Coraline's Birth

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Coraline was born at 12.15pm on Monday 7th August 2017. We had a playlist in the theatre including Bruce Springsteen, Enrique Iglesias and she arrived to Lionel Ritchie's "Penny Lover". I remember one staff member saying, "oh that's too much" when Lionel played as she arrived. This is Coraline and me maybe half an hour after she arrived. This was the half hour where I realised I was a mother and I had a baby. It was after this half hour that the paediatrician came and said, "I need to examine your baby," and Kevin asked, "Is there anything particular you are worried about?" And they replied, "Let us look and then we will tell you". This is like a moment on TV (of which I watch a lot) as you know they have spotted something. This is then when they looked her over and then said, "you remember those screening tests you had at 13 weeks for Downs Syndrome which you thought were clear, they are just a guide. It looks like she is exhibiting characteristics of Downs Syndrome."

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A half hour after birth we had the unexpected news that our baby probably has Down's Syndrome. I was then transferred to a room for recovery after the caesarean. To set the back drop which I probably hadn't realised at the time; I could not feel my legs from the ribs down after the caesarean, had not eaten in 15 hours or so, and had the post birth hormones and post surgery medication coursing around. Ordinarily I believe all of this would be transcended and fleeting when you quietly spend time with your new baby. However "Baby" as she was called was taken to the neonatal ICU for tests. Kevin immediately said he was going with her and I said "of course, of course" and as you can see here he held her hand and even said "ommmm" to her which calmed her he said, just like in that video going around. Meanwhile I was in the room, rather glazed, in bed and unable to move my legs. I remember the window being open and the rain. The paediatrician from earlier came in and she chose this moment to say, "You realise your baby will be in and out of hospital for the rest of her life, and she could have problems with her ears, her eyes, her heart and her thyroid" (I am not sure if ears and eyes is strictly true - watch this space - but heart and thyroid are true). I remember staring at her and the more I stared the more I began to hyperventilate. Something I have not done before in my life (apart from altitude sickness where you can't catch your breath which I had on Jebel Toubkal in Morocco). But this time there was no best friend, a trekking leader, to talk me through my breaths. Then Kevin reappeared and told me he later thought, "what on earth is happening here, she was fine when I left"? He immediately did the "in for four and out for eight" breaths to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and endorphins, but I was beyond redemption! I remember emitting sounds I have never emitted before too. They then gave me a drug called oramorph to calm me which Kev told me is morphine. We feel it sounds like Lord of the Rings. It worked. I mean it absolutely worked as after a time I politely enquiried if it might be possible to have a room off the main road.

Birth, HospitalLiz