Monday, October 8, 2012

{Another Post Without a Title}

31 for 21 blog challenge day 7

We sat in silence and each had our moment.  We didn't speak.  Kurt sat in the chair, and I in the bed.  We sobbed.  Guilt began to set in.  We just had a baby.  People are happy when they have babies.  It's an exciting time.  Getting to see all the characteristics your new baby has inherited from you, feeling their soft newborn skin, putting your finger inside their tiny palm to see if they'll grasp it.  There's cooing and kissing, babytalking and there's a sense of pride and accomplishment.

There was none of that for us.  We were shocked, heartbroken, and detached. 

Why shouldn't we be happy.  We just had a baby.  I gave birth to him.  I know he's mine.  What's to be sad about.  He's a person too. 

Expecting one thing only to get something that was not even on our radar; being caught so off guard, having our world rocked to the core is a feeling that I can not describe in words.  The expectation and image that I had in my mind all those months of another little bald, skinny, white, big toed Hepworth boy joining are family were so off track from my now, reality.  I was grieving the loss of the perfect child I had envisioned all those months. 

The Dr. who delivered our baby returned to our room to inform us that the baby is having difficulty with his oxygen levels and so he will be in the NICU for a few days.   She asked if we had a pediatrician.  We didn't.  We asked if the baby was ok.  She said that my Dr. would be there tomorrow to speak to me as well as a geneticist.  And then she left.

At this point I was really kind of ticked off. Why won't anyone say it? Just say it. Our son has Down syndrome. No one told us he had it, no one said anything. Not even the Dr. who delivered.  Why? If someone could just tell me, I could deal and try to move on.

"The second I saw him, he was sucking on his tongue and I knew. I knew he had Down syndrome." Kurt said. He also said that when the baby was born, he heard the Dr. comment that it looked like our baby had a bit of a syndrome. 

Kurt and I knew he had down syndrome.  I didn't really know what those words entailed.  All I knew is that there was a girl in my church growing up named Vonnie Anderson, who had Down syndrome.  Visions of her popped in my head.  They weren't the best visions.

A nurse came in to move me to the recovery part of the hospital.  It was a little awkward.  We were known as the people with "the baby."  All the nurses knew.  They were extra sensitive and nice.  I really liked the one who moved me to my recovery room.  After she moved me, I was out of her jurisdiction and it was the last I saw of her.  I don't remember her name, but I can totally picture what she looks like. 

A nurse came in and asked if we wanted to go down to the NICU to see our baby.  We both looked at each other and shook our 

We did not want to see our baby.  What a sad thing.  I didn't feel like this baby was mine.  It couldn't be mine.  I honestly felt like I was handed someone else's baby when I held him for the first time.  That sounds so awful.  The feelings and emotions that we were feeling were so overwhelming.  It was just too much to see him at that time. 

The nurses left us alone for the rest of the night. 

Still in shock and still having been crying continuously since I first held our baby; my eyes were puffy, swollen and tender.  The area just under my eyes were sensitive and rubbed raw from continuously wiping tears away.

The sun was just coming up, and we still hadn't gone to sleep for the night yet.  Kurt offered a word of prayer before we would lie down and try to sleep.

"We can do this, right?"  I asked.  "Yes, we can.  We don't really have a choice."  He was right.  We didn't have a choice.


Carpenter's said...

I remember having those same feelings with Graycee! I didn't want to look at her at first. Your mind plays games on you. I tell you this to let you know you aren't the only one!

Alicia said...

Your feelings sound completely and totally appropriate. You were both in shock. Shock is a real thing and part of the grieving process. It is natural to feel grief to know your son has DS. You imagined he would be born healthy, perfect, like all your other children. It is very sad, and very discouraging and heartbreaking. I think your feelings are spot on. If you had felt anything else, I would have thought you were kidding yourselves. I am so sorry that you had to experience those feelings. That would be so difficult. I hope that you'll never let yourself feel guilty to feel those feelings. They are completely natural and right. Once when I was grieving over a miscarriage, I felt like I couldn't allow myself to cry because so many other women experience the same thing and more times than I have and so how could I be a cry baby? One of my wise friends said to me, "If you don't grieve now, you will grieve later." And the tears just fell and fell and it was so healthy and good for me. My mother says of my handicapped brother: "Every time there is a milestone, like high school graduation, missionary farewells, marriages of my other children, I grieve for my son Josh who won't experience those things. I cry and let the emotions come out. But then I think of the feelings that I have with Josh that I don't have with my other children, the good feelings. How I raised him, how despite all his challenges, I helped him learn and grow. And I am so grateful for all the good things I have because I got to bring him home from the hospital as a baby." (My brother wasn't supposed to live, that's why she says bring home from the hospital). I love your writing. You are amazing.

Alicia said...

Having a baby in the NICU is so hard. When our 2nd, Timmy was in the NICU, we were visiting him up in Spokane and then driving back to Kennewick (2 hours away) where my mom was watching our oldest, Glo. I remember feeling guilty to be with Glo when I wasn't with Timmy and visa versa. Sometimes, I didn't have the strength to visit Timmy in the NICU. The night before Timmy's surgery, Brandon gave him a private, name and a blessing in case he didn't survive the surgery. I didn't go. I wanted to be there, but I didn't have the strength emotionally or physically. My legs were so swollen from giving birth and the walk down the long hallways of the hospital was by itself, overwhelming. Let alone being completely terrified. All I could do was sit on the bed and stare at the wall in the hotel. These children we have can do things to our hearts that I never imagined. My mother-in-law always says a baby is like a mother's heart walking around on legs.


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