I never thought my first pregnancy would be like this, I never thought prematurity was an option in my world. That it was something that never would happen to me, it happened to other people, as cold as that sounds its how most people are with bad things, that we are never going to experience the bad things in life only good because we are good people. I never had a complicated pregnancy, I am a bigger girl so I started eating better and walking more. I lost weight during my pregnancy which my doctors monitored as healthy because of my starting weight, at month 4 my family doctor referred me to my OBG-YN and he was so awesome, so nice and made me feel so comfortable during the whole thing. He did my first pelvic and told me that my cervix looked funny. I remember those words because I made the joke that it matched me perfectly, then I asked what that meant. He told me not to worry and to just abstain from sex until after the baby was born. In the mean time I had 2 ultra sounds and no one saw anything wrong. My baby was growing perfectly and they saw nothing wrong, he was active and happy.
At 5 and half months I got up at 1 am to go pee and there was a bit of blood, call me paranoid but I woke my husband up and we went to the hospital to get it checked out. We went from emergency to labour and delivery observation, we sat there for 15 hours. They had me on a monitor and my baby was fine and active and happy as they could tell. Then when I got my ultrasound they told me there was no fluid. My water had broke but I was not in active labour. They gave me steroid shots and antibiotics and I was put on hospital bed rest for as long as they could keep baby in my belly.
That lasted 7 days, my son was born at 9:51pm June 20th, 2014 at 24 weeks and 2 days. He weighed 1 lbs 12 oz, he was 11 inches long. He cried the second me was born and breathed on his own for the first 4 days. He was on CPAP for 4 days, intubated for 66 days, back on CPAP for 21 days, on high flow for High flow Oxygen for another 21 days then on Low flow oxygen for 8 days then he got to come home after 120 days in the NICU. We got to know all the people there and made friends and went through good things and bad things. I can tell you all the ventilators that they use all the test the run daily on preemie babies and what they are looking for with each one. I can tell you what it feels like to watch your child cry without making a sound and all you can do is watch and try and figure out what you can do. Because as a parent you are programmed to fix their pain. You are programmed to scoop them up and do everything you can to make them not hurt any more.
As a preemie parent you find ways to help your child in non conventional ways to parent, and it is different with every parent. Some mothers pump and come for a cuddle and then go home. That’s ok, the NICU is a scary place and you know that your little one is in good hands and they are involved in their own way. That is how my husband handled the NICU minus the pumping. There are parents that are there every day for their child but don’t want to know about the procedures, they are only there for their child and that again is ok because its how your are coping. Then there are parents like me, who are there every single day, know what machines he was on, every medications he was on, every procedure he had done and how long he was on each medication.
When we were told that he passed all his requirements to go home and we could take him home, we were ecstatic. He was Finally coming home!! He was coming home on oxygen and they pictured him on it for 6 months and we had booked an RT, repertory therapist, to come to our house and set up equipment and we also had booked one to come once a week for assessments to see if we could turn down the amount of oxygen he was needing, And his RT saved his life. after only being home for less than 24 hours he went limp pale and stopped breathing. She calmly told me to call 911 and she started trying to stimulate him and she started CPR on him. She got him to cough and start crying and he pinked right up. I was crying and trying to not panic while on the phone with 911, I did everything 911 told me to do except CPR because his RT was doing that. The fire department and the ambulance arrived, he was awake and scared by that point. They handed him to me and I calmed him down, I carried him down to ambulance and they hooked him up to their monitors and he was stating awesome.
It was 24 hours from the time we walked out of the NICU with our baby, till we walked back into the same NICU with him. There was some rule that said if there was an issue within 72 hours of discharge he is to go back to the NICU he was discharged from. They hooked him up to every machine and they did a full work up on him and there was nothing wrong. They did a chest X-ray to see if there was an issue there and there was nothing. They could not find a reason for what happened, now I am scared to bring him home. I am scared that this could happen in the middle of the night and I wont get to see it. That I wont be able help him and make him cry and breath. They told me that it was because he probably aspirated some food or vomit in his lungs and that I shouldn’t worry.
He will be in the NICU for another 24 hours and let us know if they want him to stay or if we can take him home. I am not writing this to scare anyone. Because being a parent is scary but being a preemie parent is scarier. We know what almost feels like when you in the hospital and when we get home we shouldn’t have to feel almost. But take the infant CPR class if you can, and just watch your little one closely. He is alive because we watched closely and there I can rest easy because even if this happened I know I as a parent did everything I know how to do. Yes I am scared to bring him home, but who isn’t scared to bring a baby home for the first time, in our case a second time. But we will power through and I know he will continue to thrive and grow.
As a preemie parent you grow and learn to handle the fear and channel it into something useful. I always found a reason to smile while in the NICU with him and I will keep finding a reason to smile through all of this because preemies in a happy home will grow up happy. He is a mellow happy baby and I would like the think that’s why, He only fusses when he is hungry and dirty, other than that he is all wonder and all about the cuddles with my husband and I. He loves his bouncy chair and watching our cats around the living house. You find ways to smile in the scary parts. Smile.