I called my boyfriend, Frank on the way home and said get ready, MY WATER BROKE!! We were so excited for this day. We couldn't wait to meet our baby boy.
I got to the hospital and I labored for 3 hours and a couple of pushes later my, baby boy...Ranger Sonny....was born. The doctor placed my sweet baby on my tummy and he was looking straight into my eyes. I was looking right back and I seen it!
One of the first things I said, " Why are his eye's slanted? " Nobody said anything. There was alot going on so I didn't dwell on it. I didn't care anyway, I thought he was a cute little guy. The nurses and doctors did not say anything about it until later that night. The Doctor came in my hospital room and said, " I need to talk to you and Frank". Well Frank had just walked out of the room to take a well needed break. So I called him on his cell and asked him to come back. In the mean time, I knew deep down what the doctor was going to tell us.
The doctor went back out into the nurses area to wait until Frank came back. The nurse was still in my room cleaning up. I begged her to tell me what the doctor wanted to talk to us about, I begged and begged. I said to her, I know something is not quite right with my baby. She kept saying just wait for the doctor. I cried to her and said "He has Down Syndrome doesn't he?" She said "yes!" She asked me not to say that she told me. I promised I wouldn't, and I didn't. I'm not sure how I knew, but I did.
The Doctor came in and told us he suspected our new baby boy has Down syndrome. My heart literally sank, even though I already knew, I felt like the doctor confirmed it. I started to cry. I asked him how did this happen? Was is because I was horribly sick for most of my pregnancy? Why, why, why? I had so many thoughts and emotions running through my head, wondering what I had done to make my baby have Down Syndrome. But then it hit me that this is my flesh and blood, none of that stuff mattered. I remember saying " I will love him anyway, I don't care".
The doctor told us not to say anything to our family or friends until the blood test come back. But I was so heartbroken, I needed my family. I knew he had it. And I didn't feel it was the doctor's business if I told anyone. My first call was to my Mom, then the rest of the family, I needed to talk. I needed support. The feelings you get when your told something like this are so confusing. Here is your brand new baby that needs you, depends on you, you waited 9 months to see the little fella and your told something is wrong. You just don't know what to feel or think. I knew I already loved him, it was just accepting the fact of having a special needs child. And not being sure what kind of life he would be living. There is just so many emotions. You will never understand unless you go through something like this.
Needless to say, I didn't hardly sleep that night. Frank fell asleep on the couch in my room and I was alone with my baby and my thoughts. I cried as I held my sweet baby boy who was suppose to be *perfect*. I couldn't figure out why, why this happened to me. My 5th baby and he has something wrong with him. What did I do to deserve this, and why did God do this to me, I thought.
The nurse came in to check on the baby and I (he still didn't have a name..lol) and I asked alot of questions. It was the same nurse that confirmed my suspicions. She was wonderful, her and I cried together. She knelt down beside my hospital bed and said the most powerful prayer, I will never ever forget. " I know you sent this child to Julie, to make her strong, you know she can handle this 'God'. You know you sent this child to good hands." This is just some of the kind words she said in that prayer. She is a wonderful nurse. I'm so glad she was on duty that night. I will never forget her kind and caring spirit.
Thankfully I brought my computer to the hospital with me. I started researching Down Syndrome. I was trying to get my hands on any kind of information I could get. The hospital had nothing on Down Syndrome. Meaning pamphlets, books..etc. That was very disappointing.
We finally decided on the name 'Ranger' for my little baby boy. It means 'warden of the forest'. His Dad picked it out. I love his name. It fits him.
The Doctor ordered lots of tests, heart problems are a big thing for children that have Down Syndrome. Everything came back good in the local hospital. We did have to go see a Pediatric Cardio Doctor in Seattle the first 7 days of birth. He does have 2 holes in his heart, but they have caused no problems so far. Also Ranger was having a hard time latching on. But we finally mastered that after alot of work. He is still nursing and it is so good for him. All of these tests and traveling to children's hospital was very emotionally draining. I was very devastated and distraught. I am very thankful my sister went with me the first time.
We took Ranger home the second day after birth. I told the other kids that he has Down Syndrome and explained what it is. They asked a few questions, held him, then they went to play. They didn't care. Ranger is their little brother.
I can't say everything has been peachy, about 4 days after I was home, I had a break down. I cried and cried. I didn't know if I could raise a disabled child in this world, that is so cruel. I didn't know if I would be a good mother to a disabled child. I had panic attacks, I grieved for the the loss of a typical child, I had a lot of anger at the Doctor, God and Frank. I thought back to all the tests and ultrasounds and wondered why they couldn't figure it out. I kept thinking, if I had known, I could have been prepared. I just plain had some really bad thoughts and bad days.
But as time went on, I grew to ACCEPT my child just the way he is. He is a sweet, very sweet baby. And oh soooo cute. He is just like any other kid. He might be a little bit slower at doing things but I really don't care. That means he gets to be my baby longer (I know that's selfish..lol). He is very *perfect* to me. He is my *perfect*. Now he is 14 months old and he is a joy in my life. He has changed me. I look at life differently. I now look at disabled people and have a heart. I never used to, I never cared. I am involving myself in everything to do with these sweet, kind hearted people. I have to say, I am truly blessed to be given such a precious gift from God. He really knew what he was doing when he sent Ranger to me.
I wrote this little story in hopes of helping someone else that may be going through this. I have learned through out this process, that it is okay to grieve. All the things I felt is completely normal. We are human and have feelings. All I can say is to let yourself grieve. You need it to get on with your journey.
*I have also learned that I did nothing to cause Down Syndrome, it just happens.*
More following soon.....Ranger's Progress!