The Natural Birth of My Precious Girl: My Baby with Down Syndrome
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A calm beginning…
My beautiful daughter was born in August 2021. Like her brothers before her, she was born naturally – with no interventions – at the birth center. Her beginning was as gentle and calm as any mother could hope for a child. She nursed right away and had great bonding time with Mommy. Little did we know that would change all too quickly, as my precious girl was transferred to the hospital, a place I never wanted to be with my newborn baby. It was a cautionary protocol to rule out the complications that may arise for our sweet girl. Fear raced through us both as the midwives shared what they suspected – that she was not a typical baby – she was a baby with Down Syndrome.
Labor with Baby #3 – Our Baby Girl!
As labor began, I couldn’t believe this was labor. I didn’t feel ready. My husband and I both agreed this was the most knowledgeable we’d ever been about what to expect and the least prepared for baby that we had felt. An exam at birth center confirmed 7 cm dilated. I labored mostly in the bathtub on my hands and knees. I kept waiting for the greater challenge of transition and was able to stay fairly relaxed through each contraction. I announced that the next one was going to be the ring of fire.
Without explanation, my midwife asked me to flip to my back in the water and as she checked me, she could feel my daughter’s head. I told her I didn’t want to be on my back. She asked me to stay through one contraction. I remember saying I couldn’t relax in that position. But I didn’t need to… On the next contraction, I was pushing. The waters broke… and I waited for my body to relax. Involuntarily, I kept pushing. The forewaters broke… and again, I waited for my body to relax…. I kept pushing. Quick as anything, my daughter shot out like a bullet! My body finally relaxed. I had pushed for a minute and 20 seconds without stopping. This was by far the shortest and easiest labor I had ever experienced.
Holding My Girl
Her cord was super short. We couldn’t bring her up very far so they began to drain the water in the tub. My midwife told me later that if I had stayed in hands and knees position, they wouldn’t have been able to get to her very easily. We delayed cord clamping. Daddy cut the cord and held his little girl close while I got cleaned up. We made our way to the bed, where I held my little girl again.
Like the boys before her, my daughter was born naturally, with no interventions, at the birth center. She was tiny compared to the boys, but definitely had a strength about her. Her beginning was as gentle and calm as any mother could hope for a child. She nursed right away and had great bonding time with Mommy.
As the midwives looked her over, they became concerned about some traits they were seeing for Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome. Knowing this could present challenges currently unseen, they made a couple calls to specialists and then recommended we transfer her to the NICU. We agreed, figuring we were being abundantly cautious. Her first car ride was short and quiet, but instead of going home as expected just hours previous, we were headed to the hospital.
As it turns out, the need for the NICU was highly necessary. My sweet girl was, indeed, diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Challenges did arise, including a surgery, with a relatively short recovery that kept her in the NICU for 20 days.
God is Faithful
Through the learning curves and unknowns and sadness, procedures, surgery, and ongoing recovery, God has been faithful. He has revealed His love and compassion for us every single day. This journey will certainly be filled with many challenges, but we are thankful for the adventure that is unfolding before us as we pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in raising our little daughter alongside our two sons.
I am forever grateful for the beginning that she had at the birth center. It set the tone for how we handled the difficult days that lie ahead. The adventure had just begun…
Psalm 139 – “I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”