Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Elizabeth B’s Amazing Birth Story: My Son is My Super Hero

Christian in the NICUOur miracle baby, Christian was born 13 weeks (almost 3.5 months) early weighing 2lbs 5oz and was 14.5 inches long. He spent over 2.5 months in the NICU; the NICU was an experience in itself. There is no clear answer as to why I went in labor early, there’s no answer why my baby had to suffer and have tubes and machines constantly going off. Countless nights I was terrified to call the hospital to check on him, afraid of a nightmare. Countless days and nights he would have numerous heart rate drops to no heart beat and we feared he would need the ventilator. It was an emotional roller coaster that I don’t wish on anyone. I never had nor will have the experience of holding my baby right away or taking him home with me. I wasn’t able to hold him for a month and a half nor touch him but 3 times in a 24-hour period. I left the hospital every night in tears because it was my fault he had to suffer because my body wouldn’t carry him. Then I endured the guilt of not wanting to go see him due to my fear of the NICU. So many milestones have been achieved in his short little 6 years of life and I thank God daily for what he brought my Christian through and the battle he fought to survive! We still have minor issues today, but, by the good Lord, we are thriving! The doctors told us they didn’t know where he would be today and we wouldn’t know until he started school. Christian has made honor roll with straight As and is in a higher learning class! I never educated myself on premature births until I walked those miles and the battle myself and have learned so much over the years!

What were the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth?

I went into work one morning feeling great. I discovered that I had started bleeding and called my midwife right away. She reassured me that everything was okay, but to come in and get checked out. I left work telling my coworkers I would be back soon, only to find myself returning to work 5 months later. I was admitted into the hospital, being placed on strict bed rest. This is where is all began….

What complications, diagnoses or surgeries did you or your child face?

I was hospitalized 5 weeks prior to delivering my son. I was not contracting but I was dilating and my cervix was effaced 75%. There was no clear answer as to what happened or why it happened. One Saturday morning upon waking, I was in a lot of pain, but I always have suffered from kidney stones so at the time we all thought I was experiencing a stone only because the contractions were not showing up on the report. I was given medication to stop the contractions and once I came off of the medication my water broke. I spiked a fever and my doctor was called in. She discovered that I was dilated 4 cm and needed to be induced at this time. My son was born weighing 2 lbs 5 oz., He needed assistance breathing so that he would not tire out. He had to be on a feeding tube with nothing by mouth. He experienced daily brady’s (bradycardia) and these occured numerous times through out the day and night so much that our biggest fear was placing him on the ventilator. Fortunately we did not have to face any surgeries.

Christian All Grown UpHow old is your child now and how is he doing?

Christian is 6 years old, and he is doing absolutely amazing. We do have a little issue with his eyes. He wears glasses and his one eye turns in. He was diagnosed with asthma but is now in remission.

How did your whole family cope with this experience? How are you all doing now?

At the time of my son’s birth I went into severe post partum depression. I was scared of going into the NICU alone, the fear of the machines and fear that something would happen to Christian while I was there. Now we are thriving and he is in Kindergarten making straight A honor roll and is in a higher learning class.

What did you learn about this experience that you’d like to pass on to others?

The NICU is an emotional roller coaster. You will have bad days and good days. I honestly believe in my heart one reason my son did so well was because I was at his bedside around the clock. It is okay to cry out. You will go through emotions of all kinds and that is normal. It’s okay to feel guilty as a mother. You are not alone!

{Professional Insight}: Loving Yourself

Courtesy of Jill Wilke

The month of February is full of roses, dinner dates, love letters, champagne, and sugary delights in heart shaped boxes… Not exactly the things that a mom in the NICU—sitting in a rocking chair, watching numbers on a monitor, praying her baby will … [Continue reading]

A Mother’s Voice

Seeing Ben for the first time.

Although, I've only been a mother for two short years, it did not take long for me to realize the power of a mother's voice. It was 30, excruciatingly long, hours after giving birth to Benjamin, via emergency c-section, that I was given permission to … [Continue reading]

Dental Issues of Prematurity

Before/After Restoration

We all picture the day our baby’s gummy smile is suddenly changed by their first teeth erupting. I mean, what’s cuter than a little baby looking up at you with their tiny new pearly whites grinning back at you? But what if there were issues that your … [Continue reading]

Understanding Your Preemie’s Signals

Haley demonstrating the use of Stop signs.
Compliments of Nicole Polk Photography

How can I know what my preemie needs or wants?  I just wish I could understand my preemie.  If you find yourself thinking these things, you are not alone.  You are also in luck.  There are signs and signals our preemies give us even when they are … [Continue reading]