He cried! The doctors told me not to expect to hear him cry, hold him, or see him. He sure showed them! Gabriel was born in the afternoon of September 11 weighing in at 2 lb 5 oz, 14.5 in long. I could hear the nurses saying, “He’s peeing everywhere!” He even sneezed! My mom played photographer, she snapped some shots and ran back to show me. He looked so big! After a few more minutes, the neonatologist brought Gabriel over to see me and said, “Here he is! He’s breathing on his own! Give him a kiss momma!” It was the best kiss of my life. Right before I kissed him, I muttered a few words. Gabriel opened both his eyes and looked at me with a look that read, “I know that voice! You’re my mommy!” Thank you, mom, for capturing that interaction, that first look of recognition and the beginning of an incredible bond. It’s a priceless picture.
After an hours wait in a recovery room, the nurses wheeled me down to Gabriel in the NICU. I laid on my bed, he laid in his incubator. I reached out and he held my hand…more like the tip of my finger. His doctor put him on a breathing aid that covered his forehead, strapped around his ears, and stuck two prongs in his nose. It blew a little air into his lungs to help them stay open. He was never on oxygen though, always room air. After two days, he was off that machine and only for the second time, I could see his face.
The night he was born, I didn’t sleep, but I also wasn’t allowed to go down to see him again. My mom went to check on him at 3am…and he was doing great.
When Gabriel was delivered, his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Luckily I had a c-section and my OB quickly cut it. His umbilical cord was also short and weak, which makes my doctors think this was the reason for the decreased blood flow between us. Whether this happened because something within my body or because of the Trisomy 21 (umbilical cord and placenta also carried the 47th chromosome), I’ll never know.
Gabriel is now 13 days old, 32 weeks gestational age and 2 lb 12 oz. His doctors and nurses keep referring to him as a fighter, as being feisty. He’s done better than anyone expected him to… and that’s my baby.