My First Mother’s Day

When we found out Vincent had DS I decided to write it on my blog and let that be the way that my friends would find out. I really had no clue how to answer all the emails, sms:s and phone messages that all said the same and obvious: Congratulations, we hope everything is OK and that you and your baby is healthy.

This was in what I now refer to as the foggy days; I really cannot remember much of what was going on in my head. I was on an information overload both from the first DS crash course and also the first crash course of being a new mom. I also remember it being rainy and cold outside, and that was pretty much what I felt on the inside too – but with a huge love for my son. That has always been there.

On day 3 after Vincent was born, it was time for the second doctor examination. Vincent was the last baby too be examined in that doctor round. I was alone with the nurse and the doctor in the baby room. That is when the doctor dropped the bomb and told me he thought Vincent has DS. I froze, panicked, felt numb and felt the blood rush to my feet.. I thought I was going to throw up and I remember thinking that he must be joking but of course he was not. Then I looked at the nurse, who met my eyes with a sweet but painful expression. I think my heart broke a little at that moment and I was scared to death. The doctor proceeded to tell me that Vincent had many of the typical signs, but the sign that would confirm it, the dots in the iris, he did not have. My head was just spinning faster and faster. I asked the nurse if she could look after Vincent for a little bit and of course she said yes. I went and got my cell phone from the room, and one of the other new moms I shared rooms with later told me she thought something was seriously wrong with Vince because of the look on my face. I called Bookie; I think it was approx 9 in the morning, May 14, 2006, and my first Mother’s Day (Austrian Mothers day).

I told Bookie what the doctor had said and somehow he managed to hear what I said between my sobs. He told me to just hang in there and he would be there as soon as he could, approx 45 minutes later. I think we talked for less than 5 minutes, but it can have been more or less, I really don’t know. My next instinct was to get back to Vincent fast, I felt bad for having left him alone with the nurse (even though this is perfectly normal; it is their job to take care of the babies if you want to sleep, have a shower, or just get a rest). I ran back to the baby room and I got Vincent and then went to my room and laid on the bed with him, waiting for Bookie. I looked at him, my tiny treasure worth millions to me, and I remember thinking, “You will never be alone” “I will always be there for you”, “No one is ever going to hurt you” all at the same time as the tears were streaming down my face and the other three new moms I shared the room with quietly observing us but afraid of approaching us as they had no clue what was going on.

When Bookie arrived we hugged for a long time, and probably squeezed Vincent a little harder than recommended for such a tiny baby, but we just had to. We then talked to the head doctor, who explained a little about DS, but said we would learn more the following day, when we had to go to the University Hospital for the blood test. The hospital we were at had no neonatology department.

I could not grasp what I had been told this day. I cannot remember how time went by. It is all part of the great big fog. I was thinking: What will our families say? Friends? What will they think? How can I ever tell anyone this? I was not able to think much further, but every so often I would also get the thoughts of wondering how it would be, could we have Vincent at home? Would he understand us? Would he communicate etc etc etc. But mainly, what will everyone say and think?

I posted the blog because I knew the news would spread fast that way, and I would most likely not have to say the words “My son has DS” out loud to anyone. In the beginning that was very painful (now it is easy and I can say it without blinking my eyes). I was surprised to learn that so many of my friends had had so much exposure to DS. Some had relatives, some had friends with children with DS, someone had gone to daycare with someone with DS, and someone had read an article about it and so on. And many went out and immediately googled DS and searched for a better understanding of DS. That felt amazingly good. I had not expected friends to take it bad, but I also had not expected everyone to take it so good, so encouraging and uplifting. The more positive stories people were sharing the easier it was for me to turn the situation into something good rather than something bad. In the beginning the news of the DS clouded my whole birth experience with something negative rather than positive. I am happy to say, that now I think back of the birth of Vincent and our stay in the hospital as the happiest time of my life.

I now realize that it was not so much the fear of DS, it was the fear of what I did not know. Prior to Vincent’s birth, I had never had any contact with anyone with DS. I knew it existed, but not what it was, what it meant (except for the 47 chromosomes) and how DS people really are. I also was afraid of how our family would be accepted by our surroundings. I actually only experienced two reactions that were hurtful, and my guess is that those people do not even know it. I just have to get over it; everyone else has just been so great. So:

Thank you to all of you who sent us encouraging stories.

Thank you for accepting us immediately.

Thank you for not being afraid and without delay contacting us after you found out Vincent has DS.

Thank you for treating us they way you do.

Thank you for being there.

One Response

  1. […] thought my baby had Down Syndrome. Bookie had not yet arrived to the hospital so I was told alone. Here is what I wrote about my first Mother’s Day. Three days later it was confirmed. I chose to tell everyone I knew via my blog. Here is that […]

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