First Friday Birth Story! This month: Katie Anderson and her baby girl, Blythe
Mama: Katie Anderson
Due Date: Thursday, July 12, 2012
Birthday: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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My pregnancy was rough! I was sick most of the eight months. But worse than the sickness was the feeling that something was wrong. I was pretty convinced that my baby wasn't going to live. I spent a lot of time even from the very beginning begging God to let me keep this baby.
Around 24 weeks we were sent to the hospital for a level two ultrasound because of a possible issue with the kidneys, and I thought, here it comes, they are going to tell me the baby's not going to make it. But they checked it out and said it was fine, and it was a girl! :)
But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. I didn't want to pick a name or set up her room or buy any cute little girls clothes. I forced myself to do these things because I knew I needed to and I was fighting so hard to have faith that She would be okay.
At 32 weeks I felt like she just wasn't moving around very much. The doctor told me to drink some juice and if I felt something within an hour it was fine. I did, so I tried to ignore the feeling. She got less and less active and when I went in for my 35 week appointment I was ready to demand a stress test. But I didn't have to, for some reason they had scheduled me for an ultrasound even though I wasn't supposed to get it until the next week.
I went in and it took about two minutes for the tech to turn the machine off and go get the doctor. But I saw with the first two measurements that the baby was measuring 30 weeks instead of the almost 36 that I was.
The Doctor came in and told me I was going to have a baby that day and I should call my husband to have him drive me over to the hospital. The reason was IUGR due to an issue with the placenta. I learned later that if we had waited another week for the ultrasound she would have been still born.
We went over to the hospital and they prepped me quickly and delivered her within the hour. She let out the loudest scream, and to this day when she gets REALLY mad she still screams like that. Although I hate for her to be upset, it's kind of the best noise ever.
They held her up for me to see and I couldn't believe how beautiful she was. All 4lbs 5 oz of her seemed perfect to me. They said they were going to take her up to the NICU because of her weight and just check her out and the nurses told me when I went into recovery that no news was good news.
So when my husband showed up 20 minutes later with a neonatologist I figured it wasn't good. My husband was crying and I was just sure Blythe had passed. But then the doctor said she looked good and was doing really well. And then she stopped and looked at my husband like she was waiting for him to talk but he couldn't so she just said it.
"We believe that Blythe has Down Syndrome."
I don't remember much else she said after that I just couldn't help feeling complete relief. I had know the whole time that there was something coming and I had all these terrible scenarios in my head. But for some reason when she told me and I finally knew I had so much peace.
After they left I kept going over things in my life that had prepared me for this day. My desire to work with special needs children. My grief when my mother lost a baby with Downs at 20 weeks due to a severe heart defect. I had always felt like our family missed out on something special.
Of course I also thought about all the things that were going to be harder for her and as her mother my heart began to break that others might not accept her the way she was. That's about the time I heard my mom outside the recovery room door pretty much telling the nurse that she was going to come in there and see her baby and if the nurse wanted to call security then that was fine with her. So then my mother was there and she kissed me and grabbed my hand looked in my eyes and said, "Katie, she's beautiful, she's perfect and we are going to love that little girl more than anything."
And then I had to wait what seemed like FOREVER for my legs to start working again so I could go see her. When they handed her to me My husband assured me that they weren't certain that she had Downs, but I just smiled and said, "She does, but its okay."
The next few days at the hospital we were on an emotional roller coaster. It was also hard because I so desperately wanted people to be happy for us. I didn't want them to see her birth as a tragedy. I guess, like all mothers I wanted the world to realize she was special and perfect and amazing just like I did.
In her short six months of life that little girl has already captured countless hearts! She's determined and delightful, and when she smiles at you she makes sadness an impossibility.
And as for me, I have my days where I'm overwhelmed by all the therapists and specialists and the responsibility of raising a child with special needs. But mostly, more than all that I am just gratefully, unbelievably thankful that I get to be her momma.
Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story with us, Katie! Blythe is precious! Give her kisses from all of us at Kanga Care! xo