It all starts before I got pregnant. I have PCOS (poly cystic ovaries) and conceiving proved to be a problem. Rudy was our first IVF miracle and we are hoping for another. When we left the hospital after egg retrieval I felt horrible but we picked up Rudy from Memere’s house (where Jayson got a bucket for me to vomit in) and went home. A friend was there waiting to be with me for the day. I vomited as soon as we pulled into the driveway. We got in the house and I laid on the couch in the fetal position, got up to use the bathroom and almost passed out. Back to the hospital I go. I was in pure agony. They brought me right in and had me lay down for a blood pressure and sit up for one. I sat for a second and nearly passed out. My blood pressure was some crazy low number I think one number was in the 30’s but both were under 100. It was time to get put under and look at what is going on and it’s time NOW. Well, my ovary tore and I was bleeding internally. By the time they got in there it had healed itself. All my embryos would be frozen until I healed and the doctors have made it clear that they don’t want to see my ovaries again, I have always been their problem child.
We’re pregnant two months later. We didn’t have any early tests except the quad or triple screen (and I didn’t even know we did that) because it’s my child no matter what. And truthfully, look at Rudy how could I have a baby with a “problem”?
We wait and wait for our ultrasound and the day arrives. Rudy, Jayson, my mom and I all pile into the exam room to find out if Rudy will have a brother or sister. Rudy is restless, the ultrasound technician tells us “looks like a boy”. Rudy had enough by this point so grammy takes him outside. Jayson offers to go be with them but the technician stops him and says he needs to be with me…I get a very uneasy feeling but it faded as the ultrasound went on. The ultrasound is over and the technician makes sure we see the doctor before we leave, she says that I have a partial placenta previa and there is an echogenic focus on the heart but it does not mean there is something wrong with the heart. Jayson and I wait in the waiting room for the doctor to see us. We go back to an exam room where the doctors tells us that having an echogenic foci puts the chance of having a baby with Down syndrome up by about 1-2%. But they see it more often in children without Down Syndrome, we get information about it and have an appointment with the genetic councilor and to have a level II ultrasound. We leave the office with some shock and uneasiness. We tell my mother and we try not to think about it too much because it seems the chances are very slim. We talk about it for the days to come before our Baystate appointment and we have always said it’s our child no matter what. I research the crap out of the findings and Ds and I feel ok. At the next ultrasound they find that Vinnie has some extra fluid in his kidneys but again, this is found more in boys than in children with Ds. They offer the amnio but I decline, too much a risk for me. They do a couple ultrasounds before Vinnie’s due date just to keep an eye on the kidneys. No other problems. I stop the research and decide that I want to enjoy my pregnancy, not worry about something I can not change.
The people from Direct TV are coming out to hook up our HD satellite. Jayson is home waiting for them and I am getting up with Rudy to start the day. I am having a few contractions that are pretty strong but not steady but I decide to send a text message to my friends and family about them. Jayson is starting to think this is it and wants to cancel the Direct TV. I am in denial. We found out yesterday that Jaysons cousin, about 26 weeks pregnant, went to the ob and they couldn’t find the heartbeat. She will be delivering her still born baby today. I don’t want this memory for either of us. The contractions stop so I send another text about how they stopped. I take a shower and get dressed. Contractions are starting again but are far worse than earlier, Jayson has decided that this is it and times them. I am still in denial, to the point where I am telling him that my face of pure pain is not really a contraction. He states that I am having contractions and they are getting closer. He wants to call his aunt to come watch Rudy. I say “NO, they have to be 1 minute long 5 minutes apart for an hour before we can call the doctor”. They are clearly getting stronger and closer and Jayson is calling people to tell them I am in denial but we are indeed having a baby today. I am in pure agony now and decide that his aunt should come and we should call the doctor and also let‘s cancel that Direct TV guy. “They want us to go to the office” Jayson says. Auntie Mary is on her way. It seems like forever and I am in the bathroom screaming when the contractions hit, they are now about 3-4 minutes apart and getting closer. “She’s here” Jayson says from the living room. I pull myself together enough to get myself out the door and into the car. I didn’t say goodbye, I don’t care! “Watch where your f*cking going” me “will you get off the phone and pay attention to the road the bumps hurt” me. Jayson calls the doctor and says we should probably go right to the hospital, they agree. We pull up to the valet parking and I breathe through another contraction before I can get out. We walk through the door and then I stop, I can’t walk anymore. Jayson asks the lady at the desk for a wheelchair and one lady wheels me as the other runs ahead to press the elevator button. When we get upstairs Jayson pushes me to the delivery rooms. The nurses take over and wheel me into my room. “When you can take off all your clothes, put these on and get into bed” says the nurse. I think “you want me to do what?”. Finally after a couple contractions I get all that done. The doctor asks how far apart my contractions are, I can’t even answer. The nurse answers “they were about a minute apart when she was wheeled in”. The doctor checks my cervix “about 4cm, do you want an epidural?” I answer “OH YEAH!” I breathe through many more contractions and then saint anesthesia man came. Moments later I am miss chatter box and everyone makes fun of me. Doctor checks and it’s time. 2-3 pushes and Vincent Adam is born. He is 8lbs 7ozs and 21 inches long. I look at him and know.
Jayson’s mom is at the hospital just a few moments after Vinnie is born. Jayson says, he doesn’t look like he has Down syndrome. I just say “ok” because I haven’t yet told him what “I know”. He looks at me and asks “you see something” and I tell him what I see. I ask the nurse about who would check his kidneys but never mention the ultrasounds and the markers for Ds because I just don’t want to officially know right now, I want to enjoy my baby. Vinnie is taken to the nursery to be cleaned and warmed and looked at. “I’m on the fence, I just can’t say for sure” the doctor says about Vinnie’s Down syndrome, the blood test is ordered.
We have a rough time in the hospital, Vinnie has a couple problems with oxygen levels and one time he turned blue. We are transferred to Baystate’s NICU where they babysit for 2 days. The night before Vinnie came home the doctor came over to tell us about the echo of his heart that they did earlier and some other tests and it went sort of like this “the echo of his heart looked fine and the ultrasound of his kidney looks ok but one test did come back positive and that was his Trisomy 21”. I can’t quite explain the feeling of those words but I can say that I still get choked up when I repeat them and I still have one tear roll down my cheek. I knew, I knew all this week while we were waiting for Vinnie to come home. I knew it was positive so why now did my heart fall out of my chest, my legs go weak, I can’t catch my breath and there’s a huge lump in my throat. Jayson holds my or maybe rubs my back and the doctor says “I’m sorry” and tells us to take all the time we need with Vinnie. We explain we were just leaving and she feels bad for delivering the news now. I think I composed myself so that we could walk out of the NICU with dignity, so no one “felt sorry” for us as we left. All the nurses and maybe a doctor or two were gathered at one of the desks inside the NICU. It was almost like they were huddled together so they wouldn’t have to deal with us or they were getting filled in as to what just happened over Vinnie’s plastic tub bed. I make it a point to smile the whole way out and say goodnight to them as I pass by, it was my way of saying don’t pity me I have a wonderful gift waiting to come home.
Everyone says that I am in a “good” place. I think it means that they can’t believe that I am not depressed or upset about Vinnie having Down syndrome. I am PISSED OFF that he has Down syndrome and I am depressed in some ways, it’s not fair, it SUCKS and I hate it but that doesn’t help or change anything. Vinnie is first and foremost Vinnie. He smiles and it changes my whole day. I have fears and I worry and some days I want to run away and hide.
Almost everyday Rudy, Vinnie and I go on a little driving adventure. This adventure is for my own sanity, we go to Starbucks for a coffee and sometimes a donut or muffin and then drive a little bit while Rudy sleeps. This is the time I contemplate what has/is going on in my life. Today I thought about what it was like to work as a service technician, it’s a “mans” job and I was probably one of 3-5 females that worked for the company that is nation wide and extends into Canada too. The first year or two working there was a constant fight to show people I could do what my co-workers could do and sometimes much more efficiently. I walked through doors to only hear “are you sure you know what you’re doing?” and of course I responded “well, maybe not. I might have to order parts or maybe call someone…should be about a month before we can get it figured out” that statement stopped the comments. So I drove around today thinking about the minor struggle I had to “fit in” to show them I was capable. Maybe it is because of the life I have already led that I am so accepting and ready to dive into any situation with my Vinnie (and Rudy too). I’ve been there, I’ve had to fight and I am willing to do it again.