The birth of Jaylan & our first few week together By Manjula

I remember it well, Monday evening in February 1997 at 10:30 pm, when I went into hospital for the delivery of my second child. After 4 hours of being in labour, at 2:30 am the following morning I gave birth to Jaylan. Waiting to hear his first cry was unsettling beyond belief, it was as if the world had stood still. Watching the nurses tapping his little feet to get his blood circulating, we were all anxiously waiting for his cry. But before I realised, Jaylan was wrapped up in a blanket and taken away, still no sound from him. This was not how I had imagined the second birth of my child to play out.

I was taken to another ward to rest and within the hour the nurse told me they had to take my new-born into ICU as he was having difficulty breathing on his own. After my husband returned to the hospital the next morning, we were finally both taken to see him.

All I could see was my tiny helpless son threaded with tubes and his innocent body struggling for every breath. At that moment, my husband and I realised our world had been turned upside down, because we knew something was not right. Jaylan lay caged in an incubator with his face and belly inflamed with fluids. My boy was fighting for his life. The doctor would not tell us anything when questioned and said they were waiting for blood test results to come back to find out what was wrong with him. With no answers and a growing list of questions, my husband and I anxiously waited. This was the longest waiting game. We never agreed to this!

Later that day, after what felt like hours later, the doctor confirmed our son had Down’s Syndrome.

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