Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fiona's Birth Day

 She's arrived! Ten months of waiting all to come to an end in one split second. And the finale was far better then I could have ever imagined. We have been blessed a beautiful baby girl, Fiona Hope Blaeske- 6lbs 8oz and 17in- born to us August 16, 2010. With her, she brought much joy and love,and a few surprises of her own. Here is her birth story.

 I didn't feel right. The doctor had warned, if I felt I had reach another level of labor, to just head up to the hospital. With only one more day till our scheduled c-section, I battled through each contraction, telling myself, "Its not that bad". But by 7 at night, they started to get that bad.

 I was about 7 to 10 minutes apart with contractions that started low and actually hurt... these were real. Calmly, I had dinner with my dad and step mom, who had just gotten in town that evening, and waited for my husband to get home from work before I made the final call to pack up the car and make the two hour drive to the hospital.

 With each mile marker, I calculated how much longer we had till we got there, praying that the labor wouldn't progress anymore in the mean time. Flashes of the worst- delivering in the car-kept running through my head. I knew the contractions weren't anywhere near as bad as they would get, and my water still hadn't broken, so technically we should still have plenty of time. But still, you worry.

 I was in shock when they checked me and I was not dilated. How could all this pain still not have gotten the show on the road? You couldn't deny the contractions though, the monitor showed them every 7 to 10 minutes. The on-call doctor's assistant sat down with us and said they were not going to send me home- it was going to happen today. My heart raced and my eyes danced with excitement. They weren't about to send me home in the early stages of labor when we lived so far away. This was it, no more waiting.

 Oh, but the longest wait was about to start. Apperantly, you can't have a spinal block within 6 hours of eating, so my big steak dinner caused some problems. And because I wasn't dilated, they decided to just wait till the doctor came in for rounds in the morning- which I was told was around 7 or 8am. We got put in a beautiful labor and delivery room- no sarcasm- this is a brand new hospital and absolutely everything is top notch here. Trying to sleep with monitors on you and an iv in your arm, on top of the uncomfortable contractions and the normal pregnancy joys was near impossible. I think I woke up every hour. My eyes would open to see a clock that had barely moved.

 Finally, I woke to see the clock read 7:30am... but, ah, no sign of the doctor. A new nurse was tending to me now and she said to expect the doctor around 10am. More waiting, more anxiousness. By 10:30, I couldn't take it anymore, and with some coaching from my sister-in-law, I paged the nurse to find out what was going on. Turns out the doctor decided today was not the day. My heart sank with the words. Since labor was not progressing, they didn't want to call in the cardiologist team and the ob team on a Sunday. Doctor thought it best to just wait till tomorrow morning for the planned c-section, when the whole staff would be prepared to be there. I want whats best for the baby, but I was mentally and physically done waiting.

  Giving up your own selfish desires is 99 percent what being a parent is about. For a mom, the second that baby is conceived is when you stop living the way you want and start putting yourself on the back burner. For Dad, he gets an extra 9 months. But life doesn't end for either of you, just a new one begins. A much more fulfilling life- a life of loving someone more then you love yourself. So waiting an extra 22 hours for my baby to be born in her ideal situation verses mine is just part of being a mom.

 It was a very long day... they moved us to another room and took me off the monitors, but I was still hooked up to the iv, and therefore, not very mobile. I tried to sleep most of the day to just pass time. But both my husband and I were getting very stir crazy. Major props to any women who have to be on bed rest in the hospital for any length of time- I can't imagine.

  Blink- the waiting was over. It was 6am. The nurse came in to wake me so I could take a nice long shower and get ready, meet all the staff that would be helping with the delivery and be taken back to get prepped. It was bazaar being so aware of what was going on. I was in full labor when I had my c-section with the twins, so everything was just one big whirlwind. I didn't even feel the spinal last time because I was in the middle of a contraction. Being so aware of my surroundings and the situation this time made me ten times more nervous.

 The doctors were amazing. They let my husband and I be very involved. Charlie was allowed to stand and take pictures of her coming out, and as soon as they fully had her out of my tummy, the doctor held up my sweet pea above the curtain so I could see her. She was all stretched out, like she was a ballerina leaping through the air. Her first cry was so soft and my eyes started to tear as soon as I heard that sweet little sound. Charlie went as they washed her and checked her, and they even let him cut her umbilical cord. And when they finally brought her over to me, all clean, bundled and relaxed, the only thing I could think of was- she doesn't look like she has Downs. My eyes scanned her face, looking for the typical traits and all I saw was a mini me. The nurses kept giving me great feedback of how well she was, no unexpected complications! She had healthy pink skin, her lungs were functioning perfectly, she was a good weight and size and she was content. She was perfect.

 They took her to the NICU to start running tests on her as I was left alone in a recovery room to reflect on the miracle that just took place. I didn't feel like I had just had major surgery. Other than the fact I still couldn't move my legs, I had all the energy in the world. After my first c-section, I was exhausted and could barely keep my eyes open. Maybe because I had labored for a little bit before the boys delivery- I can't figure out why I felt so different this time. All my nurses were impressed by how chipper I was and that I was up and out of bed in less then 5 hours after delivery. I probably would have gotten up even earlier then that if they had let me- I couldn't wait to go to the NICU to visit Fiona.

 I saw it- first in the pictures Charlie sent me from the nursery to my phone and then in person. I saw the faint hints of Down Syndrome, but I had to keep doing double takes. I was in awe how much I saw me as a baby in her.I guess I expected.... I don't know what I expected, but definitely not to look at her and see so much of me. I couldn't take my eyes off of her- she is amazing. 

 My Mom and our friends, Mike and Kylee, made the two hour drive after she was born and were there by 11 to see our precious new addition. The doctors were still not letting us hold her yet, but we could touch her and kiss her soft, chubby cheeks. Everyone was taking turns going with Charlie to see her, but I didn't get to go up to see her till about 2:30. I brought the little milk I was able to pump and they took her off the iv and fed her for the first time. She gulped everything down like a champ. No problems eating- which was great news! I couldn't take my eyes off of her, she was unbelievable. My eyes searched her body for signs of Down Syndrome and barely saw any. And her feet, which I thought it was going to be very hard for me to look at them so deformed, really weren't that bad- just a little pigeoned toed. I rubbed and kiss her little feet that were all soft and wrinkly and thanked God for all of these positive things I was seeing.

                                           This last picture looks identical to my baby picture!

Shortly after the first round of visitors left, my Dad and Step Mom made their way down to spend the evening with us. My amazing parents where a huge help. They took turns staying at our home, watching the boys at home and helping out at the hospital. This time when I took Dad and Claire to the NICU to see Fiona, they were moving her into her own room. And we got to hold her for the first time!

She is like a marshmallow. Part of the DS,she has very poor muscle tone and is just covered in baby soft fat. Her skin is the softest thing I have ever felt. They did lab work on her that first day, to test for Down Syndrome. We won't have the results for a week, although we already know she has it. The only physical markers you can see as of right now are her almond eyes, her low set ears, her thick neck, the crease in her hands and the poor muscle tone. We won't know where she falls on the spectrum until she starts hitting or missing milestones.

Fiona is such an amazing baby. So were my boys, so I figured, no way was I going to luck out with three easy babies, she was going to be a handful. But no, she is eating very well, falls asleep as soon as she's done eating and doesn't wake up again till its time to eat again. She barely cries, only when one of the many cords- that are hooked up to her 24-7- is being pulled, have I heard her really cry. As hard as it is being in a hospital so long, I'm grateful for this alone time with her, away from my boys, so we can bond and I can heal. And bond we do. We are working on the breastfeeding. Her little heart works too hard and she tires too quickly when we breast feed, so I am mostly pumping for her until I build up a large enough amount where she doesn't have to work so hard. My milk finally started coming in today, so I am hoping that by the beginning of next week we can switch to primarily breast. I'm not a fan of being hooked up to a machine and drained as if I am a cow.

 Even though the nurses scold me for it, I love just taking these mini naps with my daughter on my chest. She fits so perfectly there and both of us sleep our best this way. These are moments I won't get once we go home, so I am cherishing them now while I can.

  It amazes me how scared I was less then a week ago about everything, and now how I look back and see there was nothing to be scared of. Yes, its hard having her not with me at all times, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. I was scared that I wouldn't think my daughter was beautiful with her deformed feet, and now I cant get enough of those pudgy, turned in feet ( Which will be covered in casts before we leave the hospital and will be replaced each week for the next 2 months). And her heart? Well, that will always be scary, but at least I have her for now. I'll take whatever time God gives me with her.

 Our stay at the hospital isn't over. No word yet on a possible date to bring her home. I am missing my boys terribly and hope to have my whole family together soon. But in the meantime, I am soaking in the sweetness that is my daughter- it feels so good to say that word. Charlie and I have truly been blessed with three amazing kids. I have to say, its weird for us to have one baby- we find ourselves fighting over who gets her. And I find myself doing things like sleeping with her in my arms and not wanting to put her down. I found it so easy not to do that with the boys. But it's so peaceful holding her. Now that shes in my arms, I finally know she's safe.

  So now we watch her grow. The bigger, the better for her surgery. And as far as her Down Syndrome, well, we'll cross that bridge when it comes. As of right now, she is no different then any other newborn, just maybe a little more wobbly then most.

 We love you, Fiona Hope.


  1. I know you don't know me, but I was linked to your blog. I've been reading since day 1 and just wanted to say congrats to you & your family. You have such a beautiful little blessing. I'm expecting my third child (due in Feb). You're very inspiring.

  2. Awe thank you Katie- its nice to know that my words bring joy to someone else. Congrats on baby number 3! I love hearing about little blessings on the way.

  3. Shannon, You have done a marvelous job capturing your journey. I can only imagine the heart-wrenching ride this has been for you all. Thank God for your precious bundle of joy. Keep up the fine job (& pics!).
    PS: Your boys are ADORABLE :)
    Love, Mrs. Page :)

  4. Great story! I bet it's on your mind with her birthday coming soon!

  5. Erika van der MerweNovember 19, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Hi my name is Erika and Iam a mommy of a beautiful girl who is now 19 months and Amory has the same as your little girl. My haert broke when I sow your pictures and read your story I know what you had gone through. Amory is my little angel that God gave to me and we love her very much. some time its very hard but we do get trhough every day by day. I would love to here frome you dont know if you have facebook (Erika van der Merwe) or my e-mail is Hope you have a blessed day. Erika


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