That is probably the most common question I get about Avery. It is the one thing other parents say to each other. Did you know, did you know the baby you were having was going to have down syndrome?
No we didn’t know. We had no idea it was even possible. Silly I know. But Avery was our first, I was only 24 and I skipped that part of the book. Why would that happen? I was young and there was nothing like that in our family. It didn’t seem possible.
So you are asking yourself how did you find out? Did I know deep inside myself that something was wrong? Did I know as soon as I saw him? No to both of those. I had a great pregnancy with Avery. I puked all the time but I could feel life inside of me. I talked to him and felt him move. I loved every minute of it.
I had PROM at 36 weeks. My water broke early. That is what I did know. That my water would break. And I knew he was a boy. So at about 3 am on Thursday September 9, 1993 I got up to pee and my water leaked. So I did what all expecting mom’s would do. I went back to bed.
Then at 7 am I was back up to pee and more water. So I went back to bed. Finally at 9 am I called the Dr and went in to see her. Yep she said my membranes were ruptured. Go to the hospital and don’t come home until you have a baby. She took amniotic fluid to test and see if his lungs were developed.
So we went to the hospital and spent just over a day there before they decided that his lungs were developed and I should be induced. Not much was happening with my body and my risk for infection was increasing. I’d already been almost 36 hours since my water broke.
So I labored and at 9:45 pm Friday September 10, 1993, 42 hours after my water broke, my Dr came in and told me I was ready to push. Gosh it’s been 16 1/2 years and I still remember every second of it. At 9:56 pm my beautiful, perfect son was born. He was screaming and I said, “hey little guy, don’t cry, mommy’s here.” And he looked at me and stopped crying. He knew me. He had 10 fingers and 10 toes and was perfect! His apgars were 9 and 10, he was 4 weeks early and weighed 7 lbs 10 1/2 ozs and was 20 1/2 inches long. He had blond hair and skinny legs. He nursed right away and made my heart beat.
At 3 am I got up and went to the nursery to check on him. I’d sent Mike home for the night, he’d slept in the labor room the night before. He was awake and waiting for me. I took him back to my room and tried to nurse him and loved him.
The next morning I went to take a shower and the Pediatrician knocked on the door. She had a resident with her and never came in. She said she would let me shower and talk to me later. I was worried, was he ok? He was early were his lungs really ok? Yes she said, he was fine. And as she left she turned back to me and asked, “Who does he look like?” That question and my answer have haunted me since. “He has to look like his dad, no one in my family has a face shaped like that,” was my answer.
After my shower, the nurse came in with Avery. I was so happy, the timing was perfect! I was just going to call for him. I asked her to stay and hand him to me after I got into bed. As I got into bed, she asked if the Dr told me about the test they were running on my baby, the chromosome test. ?NO? I didn’t now about any test. I did know that the nurse last night said that because was early they might have to do extra things to him but that the Dr said he was ok. “What is that test for?”
She handed me Avery and left. I was alone and I knew that didn’t sound right. My OB’s resident came in to check on us. We’d become friends over my pregnancy. I asked her if she knew what this chromosome test checked for. This was the first she’d heard about this. She told me to have the Pediatrician paged and ask her what was going on. I didn’t want to bother anyone so I just laid there and held him. Yes I know if you know me how odd that is! lol
So a nurse came in and said that the Dr told her I wanted the Pediatrician paged and she has paged her and they were waiting or her to call back. Kathy, my OB resident came back to see if I’d heard from the Dr. By then my mother in law, grandmother in law and sister in law had arrived. No I hadn’t heard from her yet. She said, “have her paged again.” I told Marsha that some nurse had said they were running a test and I was trying to find out what it was.
The nurse came back and told me the Dr was paged again and was on her way to her office but would call me when she got there. Not much time passed and my phone rang. It was my OB on her cell telling me the Pediatrician was just being cautious but everything was fine and she would explain it all to me. I was so relieved, my baby was fine. Ok, on with my visits.
I still remember my sister in law was holding Avery. Mike wasn’t at the hospital yet, I later found out he was driving all over looking for the perfect rocking chair as a gift for me. And in walked Reef, the resident. He walked into my room, went to the corner, turned around and said to me, “I hear you found out we think you have a down’s baby.”
Honestly I don’t remember speaking. I remember thinking if I don’t talk, he will shut up and leave. Marsha, my mother in law went nuts yelling at him. Asking how he could possible say something like that. How could he possible think that! I remember laying in the bed and watching her pacing back and forth and ranting. I remember hearing things like ears set low, and a line on the hands that he didn’t have. I remember looking at Avery being held in someone else’s arms and just wanting him back. I wanted to protect him from all the crazy people. I wanted everyone to shut up and go away and leave me with my perfect baby.
I was numb. I remember Reef saying they didn’t have to do the test. And that was all I remember saying, “yes you do, you can’t just say that and then take it away. You have to do the test.”
Then it was just Avery, Marsha and I alone in the room. And I was numb, shocked. People started dropping in saying wow you had a baby, isn’t he cute, and all those things. Mike got there and was so happy and holding Avery. The cafeteria sent up a steak dinner for us. People were coming and going. I was numb and all I could think was I had to tell Mike.
His mom and dad went outside to smoke. And I know his mom was telling his dad. And finally we were alone and I had to tell him. I think I told him that they were running a test and a nurse thought he had down syndrome. That’s what Reef said, that he or the Dr didn’t see it but a nurse pointed it out. His joy was gone. I still have a picture of him holding Avery before he knew and the joy on his face. And I have the picture in my head of all the joy gone.
to be continued……..