After checking in to the hospital on Thursday night for an induction, my body instead went into labor on its own and Allegra came into the world on Friday morning just before 5. Stunned by the speediness of her arrival, I looked down at her on my chest, noticed her mouth slightly moving, and wondered if she was alive. Usually after delivery I'm listening for the announcement on gender, this time I waited to learn if she was breathing. Neither the midwife nor the nurse confirmed. So Mitch and I watched her. Slowly she moved. And again. With relief we realized she made it. Such a good girl. Allegra met her excited siblings and grandparents an hour later and was showered with hugs, kisses and an unquestioning acceptance of her physical differences.
Allegra has the full pink mouth and dark hair that I dreamed. She looks perfectly normal burrito'd in a blanket with a little hat on her head. When unwrapped though she has visible defects resulting from the Trisomy 18 including misshapen ears, extra folds of skin at the back of her neck, curled fingers (neither the thumb nor the first finger can bend), and a club foot. Regardless of her diagnosis and the resulting anomalies, she is perfect and we adore her.
After a restless night of feedings and fussiness, I woke up this morning with a tiny snoring baby sharing my pillow. Perfection.