Giving Birth To A Baby With Down Syndrome: A Mother's Experience

by Kimberly Fish

On February 3, 2005 I gave birth to my first set of twins. These were babies number 10 and 11 for us. The OR room was very active with many people. Since this was a teaching hospital, there were many who wanted to be present to watch this 40 year-old woman give birth to twins, especially since one as breech. Baby A presented first with his head down and was born at 2:05pm - he was a boy. I was able to hold him for a brief minute before he was wisked away to the NICU by a tall, blond-haired nurse. As soon as he was out, the resident doctor put her hands up inside of me and began to position Baby B. After 5 minutes of watching on the ultrasound and getting arms and legs into the right position Baby B (the girl) was pulled out breech at 2:10pm. She was briefly held up in front of me and then wisked off in the caring hands of the NICU staff. It was so amazing that I was able to deliver both vaginally without even tearing.

Now, the room emptied out of my audience, I lay on the table in tears. Tears of joy that I was able to deliver these 2 babies without any complications. Little did I realize, these would be the first of many tears that I would shed over the next 2 weeks. As I lay there thinking and getting cleaned up, my hubby appeared at my side and said, "I have some bad news - it looks like the little boy has down syndrome". My first thought (which has continued to be my only thought since that day) was - "that's not so bad". At that moment, I knew next to nothing about down syndrome. I began to think of some distant memories. . . I remember peering through the chain link fence at the "retarded" kids in the playground next to the "normal" kids play yard. I remember staring at "them" and wondering what was wrong with "them". It was as if they were caged up in their own world, unable to interact with those of us on the outside. I remember watching them load up in their special bus and wondering where they were being taken to - did they have a real home with parents and siblings? I also remember, to my shame, making fun of them with my friends when I was in elementary school. As I reached high school, I had little to no interaction with these special people. I now attended a high school that actually had a boy with down syndrome as a student. I cannot remember his name at this point but, he was a very funny boy. I would sometimes sit with him and eat my lunch. He wasn't so bad after all. . .

Laying on the table in the OR, I realized that I had alot of learning to do. What exactly was Down Syndrome? Was it just something that made people look different, look a little funny, look like they had big eyes
and . . . smiled alot? There were questions raised that maybe God was punishing us for some wrong doing but, my response was, "even the blind man was for the glory of God"