“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”
I wish I could say that before LB’s birth, I was patiently waiting her arrival. Soaking up my last moments of being pregnant. Enjoying each final kick and nudge…
But I wasn’t.
I should’ve known this little stinker was going to be a pistol until the end. And I should’ve known that she wasn’t going to let her birth be anything like her brother or sister’s.
The last week before her birth, I was in so much pain I could hardly do more than sleep and eat. Every few minutes I was hunched over in pain (thanks to my body’s bright idea of having full blown contractions without actually going into labor…) I tried my best to suck it up. I was determined to make it until our scheduled c-section date.
So the days passed, slowly and painfully, but the time finally arrived.
That entire day seemed like a blur, especially that morning.
When J and I arrived at the hospital it still didn’t feel real. How could it be time to have her already?! It took so long to get to this point, there was no way it was already all about to be over.
I sat in the bed, being prepped, and still not letting reality set in. This is usually my favorite part –the hospital stay, the moments leading up to the birth, the anticipation of it all– but I didn’t get to soak it all in like my last two times.
It just all felt different.
I was still excited. I still couldn’t wait to meet our sweet LB. But it just felt like a dream.
Soon, I was walked into the operating room – alone – I hate that part. I hated not having J by my side at any point in this process. And, of course, when I wanted him there the most – to hold my hand & tell me everything would be okay – he couldn’t be there. Of course, they don’t let the husband’s in the operating room while you are getting a giant needle stuck up your spine… not like it would be nice to have some support during that process or anything…
But, finally, he was let in and sat down right by me trying to distract me from what was going on. He was asking me questions about what I thought she’d look like, if I thought she’d have hair (Which I thought was the most ridiculous question he could ask. Of course she wouldn’t have hair, NONE of our kids are ever born with hair!) He was trying his best to keep me talking through the process, but all I really wanted to do was to close my eyes and pray.
I was so scared.
Every fear I had been carrying around in my heart for 9 months was about to be exposed.
Even though we made it to this point, I was still so scared of losing her – and I find myself, even now, still scared of that.
For 9 months, I had been falling in love with a baby I was so scared I would never get to love.
I had these awful fears that something else would go wrong. No matter the joys and excitement I found in my pregnancy, I was always so scared of losing her. Despite the amount of reassurance I was trying to give myself, despite my faith in God’s will, it was still constantly in the back of my mind. I could never fully let go of that fear.
And this moment was no different.
I was so eager to hear her cries. I just wanted to know she was okay. I just wanted her.
The thought of her having down syndrome was no where on my mind. I did not worry about that anymore. The idea quickly became apart of who I imagined her to be, and that was okay. It was now a part of her that I loved.
Her heart condition, on the other hand, was what was on the forefront of my mind: the unknown about her condition and everything that would come with it.
I was so ready to face this fear head on… and then again, I wasn’t.
But before I knew it, that moment came and I heard what my heart had been searching for:
I’ve never loved a cry so much in my life. So much relief and hope was bottle up in that one cry. And with her tears came my own.
Yet, it was the biggest teaser ever. I heard her cries and the doctor and nurses talking about how big she was (and that she had hair), but I still couldn’t see her.
Thankfully, I had some wonderful nurse-friends who were able to be there for us. They were in the room with us and took tons of pictures, because J completely failed at that our first two go-arounds, so they would snap a few photos and rush back to show me.
She looked ginormous and just like her siblings.
After, what felt like, forever, J was able to go see her and bring her back to me.
And in that moment, for a moment, all my fears were gone.
She was here.
I looked into her eyes and saw my baby. The baby I had been dreaming about for 9 months. Our child who had captured our hearts and who we had prayed so hard over. She was finally in my arms.
She was perfect. Every part of her.
Her almond eyes, head full of hair, and my chin–as everyone seems to point out (;
I instantly fell in love with everything about her. Including the fact that I could tell she had down syndrome. It was the first thing I noticed, yet the last thing on my mind.
However, our moments of bliss did not last long.
I’m not exactly sure what was said, all I remember is that the NICU doctor soon came over to tell us that LB would have to go back to the nursery (not NICU) for a few hours of observation. Her oxygen level was not where they wanted it to be, so they wanted to keep an eye on her for a few hours.
Another fear of mine while I was pregnant, that she’d be taken away during our first hours together, soon became reality.
They let me hold her while I was wheeled back into my room, but then they took her away.
And just like that, she was gone.
I went from having her in my belly to having her in my arms to having her no where in sight, all in an instant.
and I went numb.
I couldn’t think about the fact that she wasn’t there; I wouldn’t let myself… because I knew if I did, then I would be a wreck.
So instead, I tried to focus on our family that was in the room. I soaked in their excitement at looking at all of our pictures of her, the joy my husband had on his face while talking about her, and the fun of talking about how “ginormous” she looked.
But even with my best attempts at avoiding my desperation for her, my heart still ached. I found myself smiling and laughing on the outside, but screaming with pain on the inside.
Despite going numb to the reality that she wasn’t there, I still had a part of me constantly searching for her… aching to be with her.
Then finally, she was brought back into my arms. The nurses told us that she had low oxygen levels, which was due to her heart condition and her blue color was just “her color.”
I really didn’t care what they told me, as long as she was “healthy” and ready to be back with us–that’s all that mattered to me.
Our room was full of eager visitors and she was quickly passed around and showered with love.
Everyone was in awe of how amazing she was, but nothing compared to the excitement that came from her brother and sister.
They eagerly walked into the room, eyes wandering and searching for their baby sister.
Ry was more interested in what was going on with me — which definitely surprised me. Since the day she found out we were having a baby, she’d been baby obsessed. Her baby doll became her life and also her preparation for when her baby sister would get here. So I expected her to be all about the baby when she walked in, but I don’t think we prepared her well for the sight of me just coming out of surgery.
She locked eyes with her baby sister and was beaming with pride, but then became focused on everything that was hooked up to me. Curiosity quickly filled her mind. She knew I was fine, and once she asked fifty-million questions, I was old news and LB became first priority (;
K, on the other hand, instantly gravitated toward his sister. It was crazy, because they both did the complete opposite from what I expected. I envisioned K being curious about everything and just aware of the baby, and Ry to be completely enthralled with her that she noticed nothing else — but they surprised me.
He came over to her smiling ear-to-ear. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. He gently touched her and wore pure excitement all over his face. After seeing his reaction, it wasn’t surprising that he was the first to hold her, which was a sight that I will never forget. His smile never left his face the entire time; he was so proud to finally be a big brother.
They both fell in love with her. And she fell in love with them.
She was quiet in their arms- comfortable and content.
And my heart was happy. The first time it had been truly calm and happy all day. Seeing all of them together took away all of my worries (for a moment) and everything seemed as it should be:
a room full of love.
We all soaked her in.
After a few hours, the crowd started to dwindle away and it became just the three of us: J, LB, and me.
As much as we needed all of our family there, it was nice to finally have some quiet time for us to cherish her. I couldn’t help but hold her and kiss her. My heart felt so full. She was only hours old, but I felt like she had been a part of me my entire life. I couldn’t imagine ever letting her go.
The evening went on and new visitors arrived. Everything seemed to be going just as I had envisioned now. I finally felt like I could begin enjoying this experience. I could let down my wall of fear that had been built up around my heart.
She was here, and despite our hiccup that morning, they said everything was fine. We were told, under her circumstances, she was fine and would continue to be fine.i
But then the pediatric nurse came in. We knew they’d be keeping a close eye on her just because her levels were still lower than they wanted.
She walked LB over to the other side of the room and began examining her. I kept my eyes on them and with every movement the nurse made, I found myself holding my breath. I felt that wall that I had let down, slowly begin to build back up.
The nurse turned around, looked at me, and I saw it in her eyes. I knew in that moment my world was about to be shattered all over again…