The marvelous Melissa Goulet, Emerson (2.5) and Sullivan (7 days).
Melissa learned at her twenty week anatomy scan that Emerson had markers for Down syndrome. She chose to have the MaterniT21 screening which also came back positive but her result was the first positive her doctors had seen so they decided to go ahead and do an amniocentesis which confirmed that Emerson had Down syndrome. Their next step was to check in on his heart with an echocardiogram where they learned that he would need open heart surgery within his first few months of life. There was some grief that came with her pregnancy but Melissa is so grateful that she had supportive family, friends, and providers. If she knew then what she she knows know she says she would have been able to let go of so much grief because what Emerson has brought to their lives has been such a gift.
At 28 weeks, Melissa thought she was going to have her baby and was able to get steroid shots just in case. She was sent home from the hospital for bedrest at home with weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests. At 31 weeks Melissa went back in the hospital with the hopes of making it to 35 weeks, but Emerson's heart was having a hard time recovering so they delivered via emergency cesarean just shy of 32 weeks. Emerson was 2lbs 12oz when he was born and did beautifully. He only needed to be on oxygen for his first 24 hours and was able to come home from NICU after 25 days just shy of 4lbs.
Emerson had open heart surgery at 5 months old to rebuild the walls of his heart. After 10 days in hospital he was able to come back home and has been thriving ever since. He has many of the health concerns that come with Down syndrome which means lots of specialists and therapies but he is always happy, smiling, and full of joy.
When Emerson was about a year and a half, Melissa and her husband decided have another baby and were able to conceive Sullivan quickly. She had severe morning sickness until 27 weeks which she had also experienced in her first pregnancy but things went very well. At twenty weeks her scans looked perfect and without any issues that was all the monitoring she needed. While it felt strange to have a pregnancy that was so hands off it was a very healing experience for Melissa. She sought the care of midwives and was able to have a successful VBAC. She was able to bring her baby up to her chest where he stayed for his first hour of life. Melissa's milk hasn't come in just yet which has made feeding stressful but other than that she says that she is feeling great.
Just after Emerson was born, Melissa discovered this movement and found that reading other women's stories helped her to grieve and allowed her the space to know she wasn't alone. She hopes that by sharing her story, she too can provide that comfort and hope to other women.