We knew we were having another boy. We didn't even think about girl's names. M's family seems to only produce boys. At our run-of-the-mill ultrasound we discovered a few things. This baby (who was due on my birthday on 7/19, based on an early ultrasound) was a girl. A girl! A girl? A few minutes later we learned about soft markers of Down syndrome. Less than a week later DS was confirmed and we learned of her duodenal atresia (surgery was done hours after her birth). It was a lot to get used to.
As we settled into our new life called 'after' (short for life after the DS diagnosis) we began the discussion of names. M and I can argue about what to make for dinner for 2 hours, so needless to say we can take quite a while to make even the most mundane decisions. He suggested Sophia as it is Greek for wisdom. I immediately agreed. I pulled out my dust covered baby names book. In the book I had a list. One side had my favorite girl's names. The other had boy's names. The first name on the girl's side was Sophia (written a couple of years before). We knew our baby would have that name and I knew she would not make it to my birthday as she was destined to arrive early. She was born at 37 weeks and 4 days in the back of a moving vehicle. We settled on Madison as her middle name as it was the name of the city we lived in and loved - a city we would move away from less than two weeks after she was discharged from the NICU as it gave her roots. Labor began on a Tuesday. We went to the hospital with our doula and after being monitored we were sent home. Contractions worsened and slowed over and over for almost a week but never fully stopped. We were sent home from the hospital a second time over the weekend when labor failed to progress - again. "Come back when they are 5-1-1" (five minutes apart or less, for a minute+ in duration, for an hour). Labor never made it to that pattern.
I was in transition in our kitchen moments after we had decided to go in after a night of painful contractions on a Monday. I found that I could not sit down in our van as she had begun to crown. With our 1st child we had 28+ hours of labor with 4 hours 40 minutes of pushing (no epi until near the end and delivery with suction cups as he was a whopping 9 pounds). The feeling was nothing like I had ever experienced and I was in shock that she was coming so fast after stalling for a week and after such a hard labor with my 1st child. I felt her coming. M drove like a mad man and called 911 to alert the hospital that we were coming and to be ready. The 911 operator asked him to look to see if he could see the baby and he wanted us to pull over and wait for an ambulance. He said no, he couldn't see her and kept driving. "Sir, are you looking?” "NO" he replied! I instructed him to keep driving!!! "We are not pulling over!" He knew he better listen to me and not some operator. I was still standing in the passenger side of the minivan facing backwards gripping the head rest. "Sir, can you feel the baby?" He reached. He felt her head and pulled over immediately. Running to the back of the van he pulled out a sleeping bag and laid it on the grass on the side of the road in case he was about to deliver his daughter. We had recently sat on it to watch fire works. We were on the side of the road at a Tenney Park at 5:45AM. The ambulance pulled up a moment later and the EMTs tried to get me to walk. I could not. When they realized Sophia was coming out, I was pretty much scooped up and whisked into the back of the ambulance with the van speeding behind with flashers on. M says that we had bald tires and were going over 70 mph on a 35 mph street and passed 2 cops. He prayed that the tires would hold out as he took a corner. "Don't push! It will be better if you deliver in the hospital!" I remember thinking "so this is the ring of fire" and "is my bottom falling out?" She was born in that ambulance moments before it pulled into the bay. I had wanted to try natural childbirth. Guess I got my wish.