On the eve of Gigi’s birthday, I’m remembering what I was doing last year at this time. It was Saturday night and I was feeling extra tired that day. I think I took a long nap that afternoon after having spent two hours at a school function that morning. We went out to dinner at Applebee’s and I, in my mind, had a week left of pregnancy because my doctor told me only the day before that she was planning on inducing me the next Saturday. I was a little sad that I only had a week left of pregnancy.
There were still so many unknowns about the baby. We knew she had Down syndrome and that her heart looked pretty good and her intestines looked pretty good, but that was really all. I also knew the obvious, that I made it to 38 weeks. I chose not to worry about what was ahead, but I still kept the thought in the back of my mind that anything could be in store for us. Would we go right home (after a couple of days in the hospital) or would she stay in the NICU? Would she be able to eat and poop normally? Would she have pre-leukemia, which quite a few babies with Down syndrome are born with. What about the suspected VSD that the cardiologist saw in utero? Would she breastfeed because so many professionals were saying it was going to be difficult. What kind of year would we have ahead of us?
Then at around 10pm my water broke. This is the second child of mine where my water broke at 10pm. I really can’t think of a worse time than that to start labor – right at bedtime. There goes any sleep I need for the major event ahead of me. I won’t rehash the whole birth story, but it ended up being the best of my three birth experiences and the best of my immediate post partum experiences as well. I’ll forever be thankful for NIPT and knowing that the baby had Down syndrome ahead of time so I was able to get all of that shock out of the way well in advance.
I look back on that time in the hospital as such an amazing experience (and I hate hospitals). All of those questions that I didn’t have answers to were quickly being answered. Her bloodwork was fine, she was eating and pooping, her heart defects were minor ones. In a weird way I miss the sounds and smell of the hospital, being woken up at odd hours of the night by a nurse pushing a what I call “buggy” with a baby in it for me to feed. The baby who was new to me but not really because she lived inside of me for almost nine months. We worked so hard and patiently on breastfeeding, one time from 4 to 6am and proved so many wrong who said she wouldn’t be able to nurse. She’s still happily breastfeeding, by the way.
Since we have a busy day tomorrow with school, extra curricular activities, and even a birthday party to go to (not Gigi’s) we started the celebrating today by letting Gigi eat cake.
And to answer that question, ‘what kind of year would we have ahead of us’, it ended up being better than ever expected. Here are some of my favorite pictures didn’t make it onto the blog…