Renee Toth lives in Ohio, USA. She has been a valued contributor to the Natural Parenting Magazine Online Forum ;since its earliest days.Renee is married to John and together they conceived their daughter Myla Ann born in July 2002 after much trial with the condition Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. In April 2004, Renee, John and Myla proudly announced their pregnant status with T-shirts declaring their wonderful news.Renee writes for baby John and for all the families who may share her experience.Friday, November 12, 2004 ;


I had a beautiful birth experience. We left the house sometime around 11:30pm and John was born at 2:33am, just a couple of hours later! Very fast!!

I had been leaking very, very small amounts of amniotic fluid, but never had enough fluid to feel a gush. I had been drinking nearly a gallon of water each day, and it turns out it was a good thing I listened to my body.

When we got to the hospital I was almost in active labour, only 3 cm dilated, and contractions almost five minutes apart. The midwife never did get a chance to check me again because little Johnny decided to make a quick exit! It happened so fast that they didnt have half of the birth tub filled up, so I didnt get to labour or deliver in the water. I was standing at the end of the bed leaning over and just taking one contraction at a time. They were intense, but amazingly easy compared to my posterior labour with Myla. After about 15-20 min of leaning over the bed waiting for the tub to fill, I got the urge to push so I bent my knees slightly and said “HES COMING!!” and started to push.

I pushed about three times and he was born. No tears, stitches or anything. My husband John caught the baby. He says everything was “upside down” because “usually” a woman is on her back here, so it was interesting for him to experience a spontaneous, upside down birth! My midwives didnt have time to get warm compresses, the tub was still filling. A nurse RAN to get the supply table for the midwife (who was with John while he was catching the baby). Its kind of funny thinking back on it now because there was NOTHING ready, and my body skipped so fast through so many stages of labour, that people were just starting one thing to help, then had to switch gears and do something else because baby was coming. Then they switched gears AGAIN because he was out.

Johnnys cord was pretty short, so I could only hold him against my tummy for a while instead of lifting him to my breast and we were helped back onto the bed. He lay on my tummy and we talked to him and stroked him for a while. Then when it was almost done pulsing, I asked them to go ahead and cut the cord because I wanted him closer to me. I knew when I was holding him on my tummy that he had features of Down syndrome, but I didn?t want to admit to myself that it really was. My first words were, “Thank God hes in my arms!” then I looked at the midwife with a knowing look and said, “Is he healthy? Is he going to be okay?”

She looked at his hands and feet over and over, but John and I couldn?t figure out why. She said she was looking for more signs. John didn?t understand at all and just figured the baby had that squished up newborn look. I too tried to convince myself of this at first. He was very dry as though he were a couple of weeks past due (he was only one day past) and the skin of his hands, arms, legs, and feet was peeling off. He was breathing and had a strong cry and we were all instantly in love.

Myla had gone to the maternity waiting area with my sister because it was the middle of the night. She had been SO tired and there was just too much action going on at the time. I felt better labouring once she was in the other room sleeping soundly. But they brought her right in even before the placenta had been born. Her expression was priceless. Someone told her that “baby John” was out of Mummys tummy and her face lit up. When she saw him she said “Baby John is a REAL BABY!” with so much excitement in her voice! Shes such a good big sister.

Johnny was quick to latch onto the breast the first couple of times, but then it seemed that it took him longer and longer each time. At least when he eventually did latch on it was a good strong suck, with slow rhythmic movements. This is SUCH wonderful news since many Down syndrome babies have trouble with weak jaw muscles and /or need to be taught how to suck. Others have palate problems and can never breast feed.

Sometimes he takes 15 minutes to actually latch on, and he only sucks for 5 -10 minutes, so its going to be a long road, but well do our best. We have made a lot of exceptions to a lot of our original plans for his post-partum and medical care, since he has different needs than Myla did or another healthy baby might. What would we have done if it had been a different outcome? We will just continue to make decisions about his medical needs as we meet each new crossroad. What more can we do?

My milk started to come in this afternoon and I pumped about 2 oz from each breast. Since Ive never measured breastmilk and how much a newborn gets when your milk is in, Im not sure if my milk is fully in yet, or if it still has more to come in the next couple of days.

My birth experience was a dream. It was better than I had planned in my head. But it turned out to be the beginning of a very hard and long rollercoaster of emotions and pain mixed with joy and refreshing love I never knew existed. It is something that I can look back on and celebrate as the end of a perfect pregnancy and the perfect transition to welcoming our miracle child that we prayed so hard for and were given.

Johnny’s Journal – Part Two