Previously posted to a mom’s site and has been edited.
Hi, I’m Emily’s mom and this is her birth story. I never thought I’d have kids. I’ve been trying for a long time and nothing ever happened. By the time I give up and start to move on is when I did. Now I’m 30, married almost six years and a SAHM in Virginia. My daughter is a 26 week preemie and now a year old, nine months adjusted. She was born March 1, 2007 at 10:27pm at 26wks gestation. She weighed only 2lbs 2.3oz. She is my whole world.
It was a fairly pleasant pregnancy and wasn’t deemed high risk but it was my first. We had been trying for the last ten years to have a child, without success. Just the old fashioned trying. There is no money for IVF and things of that nature. I got pregnant out of the blue. Silly me, I thought morning sickness was just a really bad stomach bug; the rotovirse that was going around at the time. I happened to be working at an IVF lab when I found out. I love the lady’s there. They just know, you know? Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t something in the water after all. I remember that day clearly, Oct 13, 2007 and the utter shock when two pink lines showed on the test. My life has never been the same since. I quit smoking that day and I’ve never looked back. I took my vids, ate better and drank my milk; I’m lactose intolerant. I ate like a horse, an apple a day and didn’t gain much weight. That worried me throughout the pregnancy. Every doctor told me that it was alright. She was growing alright but it’s still very strange to me.
Work was not easy. Being in construction the work is hard. Eight hours a day on my feet. I got lucky and everyone let me take it easy. I did what I could and sometimes I wonder if I did push a little too hard to get my job done. I don’t like being a slacker. By the time I needed a break, I was put on maternity leave. I was just coming up on six months. I was only home for three weeks.
Then the ball dropped at 24 weeks and 6 days. Way too soon, my due date was June 11. It started with a trickle and a faint pain. I tried to wait it out, thinking it was Braxton Hicks. Then I had a discharge, a very worrisome discharge. No doubt about it, I had to see the doctor. My monthly appt was just a few days away and I didn’t think that this could wait any longer. I called into my OB-GYN, chatted with the nurse. Told to wait for a call back from Doc on Duty and was sent directly to the hospital to be checked out. So I went to the OB-GYN Triage.
The waters were infected and I was but on antibiotics and I was in labor and already dialateing. I spent two and a half days in the hospital on magnesium-sulfate, getting the steroid shots and was completely starved the whole time. Popsicles and ice does not a meal make. All I wanted was a Slim-Fast. I’m glad I decided to stop at IHOP and have dinner before going. It’s still little things that me me thankful. They thought I had stabilised out with the labor; got me off the mag drip and gave me a trial run with no major contractions. I was being prepared for a stay with bed rest. I must say that trying to use a bed pan by myself after mag drip and not moving for two and half days is fucking hard. By nightfall they decided that I could eat and when I finely got something to eat the ball finished rolling down hill. All I got to eat was soup, cream of chicken hospital soup. I could have swore it was the best soup ever. They really did starve me. Labor restarted suddenly and fast; she was in breach position but was taken via emergency c-section.
I was lucky to get the bikini cut instead of classical. When we had came in I was carrying her high and was warned that I might end up cut vertically. I really didn’t want that. It scared me. It’s traumatic, my experience was. And I’m not sure I want to open up about what I felt in those long moments. The next morning all the nurse had to say was if I wanted to see my daughter I had to get up out of bed and pee. Sure thing..I just about jumped up to do so but my body was a bit slower than that. Being in a wheelchair, holding onto the IV stand, entering into the NICU for the first time; it’s still clear. I only had eyes for her, the whole world didn’t exist except for her. I cried. I touched her hand, it was a big as my finger, palm and all. So beautiful and so fragile.
While recovering from surgery, I pumped, and visited my daughter just about every day. Some days I spent all day there. Other days, I didn’t but called in each shift to see how she was doing. I still remember each time the NICU call my heart just dropped to my toes. All they wanted was permission for transfusions, medications and to check up on me and pumping.
I tried milk enhancing herbs, and refused Rx medication for milk production (too many contradiction from my medical history) and still lost my milk. I never had it fully come in. It took two weeks for anything to show up. At the most I only got 20cc in a 24 hour span. That’s not enough to feed her. When I did quit, I didn’t even get a chance to get discomfort from engorgement. That really pissed me off, it was insult to injury. My own body not being able to feed her, it still hurts.
There were some really great nurses there. The older nurses I’m thankful for. They introduced her to a pacifier early, so she learned how to suck and drink from a bottle. They always seamed to know what to do. Early on Emy took a liking and disliking to various nurses. I trusted her instincts, for they were always right. I also took a strong dislike to one nurse. She was a woman who radiated negativity; in body language, in words and even actions. I would not trust my daughter to her. I sat with Emy when that bitch was on shift, all night, every night.
She spent 105 days in NICU. She overcame breathing issues; two months on vent-off and on hood and nasal cannula, anemia requiring five blood transfusions, pneumonia, strep blood infections-twice, staph infections, many many NEC scares which shut down her feedings, reactions to sedatives, survived laser surgery for ROP and maintaining her own temperature. She was pumped full of drugs, less than half of which I know. Breathing treatments, antibiotics, iron, sedatives, reglan, caffeine, erythromycin, lasicis, and a slue of other things; she was on. All in all, she ate and grew. The staff loved her, the doctors did good and she came home a few days after her due date weight 6 lbs 5 ozs, still having major reflux, anemia, apnea, bradycardia, tachycardia and over stimulation issues and one hell of a startle reflex.
Bring her home was terrifying. No longer were they nurses around to help. No longer were there machines to tell me what was going on, We were warned early and we did out best to heed them. We came home with an apnea monitor but that was barely any assurance at all. Even having the CPR course didn’t relieve the anxiety. The up side was I could do kangaroo care now. So I really became her bed for about a month. Co-sleeping at that point was more medically necessary than want as her monitors would go off all the time and she needed constant attention. The first week home was the hardest. She wasn’t on any medications and her reflux really started to kick in. I tried everything possible to help her and nothing was enough. It took medication to get it under control and even with that it was trial and error.
The months passed and we checked off milestones like any other baby. The first night when she slept through the night…which really is sleeping for five hours instead of two. The first time she rolled over, held her head up, on and on. For me the big milestone was when we didn’t need the monitor anymore. That night was just as terrifying as bringing her home. After that, when she didn’t need to take iron drops anymore. I know she’s a much a happier baby about that. Recently, I can add her doc’s view that we won’t be counting her as a preemie anymore. Personally I don’t buy that view but it does say we’ve reached some type of milestone there.
Feeding her has been easy. She’s been a hungry baby from the start. Took to a nipple just like she knew it was food. Didn’t have issues with the formula at all. But starting her on homemade baby food has been slow. She’s got issues with textures so with some things I’ve had to buy the store stuff. Nowadays, she wants table food and we’re starting to get into gagging. I wonder if she’s as stubborn as me. I hope her desire to eat what we eat gets her over this bump in her road.
She’s now a year old, 22 lbs and doing relatively well. Still on reflux meds and constant watching with her iron levels. We’ve escaped this winter without RSV but caught the croup instead and only one ear infection. All in all she’s a happy baby. Just starting to talk too.