When I found out I was pregnant, I was in utter shock! I wasn’t ready for the change that was about to come. I didn’t know how to react, until I felt that little flutter.
That amazing little flutter.
That lets you know that, indeed there is life miraculously growing inside you. And God chose me to be this child’s mother. Surprised is what I wanted to be when my child was born. I didn’t want to know the sex of my unborn baby until the day that he chose to arrive. It was that 20 week ultrasound visit.
I was firm. I wanted that surprise. On the other hand, my son’s father didn’t.
I stood strong in my decision and stepped out the room so that he could get the news. While I was positive at this point that I would now find out before he was born, I figured I still has some time before he slipped.
We were half-way home. These were his words exactly, “He has a big head!”
My words, “Really? No seriously, really?”
We had a good laugh and rejoiced knowing that in a few 20 weeks or so, our son would be here.
However, that’s not the only thing we found out that day.
I had a fibroid, sitting directly on top of my cervix. The ultrasound tech did voice his concern, and that he would give the information to the doctor.
It couldn’t be that serious, right?
If it was then they would have done something at that point… Right?
A few days later I got a call from the Maternal Fetal Specialist. My heart jumped. She said I just needed to come in and get another sonogram. Of course my first question was is my child okay. She assured me they just wanted to get a closer look and that they had better equipment than my office had. That was a relief! I scheduled the appointment for a few days later, on my day off.
That morning I started cleaning before my appointment. Got some food out to cook when I got back home and set out to the Specialist office. I didn’t fully finish the laundry, but that was okay, I would get it done when I returned.This sonogram was 3-D, so I got to see my little man all up close and personal. It was exciting to see him now know he was actually a boy. And I seen him pee. which I got oddly excited about.
We headed into another room to discuss what they found on the sonogram. One thing I knew for sure that this birth would be a C-Section. Both techs had already mentioned it, but for sure that was going to be the extent of all this. Everyone seemed fairly good about it. Until the doctor stepped in the room.
The fibroid that was sitting on top of my cervix was causing me to prematurely dilate and was only getting bigger. Then I heard,
May not make it.
All that stuck was, “May not make it”. Now, those may not have been his exact words, but it didn’t matter, it was the truth, this was my reality. I bawled. He then assured me that bed rest wouldn’t be too bad.
My least concern was bed rest! My baby, the flutter, I literally seen him on the screen a few minutes before and now he may be gone the next day! I called my boyfriend… hysterically to say the least. They had to put me in a separate room and close the door as the mothers-to-be that were waiting in the waiting room could hear me. I just needed my son to be okay, to make it several more weeks.
They rolled me over to the hospital and put me up in the High-Risk Unit
Tomorrow I will have my Cerclage placed. If you are unfamiliar with that procedure, they doctor goes in and basically ties up your cervix to prevent from dilating it any further, once it’s time to have the baby, it will be cut. This procedure was a little awkward, as I was completely awake in the OR room having just an epidural. The most awkward part about it was that, at any moment something could go totally and completely wrong and I would have been aware of every single moment… and there would be nothing else I could do. Luckily it went well and I was taken back to my room.
It was pretty boring in that room for the next 26 days. I had my little routine;
- Get up.
- Go to the bathroom/shower (I could do that, which felt like a field trip)
- Eat breakfast
- do my bed stretches
- Try to crochet (the housekeeper taught me 🙂 )
- Watch Sister, Sister
- Eat Lunch
- Watch Grey’s Anatomy
And then it just continued to get more boring from there. It was day in and day out the same thing. But I never once, got upset that I was in there. I knew why I was there and had every intention of keeping my little guy in there as long as possible. I was told that I would be able to go home and finish out my bed rest at 32 weeks. About a week after my cerclage was placed, it broke and that plan was thrown out the window.
A couple of weeks went by, and then the real fun began. It was a Friday night, May 15th to be exact. My boyfriend had just left to run home. I was 25 weeks pregnant at this point and was continuing to master the art of crochet when it happened.
My water broke.
The nervousness took over my body. It was still too early. I know what goes on at 25 weeks outside the womb, as I’ve been researching every step of the way. I called my nurse back into my room, who just so happened to be in there a few minutes earlier. I let her know what happened and she immediately went into action. She first checked to make sure that my water did actually break. It did. They started pumping me up with medicine to stop the contractions, and wheeled me down to labor and delivery. There, I stayed for the next two days, in a horrible little room with no windows that made it utterly depressing. The doctors assumed that my son may have kicked and busted the amniotic sac, but it must have sealed itself back over, because the amniotic fluid was building back up. My little guy may actually have a chance to grow a little longer. That Sunday night they sent me back up to my bed in the high-risk unit.
A few short hours after being back in my high-risk room, my contractions really started to go full force.
I was getting the medication about every 30 minutes or so to stop them, but it did nothing for them. My pain was felt all in my back. My son was breach, and apparently that’s where you feel them when that happens. That went on for a few hours until I was wheeled back down to labor and delivery so that we could be ready. There the medicine they were giving me to stop the contractions began to not work at all! I was feeling them every 15 minutes. Due to what we experienced a few days earlier, my boyfriend thought that we may not deliver that day. He left to go to work, and about 10 minutes later my OB came in to check me, she proceeded to tell the nurse that we had to go NOW! I called my boyfriend to get back to the hospital ASAP. By the time he got there, we were already headed into the operating room and they wouldn’t let him in.
So there I was again, on an operating room table awake and aware of all that was happening.
I didn’t know how to react. This should be the happiest moment of my life, my son entering this world. But, it could all go wrong. I felt a little detached from the situation, trying to coach myself to not cry from what MAY happen. The nurse assured me to not be alarmed that I wouldn’t hear him cry, as his lungs are not strong enough to make a sound. Something wasn’t right though, it was taking longer than they said. My fibroid, that was the cause of all this nonsense was blocking the doctor from even reaching my son. She had no choice but to perform a Myomectomy (removal of uterine fibroids). Typically this isn’t done during a birth due to the chance of the mother losing too much blood. I remember smelling my burning flesh, a smell that is never pleasant, even after working side-by-side with the OR as my occupation. Although during a C-section you don’t experience pain, you can still feel the pressure. Having said that, I felt my son being pulled from my body, the safe haven of where he is supposed to be for another 14 weeks.
The nurse was right, I didn’t hear him cry.
The NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) team rushed him out of the room, I didn’t even get a glimpse of him. They closed me up and sent me over to recovery. There is where my boyfriend met me. It sucked that he wasn’t in room when our first (and only) child was born. But he did get to see him, and recorded him too. He was so small , weighing just under 2lbs at 1 lb 14oz and a little longer than a ruler at 13 3/4in. After spending some time in recovery they took me by the NICU before heading to my room.
There he laid, in his little glass house that protects him from the world. The protection that should be given by my body. He looked like he was in pain. Squirming around trying to find a “comfortable” spot in the midst of all the wires and tubes that were now a temporary fixture to keep him alive. Here he will stay for a total of 101 days.
I stayed in the hospital for a few more days to recover from my C-section and Myomectomy. The day I left was the hardest. It was that moment that made it all feel so real. I had been in the hospital for a total of 28 days (from the beginning of bed rest until leaving), but I’m leaving empty-handed. I have no baby in my arms, no smile that I can’t get off my face. I leave my son in the care of the NICU staff and of machines that will keep him alive. He was only a few minutes drive away, but it seems forever when he is still supposed to be in my womb. I cried as I walked out. As any parent of a micro preemie knows, this isn’t the end, but the beginning of a roller coaster of emotions.
101 Days. That was his time in the NICU. It was a 101 days on a roller coaster ride. With ups and downs, highs and lows. The first few days looked promising, he wasn’t on a high-level of oxygen. I thought it may not be too bad and that, although small, he may not have that many issues. The nurses told me that babies coming into the NICU was a rollercoaster ride, that there are possibilities that he may have issues, he may be fine, he may not live. It was blunt, but appreciated. I appreciated the truth not being sugar-coated. The realization that this may not go as I hope, as I planned for. With this, I didn’t take any moment for granted and it was at this time that I truly learned what putting it into God’s hands meant. To let it go and give it all to Him. In this, I have truly leaned to trust Him.
It was two days after he was born that the highs started to become lows. He was just too little to breath on his own, and machines became his breathing mechanism. He, of course, was too little to hold his own temperature since coming into this World, so he lived in the little glass house to keep him warm. We couldn’t hold him, barely touch him and I felt an utter disconnect as a parent. All I could do was pray, and be there. I read stories to him through a little hole in his incubator, the same hole that I could occasionally out my hand in and touch his little foot. Simple really, right? But then I couldn’t read for long and I couldn’t touch him for long either. Too much stimulation isn’t necessarily good. Touching a micro preemie may actually hurt them, their skim is thin, they feel much more than what we would. During his stay in the NICU, he went through 6 blood transfusions. My poor baby looked so weak, I wish I could give him all my strength.
Everything felt so unnatural. Machines were replacing my body to give my child everything he needed to grow. I felt helpless. A few times while I was there he went into DSTAT or Apnea, which means breathing has stopped. Doctors and nurses ran to his bedside while a nurse ushered me out to the hall. I stood there, waiting. While remaining calm, I waited for them to come get me so I would know if my son was still alive.
It was a lot to take in within such a short period of time. Of course a nurse returned to tell me all was well. This will happen again, several times. As the preemie babies move, they sometimes can dislodge their tubes. I truly found my appreciation for science during this time. Sometimes Gods hands work in forms you don’t think of.
I waited 2 weeks to hold him. I was there visiting him, looking at him when the nurse came up and asked if I wanted to hold him. I didn’t know how to answer. I was excited, nervous as several thoughts were running through my head. I was thinking about what if I hurt him, what if I pull his tubes out? I was directed to sit in a rocking chair that was next to his bed. Then the nurse handed me my baby, placing him on my chest. He was so small! He fit right in between my breast. He wiggled. I fell in so much love. I could have stayed there all day. The nurse had to tell me that it was time to place him back in his incubator. I didn’t want to let go.
After 8 weeks after having him I went back to work. Luckily I worked within the hospital where he was. I’d visit him before work, during my lunch and after work everyday. I was so anxious at this point. I was ready for him to come and it seemed like it was taking forever. Slowly he was getting stronger, his tubes and machines were becoming less of an accessory for him and he was more alert and looking more like a newborn.
I learned a lot being a new parent to a preemie. Things you learn with a preemie are a little different than with a healthy to term newborn. Before we could even think about leaving the hospital, we had to learn infant CPR, learn how to place a feeding tube and the signs to look for if he was in distress. Overwhelming is an understatement. We had to have a company come out to place a large oxygen tank in our house for him. It stood about 3 feet tall. The day we were able to leave the hospital was the most nerve-racking day of my life. I was use to this team to maintain his health and to keep him alive, but now it was all on us. It was a lot to take in, but exciting to finally bring him home.
Unfortunately I only had about a week of PTO in my bank at work to be off, luckily some co-workers gifted me some hours so that I could be home with him. But is sucked. Usually mothers are at home with their newborns 6-8 weeks before heading back to work, although I did get that time off after having him, it wasn’t when I would choose to have off. Those two weeks went by fast, much faster than the time that my son spent in the NICU.
Life at home was ever-changing. He gradually got stronger and finally got rid of all oxygen, feeding tubes and was freely breathing on his own. It didn’t get easier though. Through the years we spent nights in the ER on several occasions due to him having issues with Croup. He had to undergo a procedure so they could get a better look at his airway and he was even rushed to the hospital in an ambulance from school because he couldn’t breath. It seemed like this was going to be his life. Luckily, a few years ago he didn’t have any visits to the ER and we haven’t had a visit since. It’s been a long road, and he continues to amaze me. From that little baby that could fit in the palm of my hand is now a thriving young boy.
As we all have different pregnancy stories and birthing stories, I would love to hear yours! Please drop a line below.
If you liked this post, then you may like: