I was elated at the birth of Faith. Her birth was pretty easy all things considering. Painful yes, but over so fast I didn't have much time to think about the pain.
My arms instinctively reached down to pull my newborn to my chest the moment she was born. My wonderful OB made no hesitation in obliging my desire, and allowed me to gather my baby up in my trembling arms immediately. I heard the doctor giving my husband instructions in how to cut the umbilical cord. I drank in my beautiful little baby girl's sweet spirit and then handed her over to the nurse practitioner to place her in the warmer.
Across the room, I heard her strong and beautiful cries floating through the air. Sweet, sweet music to my ears. All was right in my world. My baby girl was here.
The Nurse Practitioner swaddles my baby up tightly in a pink and blue striped hospital blanket and walks over to my bed. "I need to talk to you about your baby" she says. "I am seeing signs that she has Down Syndrome". I hear myself audibly gasp, my heartbeat quickening. She begins to point out the 'characteristics' of Down Syndrome that she sees in my baby. Almond shaped eyes. A wide space between her first and second toes. Small ears. Deep creases on both palms.
"What?" I cry. "I am not that old, how could that happen?" I didn't really hear what was being said. Shock took over my senses, I think. I look at my baby first. She looks perfect to me. But, when I look up through my tear-rimmed eyes in an almost foggy room, I see the concerned faces of 2 nurses, my OB, my Mom, my husband and my friend, Teri. "Is my baby going to die"? I ask, not really wanting to hear the answer. "No sweetie. Your baby looks healthy" explains the Nurse Practitioner. "But, we need to take her to the nursery to make sure she's okay".
I am numb.
I hear someone begin to sob. Heart wrenching sobs. And then I realize I am the one sobbing. I kiss my baby, feeling like she is a stranger, and tell her that I love her. Always and forever. No matter what. And I do love her...so much it hurts.
And here in birthing room 40, begins a whirlwind of emotions. Scary and painful emotions. I am flooded with grief even though I don't quite yet understand why...