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

Dawn Z.’s Birth Story

My name is Dawn, and my daughter was born at 28 weeks gestation.

Our story started on August 30, 2012. I went for my routine 20 week check-up and ultrasound. I remember being excited because we were having it confirmed it was a girl. (Had a 14 week anatomy scan and from what they could see it was a girl). I brought my son and my grandmother with me. Things were going fine at first, then I noticed a change in the ultrasound tech’s face. She started asking me all kinds of questions. Did I have surgery on my cervix? Have I been having contractions or had I had any cramping? I answered no, no and no. Then she asked my grandmother and son to leave the room. She wanted to do an internal exam. While she doing the exam I could tell something was wrong with all the clicking on the machine. I asked her what was going on and she informed me I had cervix funneling. My response was, “What the hell is that?” She assured me the baby was fine, but my cervix was opening on the inside. I had 1.5cm of viable cervix left. After I finished with her I saw the doctor who confirmed everything I was told. He told me I needed bed rest for a week, pending the results of the fetal fibronectin test. Gave me a prescription for progesterone and set it up for me to get progesterone shots. The test came back positive and was put on strict bed rest only allowed up for doctors’ visits and ultrasounds.

The next 7.5 weeks were hard adjusting to my new life on bed rest. My husband took over all aspects of the housework and taking care of our son. I only left my house only for doctors’ appointments and ultrasounds. I received weekly progesterone shots and was lucky to receive 2 steroid shots in the process. While all this was going on my husband had started a new job. 

Then, on Tuesday October 23 our whole world changed. I woke up at 4:00am having to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t feeling too well and went back to lie down. At 4:30am, I felt my first contraction then 3 minutes later another, then 3 minutes later another. My husband woke up at 5:00am and I told him what was going on. I called the doctor, who then told me to head right over to the emergency room. 
We arrived at the hospital and I was given 3 shots, 2 pills and then a magnesium drip to stop the contractions. Nothing stopped them. They told me that I was going to have to be transferred to another hospital about 45 minutes away. 
An ambulance came and took me to the next hospital. They checked me and confirmed that my membranes ruptured and they were not going to stop the baby from coming. So many things were going through my head. I couldn’t really grasp what was going on. Was this really happening now? 
They moved me over to L&D, and as the hours passed, I was put on 4 antibiotics, insulin and more magnesium. (If you’ve ever had magnesium you know that it feels like – your whole body is on fire.) With the contractions every 3-4 minutes the nurses asked if I wanted an epidural. I told them I did not want any more drugs in my body. Finally at 10:30pm that night the contractions stopped. 
 At 6:30am the next morning they moved me over to the long-term mom unit. My husband left and went to bring our son up. I went off all meds, no more catheter (wahoo!). I took a nice warm shower and had some food. They took me for more tests early in the morning. Then, at 10:30am the contractions started again. Again they were every 3-4 minutes apart. My husband and son left and my sister-in-law came up with my best friend. Things seemed to progress – I was now 2-3cm dilated. Back over to L&D I went. Hooked back up to all the meds and magnesium again. I labored throughout the morning with my sister-in-law there. At 6:00am I was now 6-7cm dilated, doctors in and out of the room, the NICU team on-call, and nurses all over the place. (Throughout this whole time I just couldn’t stop crying, as I’m sure anyone in this situation can relate. ) 
Now it’s 8:30am, the doctors checked and I was now 10cm dilated and ready to go. I remember my sister-in-law calling my husband and telling him to get there it was going to be soon. Everything was happening so quick. Doctors in and out, nurses in and out, the NICU team came, and next thing I know is they are telling me to push. I pushed 6 times and out she came crying (the best sound ever!) at 10:21am on 10-25-12… my princess was born. I delivered her and didn’t have an epidural. Man, did it hurt but it was over. 
The doctors cut the cord and found she had a true knot in her cord. The NICU team took her and I sent my husband with them. The doctors tried to get the placenta out but while tugging on the cord it detached from the placenta. Now they had to do a manual retrieval. I was wishing I had the epidural for that. They managed to get the placenta out but a piece detached and I now had to go to the operating room for a D&C. I remember telling the doctors, “I do not want to go to sleep. I haven’t slept in 2 days and I don’t want to die”.
The D&C was over and I was being wheeled back to the recovery room. I remember wanting to know what was going on with my baby. How was she? What does she look like? Two hours later they took me in my recovery room bed and wheeled me to the NICU to see my baby. She was so tiny and there were so many tubes. I feared for her and the long road ahead of her.
She surprised me with her strength – she was in the NICU for 6 weeks. She just kept on getting stronger and stronger. She came home at 34 weeks and only weighed 4lbs 7oz.
Every day I am amazed at how lucky we are. How our NICU stay could’ve been so different. I thank God everyday for her. She is my miracle baby. She is now almost 6 months / 3 months adjusted. She weighs 13lbs and is now 25″ long.

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.

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