I woke up around 6 a.m. with contractions and called the "office". It is now Saturday and I had the awful "pleasure" of working with the answering service or whoever answers the phones on Saturday. The woman on the phone told me to wait 1 1/2 hours, time my contractions and then call back. I did. My contractions at that point were 5-7 minutes apart. When I called the office back, she told me to go ahead to the hospital and she would call to let them know. I woke up Jason then worked on getting the boys to our neighbors. Brayden had his last basketball game that day and I was sad to miss it. When we arrived at the hospital and they completed all their routine fun...hooking me up to monitors and asking all the questions. We were told that my c-section would be around 12 or 12:30 p.m. I was worried that it was too soon but knew there wasn't anything we could do to stop labor. My contractions progressively got stronger but I was breathing through them. I think partly because I knew there was an end in sight. I wasn't going to labor. I was having a c-section.
Well at 12:15 p.m., my bubble was burst. The doctor on call that day was one I had never met in the practice. She said I wasn't laboring enough and I was only dilated at 4 so she was sending me home and said I could keep my appointment for the following Monday. In my mind, I was screaming, "What?!?!? You are letting me go home. How do you know how hard I'm laboring? You just walked in here. What do you know?" Despite my disbelief and disappointment, we headed home. I trusted her. I'm not a doctor, she is.
We headed to lunch and then I walked to the neighbor's house to pick up my youngest. As I am on her porch talking about what the doctor said, my water broke. Needless to say, we decided to leave Ian at her house. We were going to have our little girl today or tomorrow after all. I called into the office again. The woman on the other end asked if I was "sure" that my water had broke. I got snippy with that, "I wasn't laughing, coughing, or sneezing. I was standing still...it WAS my water". She told me to time my contractions for another hour to hour and half and then call in to see where I was. It was one brutal hour. My sister-in-law downloaded an app to keep track of my contractions. They truly have an app for everything! Ian and Brayden came home for about 30 minutes to see us before the baby arrived. At the time I would have strangled my sister-in-laws, but they should have taken a picture. At one point, I was on all fours breathing through a contraction. Ian put his head down by mom and said "Mommy, are you ok?" After an hour, my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and I was emotionally and physically done. I was supposed to be in the hospital with pain medicine and getting ready for a c-section. We called into the office and told them to call the hospital because I was going back.
The drive to the hospital was only 20 minutes but it seemed like 2 hours. I've had 2 labors, I know what pain is but this seemed worse. Probably because I had epidurals with the boys and because I was further along with Hailey than we realized. After getting to the hospital, we completed all the paperwork and I was put into a room. Fortunately, I had the same fabulous nurse as earlier in the day. She looked at me and then at the clock and said "4:30...I predicted you would be back by 3:30". They started all my IVs for a second time that day to prep me for a c-section. There was a lot going on. Apparently there was someone else that was having a c-section but my advocate nurse argued that I was to go first before I had the baby naturally. They wheeled me into the OR. Jason was on his way to a basketball sectional game that he was to referee. They called him to hurry to the hospital. My sister-in-law was going to be in the c-section with me. They sent her out of the room to get scrubs on while they gave me my spinal. I was writhing in pain and yelled that I needed to push. The doctor (the same one that sent me home) argued with me that there is no way. My nurse argued back "I have been with this woman all day. She has 2 children. If she says she has to push, she HAS to push". Sure enough. I was at 10 and there was the baby's head. I yelled at all of them that I needed pain medicine and that I couldn't do this. The anesthesiologist sweetly smiled, "Honey, it is too late. I can't get you numb fast enough. You are having this baby now". I started pushing. One of the nurses said that it was ok if I yelled and that is exactly what I did. I pushed twice and there she was. My sister-in-law walked in and saw them wrap up the baby. About 3 minutes later, I heard the door open and there was my husband. I delivered Hailey in an operating room by myself. It was all surreal. Her first set of apgar scores were not the best by at 5 minutes they were much better. They moved me out of the operating room into a recovery room. We arrived at the hospital 4:30 and she was born at 5:15!
Once we were both in the recovery room, they handed me my sweet baby girl. The first time I looked at her, something was off. I was so paranoid my entire pregnancy that something was going to be wrong with my baby. I think it had to do with the miscarriage we suffered the month before I got pregnant with Hailey. I looked at Hailey and asked a friend "Does she look like she has Downs?". Her response, "No, she looks fine." Maybe deep down I knew or maybe I just wanted someone to assure me that my baby was perfect. I tried nursing her and the nurses tried assisting. That is when things crashed. Hailey started turning purple and blue. The nurses did everything they could but had to move her to the special care nursery. Jason and I agreed, he needed to go with her. I'm not sure how much time passed. It could have been minutes, but then again it could have been an hour. It is all foggy because of what happened next.
Jason entered the room with the neonatalogist. I had the feeling that something was wrong because Jason had no color in his face. He explained that because Hailey was premature (35 weeks and 5 days) that her lungs were not fully developed. She was on oxygen and he anticipated that she would be in the hospital about 3 weeks at the most 4. I was feeling sad but overall okay with everything until the following words came out of his mouth. "I fairly positive your baby has Trisomy 21 which is Down syndrome and there is a good chance she will have a heart defect that might need operated on". I'm not even sure what he said next. I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe. I wanted to rip all the IVs on me out and run out of the hospital for a do-over. I must have been able to keep some composure because I remember asking, "What do we do, how do we care for her". He calmly replied, "She is your baby. You take her home. You feed her. You change her diapers. You love her. She is your baby." Those words replayed in my head weeks after Hailey's diagnosis. After the doctor left, the staff gave us a few minutes just the two of us. A labor and delivery nurse came in and sat beside me. She told me a friend of hers has a child with Down syndrome. She said, "Let yourself mourn the baby you lost. The baby you thought you were going to have. You need to grieve so you can then love the baby God gave you." I didn't fully understand what she meant until the following days and weeks. The nurses moved me into a room and then they let our family and friends in the room. We had to tell them. Once they were in the room, Jason said we need to tell them something and he froze. I somehow got the words out that Hailey had Down syndrome but I'm not sure how. I honestly don't remember much else after that.
Eventually it was just Jason and I. I'm not sure we talked much that night. I know we both cried. Some together and some alone. Our hopes and dreams seemed shattered. Neither of us know anyone with Down syndrome so we were only basing our opinion on how some of the world judge people with Down syndrome. We wanted to know "Why us", "What did we do wrong", "Why Hailey". I think I cried more those 3 weeks than I have in my entire life. I was mad at the world. I wanted to world to stop while my daughter was in the hospital and while my family wasn't whole. I wanted everyone to feel the pain I was feeling. I didn't really expect that or want that, I was just feeling sorry for myself. As the days passed, Hailey had her ups and downs in the NICU. She was getting stronger and her personality was starting to show. The nurses started fighting over who would take care of her. She seemed to grasp the hearts of the entire staff. That was even before she showed those beautiful dimples. For awhile, I was still in a fog. I tried to keep her at arms length because I was trying to protect what was left of my broken heart. At some point, in those hours at the NICU, God showed me that she was my precious little girl. She was the exact baby I was supposed to have and the little sister for my sons.
Right after arriving. Not in NICU yet.
Still on oxygen but graduated from cpap.
I look like a glow-worm
I found my thumb very early on
Getting bigger and stronger. No more oxygen!
The fabulous nurses snuck Ian in the NICU. He was so excited to see his little sister!
My family of 5!
I'm going HOME!
They love their little sister!!!
I'm not saying I don't still have feelings of "Why Hailey" or "Why us". I will probably always mourn the baby we didn't have but I also rejoice the baby I do have. Hailey is a part of me and part of my husband. She is stubborn like Ian and looks a lot like Brayden. Hailey is as much a part of our family as any of us. I love my sweet, sweet baby girl and I look forward to the future she will have.