Megan and her husband, Matt, waited one year after their wedding to start their family. After four months of trying, Megan was ecstatic to learn she was pregnant!
While her husband was out-of-state for work, Megan attended her first-trimester screening, where she learned her baby had soft markers for Trisomy 21 or other genetic anomalies. Megan called her husband from her car in a McDonald’s parking lot, where through her sobs, she told him she felt like she finally had a higher sense of purpose. After meeting with a genetic counselor, Megan and Matt decided to pursue a cell-free DNA test instead of an amniocentesis. While they waited for the results, Megan and Matt treated themselves to a weekend away as a means of distraction. Megan convinced her husband to stay an extra night, arguing that if their baby had Down Syndrome, they wouldn’t be able to afford weekend getaways anymore. (She has a flair for the dramatic ;). Within an hour of returning home, they got the call: their baby had Down syndrome, and they were having a boy!
Megan and Matt embraced their son’s diagnosis and quickly found a home in the Down syndrome community.
Megan struggled with anxiety about the prospect of something going wrong during her labor, or the need for a NICU stay. After many discussions with her midwives and husband, Megan decided to have an epidural assisted birth to ensure that she had the mental and emotional clarity available to make any big decisions.
Six days before her due date, around 1:30 am, Megan woke up to a contraction. They kept coming, and around 5:00 am she could no longer stay in bed to work through the contractions. When she went to use the bathroom, her water broke, so she called her midwife, who gave her the go-ahead to labor at home. About 5 hours later, she headed to the hospital to learn that she was 5cm dilated, fully effaced, and baby was at zero station. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, she received her epidural and by 10:00 pm was fully dilated. Her epidural wore off on one side of her body, but this allowed her to labor and push in different positions with the help of her doula and husband. She learned baby was posterior, and she agreed to Pitocin to see if it would help him turn. Baby did turn, but did not descend and was still at zero station. Megan spent a few hours pushing in different positions to try to help baby descend, but he wouldn’t budge. After an unsuccessful vacuum-assisted birth, the only option was a cesarean section. Because her epidural had worn off hours before, Megan was put under general anesthesia for the surgery.
After 29 hours of labor, Robert Ignatius was born at 6:22am weighing 8lbs 12oz.
Bert latched right away and Megan was able to nurse him for one month. It then became clear that she needed to pump exclusively, which she kept up for 13 months. At two months old, Bert had surgery to have a gastrostomy tube placed. At four months old he had open-heart surgery. When he was six months old he accompanied his parents to the same place they had gone while waiting on the results from the cell-free DNA test, because, you know, they can still afford the occasional weekend getaway. 😉 He is now a thriving two-year-old and has never lived a day where Megan hasn’t felt lucky beyond belief that he is hers. He continues to amaze, teach, and inspire anyone who meets him.
Megan lives in Baltimore City, Maryland with her husband, Matt and their two year old son, Robert, whom they call Bert. In her free time she enjoys cross-stitching, reading, (ahem, listening to audiobooks, because reading makes her sleepy) touring historical homes, drinking wine, and just basking in the glory of her chromosomally enhanced boy. She’s an active member of the Chesapeake Down Syndrome Parent Group (CDSPG) and loves to share Bert’s light. She would like to shout out the city moms of CDSPG for keeping her laughing and sane. Feel free to connect with her on Instagram, @robertignites.
- Babies With Down Syndrome, edited by Susan J. Skallerup (Book)
- Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network
- National Down Syndrome Congress
- Search out Facebook Groups or Instagram accounts that pertain to whatever you’re going through!
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