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

Aimee’s Birth Story

This story is lengthy… maybe even a little TMI.  But for some people, I know it brings great comfort reading birth stories, finding commonalities, especially when the experience is less than dreamy – so that is why I’ll share…

Connor’s 1st Picture!

For over 2.5 years, Brian and I struggled with infertility.  Since that time, I think I’ve blocked a lot of the pain I experienced… so much disappointment, angst, and sadness… every.single.month.  I probably didn’t really begin to process it until I began recovering from our NICU experience.  Infertility, and our subsequent NICU stay, were both such trying times!

Finally, in June 2008, with some medical and divine intervention we were blessed and surprised with our first pregnancy! 

Everything was going exceptionally well, nothing unusual – my pregnancy, for the first 25 weeks, had been textbook.  No complications whatsoever, mild morning sickness and discomfort, I was even under the expected weight gain to that point.  So naturally, my head was in the clouds – imagining what our son’s “birth”day would be like… 

For reasons we will never understand, I began experiencing minor complications in early December 2008.  It was a Saturday, and I had some spotting… Google told me that if this happened in the 3rd trimester, I needed to go see my OB immediately.  So, we headed to the hospital, as the doctors’ office wasn’t open on the weekend.

I was checked and tested, poked and prodded – everything was fine, I was completely healthy… but I was a wee bit dilated already.  So, they hooked me up to steroids for the baby and some monitoring… we were given the impression that I’d be home in 24-36 hours.

What a miserable hospital stay that was!  (Especially after having such an active pregnancy thus far.)  They kept me up in Labor & Delivery the entire week, and honestly, the nurses didn’t know what to do with me – they weren’t used to having such a long-term patient.  According to the monitors, I was experiencing contractions (though I couldn’t feel them), so they gave me magnesium… a couple of times.  I hope I never have to do that again!  I was burning up, I was delirious… and the catheter gave me a UTI – an infection that ultimately resulted in Connor’s early arrival.

Doctors finally released me from the hospital on Saturday, December 13th, after an 8-day stay. We were given plenty of instructions… strict rules for bedrest (stairs once per day, bathroom and shower privileges, etc.), some new meds to keep the contractions at bay, instructions for a potential diagnosis of gestational diabetes, along with when to return to the hospital. Things were going really well, and aside from being weak after lying in bed for 8 days, I was feeling pretty good.

Shortly after dinner on Tuesday evening, I started noticing some back pain (thank goodness my discharge nurse had taken the time to describe back labor to me!), in addition to a few regular contractions. Sadly, it was enough to force us to make a return trip to the hospital… one of the most depressing moments of my entire life.

We arrived at Labor & Delivery, and the docs and nurses began checking me out right away. Sure enough, the back pain was back labor, and I was definitely having contractions. Now dilated to 4-5 cm, the doctor ordered an ultrasound where she noticed that a portion of the amniotic sac was pushing through my cervix, and above that was one of the baby’s feet. She contacted the high-risk specialist, and they decided that I was to have a C-section that evening, while they could keep everything controlled. As she broke this news to us, sure enough my water broke then, too. Now, it became an emergency C-section, and within 20 minutes I was all prepped for surgery. At not quite 27 weeks pregnant, we were terrified of the outlook for the baby.

Luckily, I had already received the steroids to help his lungs develop the week prior… so that offered some comfort.  We said some very heartfelt prayers.  My mom had flown in from Phoenix while I was in the hospital the week prior – so, having her there with us, on this scariest of nights was also a special treat.

I was conscious for the C-section, and my husband was able to be in the OR with me.  I just tried to stay focused on his voice, his face, and allowed him to update me as things progressed.  I don’t remember a whole lot about the surgery… no pain, but the pressure and tugging on my body were unreal.

Connor Alan Sprik
Born December 16, 2008 at 9:43pm
26 weeks, 6 days gestation
2 pounds, 6 ounces and 13.75 inches long

Miraculously, Connor emerged crying and breathing all on his own! He scored a 9 on both his 1-minute and 5-minute Apgar tests.  Faster than we could blink, the NICU team prepped him and whisked him downstairs.  I didn’t see him in the delivery room, but they rolled me through the NICU very quickly on the way to my recovery room, where I would spend the next week.

After the delivery, I wasn’t well.  The UTI had morphed into a blood infection, which upset things enough to force his early delivery.  For several days after his birth, I would experience raging, delirium-inducing fevers while the doctors tried to figure out a combination of antibiotics to cure the infection.  One particularly painful morning I had 2 nurses, an anesthesiologist tech and an anesthesiologist, trying to find a new vein for an IV line for over 90 minutes… with no luck. So, I ended up with a PICC line.

I was still so weak from being on bed rest, and one of the first things they try to make you do after a C-section is to get you out of bed… but I had zero energy.  My legs were total jello.  And then the gas pains… OMG the GAS PAINS!!  🙁  I had to finally be sedated because they got so bad.    

The absolute worst part about my recovery, much worse than the fevers and the gas pains, was the fact that I wasn’t allowed to see my baby for 4 days.  They were concerned that the infection would be harmful to Connor and the other babies in the NICU, and so until they knew what it was, they wouldn’t let me see him.  Between the hormones, the feverish delirium, and the pain from recovering from surgery, I was going out of my mind.  

My husband spent most of his time with Connor in the NICU, and would bring me frequent updates.  The nurses printed out photos for me, and the neonatologists would consult with me on every decision.  They all tried their hardest to keep me a part of the loop… but it just wasn’t the same as actually being there, in the NICU, with Connor.  I was his mother – I needed to be with him.

Finally, on his 4th day of life, I was granted permission by the hospital’s infectious disease specialist to go see my son!

I can’t quite put into words what it was like to finally see him… amazing JOY with a heart so full I thought it would explode out of my chest.

The next day, when he was 5 days old, I was able to hold Connor for the very first time.

Connor’s NICU story can be found here.

DISCLAIMER – I have friends who struggled with infertility longer than we did, and some who have never been able to get pregnant.  I know my pregnancy, while difficult for me, is not the worst or most heart-wrenching pregnancy experience in the world.  I know babies who had longer and more difficult NICU stays, or sadly never made it home.  
To all of you, we offer our support, prayers, and love.

Our story is not unique, but it is special to our family… 

and, it’s part of what defines us.

Aimee Sprik About Aimee Sprik

Aimee Sprik (IL) is mother to Connor, born unexpectedly early at 26 weeks, in December 2008, due to an infection. Connor, with his parents, survived a complicated 120-day NICU stay, which changed their lives forever. Since bringing her son finally home, she's felt passionately about volunteering her time and resources to supporting fellow NICU parents, both at the hospital where Connor was born, and by co-founding Life after NICU, an online parent support forum now moderated by Hand to Hold. You can follow Aimee on her personal blog, Sprik Space, or send her an email.


  1. We as well struggled w infertility for about 3 or so years and ended losing our first baby at 21 weeks after having gone though IVF… Then after few more IVF cycles we got pregnant w twin boys and lost one due to chromosome issues and early labor maybe due to an infection! At 23 weeks and 2 days I ended up delivering two little boys and twin B passed away within few minutes!!! 5 months abs several surgeries later we went home!! I know you get how scary all of it is!!! Hope your boy is doing well!!!

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