and David cut it. They attended to Micah, who was a little blue--he had asperated some of the gunk after he came out since my mom and David didn't know to clean out his nostrils. They gave Micah some oxygen and got him and me into the ambulance to take us to the hospital. I birthed the placenta in the ambulance.
We spent two days in the mom and baby floor and he's now in the NICU unit because he's got some typical 36 week immaturies around feeding. My milk has come in and I'm pumping around the clock and he's getting that into him in a variety of ways. We're holding him as much as we can and he's just the sweetest little baby. (Actually, not so little, he weighed 7 lbs 7 oz at birth.) Right now he's sleeping pretty much all of the time, but he's becoming a little more alert and roots to nurse, even though he doesn't stay latched on. He did nurse well a couple of times the first and second day, so we feel confident he'll be able to.
We also found out on Monday that he's been diagnosed with Down's Syndrome. It has been quite a shock. I don't have the time to describe all of the emotions I'm feeling right now but I know we'll get through it and be OK. We've had so much support from our families and the staff at the hospital. We've told a few friends but haven't said anything more broadly, since announcing on Facebook the first day that he was born and was healthy. It's really hard to handle people's reactions so we're holding off with that while we process a little bit. We've been hooked up with support organizations though we haven't met anyone yet. When I hold Micah I know everything will be alright but it's a bit of a shock to realize that we're about to enter a whole new world and that our life is completely changed in ways we never expected. Our 8 year old daughter was pretty upset when we told her but yesterday she spent time bonding with Micah and that was really beautiful. I know this is going to be a powerful and life-changing experience for her, as it will be for David and me.
Congratulations on the birth of your son! I know that you will be able to get the support you need to deal with the surprises that came with his birth. Good for you for basking in the joy of his birth despite those thngs! It sounds like everything is going pretty great consdering he's in the NICU. I hope he's out of there soon. Congrats again!
Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...
Wow, what a whirwind you have been on!
First of all, congratulations on your baby. Hopefully you will be out of the NICU soon and home and nursing will go well. You should feel great that you are doing what you can now with pumping etc. to help him be as healthy as can be.
I can only imagine the shock and emotions of the Down Syndrome diagnosis. It sounds like you are on the right path with having some support and help information available and for now just taking the time process the birth and appreciate your LO. I am sure your older child will one day be one of his greatest advocates and helpers. Hopefully the support organizations may have something to help siblings as well.
This may seem like a minor question (especially in the face of everything else you are dealing with). But after having the baby at home were you able to hold the baby in the ambulance on the way to the hospital? How was the transfer experience at that point? (I am expected a fast labor and mentally preparing myself for something similar to happen).
I wish you the best as you continue down this new path. But mostly I wish you happiness in holding and enjoying your little boy!
Wow! What a story!!! Congratulations!
My friend's daughter recently had a baby who was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome shortly after birth. She was COMPLETELY unprepared (for any of this), but she's found some fantastic outlets and resources. It's great that you've already found a network of support!
Congratulations again. How exciting!!
---Jessica---Livin' my life from A (1/05 ) to Z (4/08 ).....and z (3/11)
Congratulations of the birth of your wonderful Micah! Isn't it amazing how you woke up that morning thinking, "la de dah, just another Saturday" and you went to sleep that night as a mother of two? Thank you for sharing you story!
Anetta, earthmama in the City Wife and best friend to DH , SAHM to our little princess Leda and furbabies Hans and Heidi
Happily expecting a pair of "oops!" twins in October!
Wow, now THAT'S a birth story! Congratulations!!!!
Sounds like you are dealing really well with everything- the birth, DS being in NICU, and the Down's. That's a lot to take in very quickly! I'm really glad you and your family are doing so well and already making connections for this journey you are starting on. Many blessings!
Mama to 3 awesome girls: DD1 born 2001, DD2 born 2002, DD3 born March 2011
Congratulations and welcome Micah! I agree with the other posters, that's a lot of experiences, info and emotions to process in a few short days. You sound like you are handling it all well and are a wonderful mama!
Congratulations on the birth (I had one of those unanticipated homebirths, too! What an adventure!) and welcome to the world, sweet Micah!!
Just wanted to let you know that your world has changed -- but I promise you it's changed for the better. You'll never be the same but you'll never want to be. Micah is an especially awesome gift and you are all so blessed!!!
Those first couple weeks of getting over the shock, adjusting to the idea, and facing the "what ifs" can feel completely overwhelming but it will all return to normal in time. Promise! And there will come a time not far off when you will gaze into his beautiful eyes and wonder why you were ever worried or scared. :)
PM me if you'd like to chat more! :)
Wow! Congratulations, and welcome little Micah! You grew a nice sized little guy, at 7 pounds at 36 weeks. I'm sure Down Syndrome will have it's challenges, but some of the loveliest people I've known had DS.
Mom to eight!! Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.
Congratulations! Even though it was clearly not the birth you anticipated, it sounds like it was incredibly peaceful. You're obviously experiencing many more emotions than you otherwise would be with a new baby, but I hope with all the resources and support you have that any apprehension and fear is quickly replaced with joy and optimism.
Mama to F (3/09) and S (3/11); and never forgetting my babe gone too soon (4/10).
Congratulations!! Welcome Micah! What a story! That's such a fast birth! When will Micah be home? I went to a playgroup with a mama whose son had DS and he was he sweetest, happiest little guy ever! She was also nursing him. Remember MDC as a resource as well. I know that low tone can be an issue and I'm sure there are MDC mamas might have carrier recommendations. Our 2nd March baby!! Woohoo! Enjoy your baby! Pictures?
Congrats on your little boy!!! I hope he gets to get out of the nicu real soon and your babymoon can start!!!.
Congratulations Mama! What an amazing birth story!
I have been reading Kelle Hampton's blog for over a year now. I'm not sure if you read blogs, or if you know who she is, but she gave birth last year to a little girl who was diagnosed with Down's after her birth and has blogged what the birth and the following year was like (along with all the joys of life). It's a really great, positive blog:
Peace to you and your family. You sound so calm. I hope he's out of the NICU soon!
Thanks to all of you for your beautiful words! I don't post often here but it felt like a safe place to share the news. I've since been able to compose an email to send to all the women who came to my shower, something I wasn't ready to do before today. I think in my message here I didn't quite capture where I was emotionally (for example, that I can't seem to stop crying...), so I'll share the other message here as well.
But first, to respond to jcregan about the ambulance ride--yes, I was holding my baby the whole time. We were in the emergency room briefly, and I held him there. Once we got to the labor and delivery floor they did take him and put him under the warmer to check him over and who knows what else. My husband was right there with him and I knew whatever they were doing was what Micah needed at that moment to make sure everything was alright. They stitched up my tear there and then we went up to the moms and babies floor. Either David or I held him there all the time except when the docs needed to give him a check. I slept with him both nights until he was taken to the NICU. Now we hold him almost all day. I've been coming home to sleep because I'm a light sleeper and know I need to keep my energy reserves up. David's spent each night there so far, though we'll see how long he can keep that up. I'll probably stay there some nights to spell him, and maybe we'll get others to do some shifts.
Here's what I sent out to friends today:
There's a little more to Micah's story and I wanted to share it with you myself. We found out on Monday that Micah has Down's Syndrome. It's hard to describe what it's like to be delivered such news. We're feeling a pretty complicated mix of grief and awareness that we love our son and know that he will bring us much joy. We knew that having a baby would be a life changing experience and we're just starting to discover exactly how much. We're also learning that there are great resources and networks to support families of children with Down's and feel like we are entering a totally new world, one we never expected to be a part of.
Our challenge right now is for Micah to learn how to eat on his own, whether at the breast or with a bottle of pumped breast-milk. He breast-fed successfully a couple of times the first two days, so that's a good sign. He's quite sleepy, partly because of coming early and partly because of a high red cell level that makes his blood sluggish. At each feeding we try him for a little bit at the breast, then the bottle, and then the rest comes through a feeding tube straight to his belly. I imagine that sounds bad, but he barely fussed more than when he gets his diaper changed when they put the tube in and this way he gets what he needs without us struggling or pushing him too hard, which could leave a negative association with eating. This hopefully will help with the red blood cell level and thus the sleepiness. We're also told that feeding is a developmental step that we'll just have to be patient as he matures and reaches that step. We're told that the way he feeds is pretty typical of a baby born at 36 weeks. He has a really strong rooting reflex and good mouth control, both really good signs that aren't always present in a 36 week baby without Down's.
congratulations on your special little boy. every baby presents unique challenges and joys, I'm sure that having him come early and the Down's diagnosis both have given you quite a shock, and right now there are a lot of expectations about the future that you're having to re-write as well as the feeding struggles in the present, but I'm sure once things settle down you'll be able to sit back and enjoy your wonderful son. for a short NICU stay and a chance to settle in to life with Micah soon.
part-time and through infancy. planning a
Congratulations! I'm so glad he is doing well and hope the success with feeding keeps progressing. You are showing a great deal of grace and strength in your writing here, and I hope you continue to allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel. Cry when you need to, and keep taking care of yourself. All the best!
Your email is beautifully written and gives a great sense of where you and your son are at, and seems like it may help stave off some of the initial questions that people may have that you probably don't want to answer over and over again.
Glad to hear things are going well with Micah and that you are getting lots of bonding time with him. Sounds like he is getting a great start to life.
Mama to 3 awesome girls: DD1 born 2001, DD2 born 2002, DD3 born March 2011
Thanks for answering my question - totally did not have too given that you are kind of busy. I have been wondering about how that works for months now!
Your email was wonderfully written! I think that being emotional/crying a lot sounds like a not unexpected response to both the hormones of birth and your unexpected journey. I am glad you are taking the time to keep yourself rested and healthy as well so that you will be able to heal and help you son through his journey as well.
Welcome baby Micah- I hope you continue to have and build strength, I cannot even imagine what you are going through right now- just remember that it is a lot to be taking in at once and it's good to hear that you are trying to take care of you the best you can too.
Thanks for asking...I'm doing a lot better. I managed to get through to almost the end of the day yesterday without crying! But then exhaustion and overwhelm took over for a little bit. My husband came home to sleep for the first time last night, so he was able to support me by sharing some of the logistical stuff I had on my plate. Of course the one night we leave Micah under the care of the nurses, his color started getting pale and they put him on oxygen. They called to let us know this morning so we wouldn't be alarmed when we got there. It turns out it's helping with his sleepiness and he's been feeding even better than before. He pulled out his feeding tub yesterday and the nurses haven't felt a need to put it back in. The doctor is talking about letting him come home tomorrow! He can bring oxygen home with him if necessary.
On Saturday I came down with a fever and violent trembling and ended up in the ER. They wanted to make sure it wasn't something postpartum related. After spending most of the day there and being hooked up to all kinds of things, cathetered, etc., they couldn't find anything wrong with me. My mom was with me the whole time, which was great. They just sent me home to rest, so I slept most of the day on Sunday, which must have been what my body needed.
We've been so blessed by our community. People have brought us the most incredible food every day (how is it possible that every single one of our friends is such a great cook?!) and are getting organized to pick my daughter up from school, clean our house, fix a leaky faucet, etc. At the same time I learning what my limits are about visitors, how many times I want to tell someone how I'm feeling, and who I feel like sharing my feelings with. My mom heard that one thing that can help is to help spread the news of the diagnosis so we don't have to tell people over and over again, and I'm about to send an email to pretty much everyone I know so we can get that over with.
What a lot for you to process - I can't believe you had to go to the ER, too! I'm so glad you have a supportive community there for you. I'm glad Micah is doing so well - it's great he's off the tube and eating! And that you could have DH there to help you. You are so strong.