Posts Tagged ‘high risk pregnancy


A New Preemie Family

As I gave advice to my friend on her brother and his wife’s needs over the phone Sunday afternoon, I was taken back to that place where nothing from anyone was a comfort or help.

The scariest moment. When 10 people rushed into a triage room with me, and looked at some monitors and made me get in a fetal position on my left side  and put an oxygen mask on me. Hands down the worst moment of my life. I had just arrived by ambulance 20 minutes prior from our neighborhood hospital that only has a Level II NICU. My husband hadn’t yet been allowed to join me. When I think about that moment one year later, I still get nauseous.

The new preemie mama and daddy that were made today had twin girls at 33+6. The first baby came naturally, but an emergency c-section was needed for the second. Please keep this new NICU family in your prayers. I hope their little ladies are feeder/growers and home soon! And all my best to the mama as she heals.

Ironically, this friend and her husband were our support the night I was admitted. They came to the hospital to support my husband through a night where the slightest movement from me would make baby’s heartbeat coming through the monitor fade away. They are wonderful, beautiful people and I am so sorry prematurity has touched their family almost 1 year to the day after they stayed up all night with us.


Home Stretch to B-Day

I can’t bring myself to order the birthday supplies. It’s 22 days to Drake’s birthday. We’ve picked out the perfect decorations, cake and tableware. It was fun to do so, but I just can’t make myself check out and pay.

We’ve agreed to a small gathering at Gammy’s (hubby’s mom) house of only great aunts & uncles so about 7 people including us. Adults only as we’re in RSV isolation still.

He is so amazing. He deserves his journey of the past year to be celebrated with unwavering joy. The timeline of memories leading up to Drake’s premature birth are painful and/or guilt inducing ones.

On this day last year, I found out my Granny was dying of perforated bowel. She was 93 and suffering from advanced dementia.  She died on the day of my baby  shower February 5, 2012.  I wasn’t able to travel for the funeral as I was already classified as high risk. Knowing now that I had Drake 15 days later, I’m so glad I followed that medical advice. 15 days is the difference between a 27-28 weeker versus a 30+2 weeker. What I did experience was hysterical grief. I loved my grandmother, and not being able to say goodbye on my own terms plus pregnancy hormones was an awful combination.

Then the following Friday, I was in a minor car wreck as I lost control in some ice and slid into the car in front of me on the way home from work. Everyone was fine, and my car sustained only minor damage.  I called the doctor right away and they advised me that as long as my kick counts were going ok I could wait to come in at my regular appointment time on Monday. Everything checked out fine. My blood sugar from the Gestational Diabetes was well under control as was my chronic hypertension. I wish I had stayed home that day as my husband asked me to, or left work the hour early I was supposed to.

My appointment to preregister for the hospital was scheduled for 2/20/12 at 1pm. My son was born at 10:09am by emergency cesarean because he was breech and I was 6 cm and 85% effaced.

Some things are foggy whether due to medicine, exhaustion, stress or magnesium. I don’t know.

My darling boy. What an amazing fighter you are.  Mommy is still sorting out getting all the what ifs and if/thens out of my system.



Surgery Dates and Anniversaries

Yay. Yay. Yay. We finally have our date for Drake’s inguinal hernia repair. By the time we have it done in October, it’ll have been almost 5 months from the time I noticed it and took him to see his pediatrician in a panic. I’m so, so glad that his ENT was able to coordinate with the surgeon and will be able to do his mouth injection without an extra bout with general anesthesia. Please God, just keep that little bit of intestine from kinking up for a few more weeks!

On September 7, 2011, I saw my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I cried. It was at the end of 32 of the scariest hours of my life up to that point. On September 6th, I started having some heavy pink and brown spotting. After a sleepless night, I called my Gynecologist/OB’s office. My first appointment wasn’t scheduled to happen until the 15th.  The nurse instructed me to head straight to the hospital and have blood drawn.

I got a call about 230pm that my hcg levels definitely showed I was pregnant, but they were concerned about my progesterone level. It was a 9.7 which is on the very low end of normal. They set up an ultrasound for 30 minutes, and I left home to go pick up my husband from work along the way.

We only had to sit in the waiting room for about 10 minutes, and I remember feeling like I was going to throw up the ENTIRE time. Not due to morning sickness either. I only had 1 or 2 incidences of throwing up usually I only had mild nausea.

148 bpm and two pictures of a little bean. I was discovered to be 6 weeks, 5 days along. Estimated due date of 4/27/12.

Ironically, his heartbeat was 148 at the final ultrasound of my pregnancy, too. Taken on February 9, 2012. Eleven days before his birth.

The spotting lasted for 5 weeks. Almost until I was out of that scary first trimester. A friend tried to convince me to push for progesterone supplements when I talked to her about things. She’d had her own pregnancy scares, woes, and triumphs. Of course, the doctor’s office turned me down since it was my first pregnancy on record.

I didn’t push.

Sometimes I wonder what if I had.








Birth Story

On September 1st, I realized that my breasts had been sore for several days.  I was feeling so odd I decided to take a pregnancy test. It was a test I had had in my bathroom cabinet for two years, so when it showed positive I was in shock and disbelief. I think I had resigned myself to never experiencing the joys of motherhood.

We went out to the drugstore right away for a new test. I took it immediately. Another POSITIVE! We decided to go ahead and call our parents. After 11 years of marriage, we figured the ones who loved us most didn’t have to wait 13 weeks to hear something. There’s no way I would have been able to keep it quiet anyway.

The next day was the Friday of Labor Day weekend. I called and made an appointment with my OB’s office. They agreed to see me on the 15th of September. On Sunday the 4th, I started having some spotting after using the restroom. I had never experienced this kind of fear in my life. Was this normal? Would I lose this baby I had already shared with the world I was pregnant with? Was I really pregnant, or was this my period rearing it’s ugly head?

I didn’t sleep at all that night and the holiday was a blur. The next night I endured more sleeplessness and I eventually got up at 3am and took my shower. Then I went into work early. At 9am, I decided to call the doctor’s office. They agreed it was worth looking into and asked me to go to St. Elizabeth’s right away for blood work to check my HCG and progesterone levels.

I went home exhausted and still worried to death. At 2pm, I finally received a call from my doctor’s nurse. My progesterone level was a low 9.7, but I was definitely pregnant. Could I come in for an ultrasound by 3:30pm, and they would check to make sure everything was ok?

I agreed, and frantically called my husband with the news. I picked him up from work, and at 3:30pm on September 6th we heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I cried.

It was real. We got our “baby’s first photos” and our appointment confirmation for the next week. Our estimated due date was April 27th. The baby’s size said I was 6 weeks, 5 days pregnant. I asked if my progesterone was going to be an issue or if there was anything to be done for it. I was told supplements wouldn’t be necessary.

That is the conversation I still play back in my head. Should I have pushed harder? Was the progesterone level the reason for my PROM (premature rupture of membranes)? In a pregnancy where I endured extreme fatigue, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes. I did everything asked of me. My blood pressure and blood sugar were under control. I just wish I knew what I could have done to give my son a little more baking time.

With frightening insight, I asked for my baby shower to be held in early February. I took my birthing class at 24 weeks. I figured with my medical issues I’d have to be on bed rest in that final month. I never dreamed I’d be spending it in the NICU. On February 19th, my husband turned out the light at 10:50pm. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I felt a pop. I knew what that meant. “Oh God,” I moaned and got out of bed and headed for the bathroom feeling a tell-tale gush the instant I stepped on the tile. “Oh God, Oh God. No, it’s too early.” I stared at the huge clear puddle under my feet as my husband popped up out of bed.

“That’s my water. My water broke. Oh no, no. That’s not good.” I said out load as my husband asked what to do.

I went into triage mode. “Hand me my phone, I’ll call my doctor’s office. I should lay down while I call.”

I left a message that my water broke and I was 30 weeks, 3 days gestation with the answering service. A nurse from my doctor’s office called back in about 5 minutes. In this time, I had thrown a sweatshirt over my nightgown and put on socks and shoes. I was still leaking amniotic fluid like mad. “Go to the hospital,” stated the woman on the other end of the line. “Already about to walk out the door,” I said shakily and hung up the phone.

Normally, I live 5 minutes from St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Crestview Hills. Earlier that day, my husband and his best friend had ripped all the carpet out of my house. My mother in law was gifting us with new carpet. We had at least 8 weeks before the baby would come. Plenty of time, right? So I was at her house in Cold Spring. All my husband had with him was his work clothes for the next day. Just that Friday, I had told him I got the reminder telling us to start packing our hospital bag. Oh, the irony.

I remember calling my mom and telling her I was fine and not to panic. I think I was just in shock. We took a wrong turn at St. E’s and had to turn around to find the ER. We got to the desk and I said, “I’m 30 weeks pregnant and my water broke. It’s running everywhere.”

The woman behind the desk nodded to some wheelchairs and told my husband to wheel me to emergency. It didn’t occur to me at the time how dangerous that was. Later and now it infuriates me to think what could have happened if his cord had been prolapsed or I’d been suffering from placenta issues.

Labor and Delivery at St. Elizabeth’s was a blur. Almost immediately, they gave me a steroid shot. The moments it took them to find his heartbeat on the monitor felt like hours. I hadn’t started feeling any contractions yet, but I could still feel the fluid gushing. I was just trying to hold onto my sanity. To not panic.

Someone came and said they would be taking me by ambulance to Good Samaritan in Cincinnati because St. E’s only has a level 2 NICU and we needed a level 3 for a baby of Drake’s gestational age. It suddenly became real. Oh God help me, I’m having this baby. It’s too soon.

On the ambulance ride, I just practiced my relaxation breaths from birth class. Keith wasn’t allowed to ride with me in the ambulance because the RN taking care of me from St. E’s had to go to. When we arrived at L&D at Good Sam, he was waiting at the desk. I said you made it and then they wheeled me back into a small triage room.

Within about 20 minutes of my arrival at Good Sam, I had the scare of my life. The admitting nurse rushed in the room with a look of serious concern on her face then rushed out and came back with more people. They told me the baby was distressed, and they put me on my side and on oxygen. The time until they said the horror was past seemed like hours. Keith still hadn’t been allowed in the room to see me.

After the danger passed, they finally brought Keith back and a short time later I was placed in a labor room. It was about 2am. Around 5am, I started having sharp pains. I was in denial and kept calling them gas pains. These gas pains were about 3 minutes apart, and every time I would have one. The thump, thump of the baby monitor would fade. At 6am, they finally checked me I was at 1cm, 40% effaced. By 8am, the contractions felt like they were every 30 secs. I was in misery and still be told they weren’t registering on the monitor. My husband’s aunt convinced them to check me again.

They did an ultrasound and Drake was still breech. I was now 7cm and 90% effaced. The doctor came in and told me they were going to take the baby out now, and I was being taken back for an emergency C-section. I started crying hysterically. This is what I wanted. I wanted to try to give birth. I practiced my breathing! As soon as we arrived in the OR, they started prepping me for the epidural. They had me sit on the edge of the bed and lean forward onto a nurse. When the anesthesiologist was half done, the grips of a contraction hit me. I knew I had to stay relaxed. So I did somehow. I don’t know where I found it.

Someone shouted, “Find the dad,” and everything started going numb. I was so exhausted from worry and stress and lack of sleep. I could feel the doctor rummaging around. That is the weirdest part of a c-section and something you never hear anyone mention. Then I heard a cry. He sounded like a lamb it was so faint. Not anything like the gusty newborn cries you expect to hear. But that had to be good right? I was like I heard him is he ok? But no one answered.

I was fighting to stay awake everything felt so weird. They had him back and to the left of my head and I couldn’t turn that way. Little did I know it would be 6 hours before I would finally see my son. In an incubator and hidden under wires and a CPAP mask. It would be 36 hours before I would touch him. And 4 days before I would finally hold his tiny 2lb, 14oz body. Actually, it was 2lbs, 9oz by then.

So that’s my birth story. Of course there’s more. There’s the struggle to make breast milk, and the heartrending pain of failing at that, too. The struggle to not have a nervous breakdown in the hospital lobby when you’re watching other mommies go home with their little babies cradled in their arms. Dealing with having to wait for rides to visit the NICU and then feeling like you have to have permission to look at your child let alone touch or care for him. Being told you’re lucky that you got to recover from your c-section without having to care for your baby. Or being asked how long you plan to be at the hospital because there is no one in the world who wants to sit there as long as you do. Or who understands that you’d sit there 24/7 if you could manage it.

And then it happens, 34 days after you started this journey you’re told you can take him home. You think you will have a moment’s peace without these daily drives to the hospital. But you still wake up to check his breathing. You write down his food, and cry if you accidentally sleep through a feeding time because he didn’t wake you.

You struggle with the guilt that it was your body that failed. You worry that they’ll contract RSV and end up back at the hospital. Another failure for Mom to protect and defend against the germy hordes that all want a piece of your tiny guy.

You wonder will I ever just get to enjoy anything? Or will I always feel this heaviness and fear and guilt over what should have been the happiest time of my life.

Drake’s 3rd Birthday

February 20th, 2015

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