Saturday, April 30, 2011

Melanie's Baby

(sequel to the blogpost titled “The Appointment”)

Melanie had one week left before the scheduled C-section. She was ready to not be pregnant, but she wasn’t ready for the 24/7 sleep-deprived care of a newborn. The plan was for her husband’s parents to take a Friday and Monday off work so they could take care of two-year-old Jannie while she was in the hospital.

But things never go as planned. After all she hadn’t planned on the horrible battle with the foreign doctor either. He had advised her to abort this baby. Each ultra-sound after that wavered. One week everything looked normal and the baby looked fine. Then another reading showed that the chances of Down syndrome were one in seven. She and her husband prayed for strength and a miracle.

The next appointment the odds changed to one in fourteen. Prayers were answered, it seemed. But today’s ultra-sound showed measurements indicating that he did indeed have that extra chromosome.

Melanie had no time for tears. She retrieved Jannie from the babysitter’s and headed home. Then her water broke. She panicked about who to call first: husband, doctor, parents, babysitter. Of course the order was doctor first, then husband, and he took over from there.

The birth was fast and easy and the new doctor handled the C-section differently, making the cuts smaller and, she told her with a laugh, giving her a tummy tuck at the same time. The plan was for Melanie to hold that little one immediately and marvel at the miracle of a perfect little person. But again . . . the plan changed. A nurse took the naked nameless boy straight to the NICU.

It was hours before Melanie was allowed to check his precious little fingers and toes, eyes and ears. She didn’t need the DNA test to tell her what she knew: her baby had Downs.