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

Jenn’s Birth Story

Well, where do I start? My husband and I met when I was 16 and we fell in love almost instantly. Things moved fast and before we knew it, we were living together and talking about kids. We both wanted a couple. So, when I turned 19, we felt we were ready to start our family. After about 4 years, we started thinking there was a problem. I saw a doctor and was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I was told my chances of having children were very slim to none. We were devastated.

I sought out a new doctor who wanted us to try for a while longer without the help of drugs. So, we did just that. In May 2010, we were packing to move and I found a pregnancy test. So, being silly, I decided to use it. Much to our surprise it was positive! We were soooo thrilled. I went to see my doctor and we started the blood work and booked an ultrasound. At 6 weeks pregnant they couldn’t find the baby. They told me the bad news and sure enough by 7 weeks I was miscarrying. It was heartwrenching. I was 28 years old and still didn’t have the baby we had dreamt of all these years. My doctor however saw it as a good thing – I could, in fact, get pregnant. The challenge was keeping the baby there. So, in September 2010 we started fertility drugs.

In January 2011, we felt it was never going to happen again and that having a baby of our own just wasn’t a reachable dream. We started plans for adopting our nephew who was with the Children’s Aid Society. I continued on the fertility treatments but we had decided that when they were done, we were not going to try anymore. 10 years was too long to hold a dream.

In August 2011, we welcomed our new son into our house. He was 18 months and full of energy. I only had one month left of treatments so I figured I may as well take it. By the end of September, I was exhausted. Caring for a new child was a lot of work. Then, I didn’t get my period. I tested a couple of times and sure enough, it was positive!!!! I was so excited, but oh so nervous. My husband and I were so scared I would miscarry again. We told our family and close friends but waited until after the first ultrasound to make sure everything was ok before we spread the news. They booked me in for my first one at 5.5-weeks pregnant. I cried so hard when I saw my sweet little blob on the screen. I felt like God was finally giving me my dream.

Once I hit 8 weeks, I felt like I was on top of the world. I had my beautiful new son and another baby on the way. Life was perfect! After 12 weeks, I began to feel like I was actually going to have a baby. That’s the safe zone right? I continued to be monitored and everything was going great. Then my world came crashing down and I got the biggest blow imaginable. During a routine ultrasound, they realized my cervix was very short. I was told there was a huge chance I would miscarry and that complete bedrest would possibly keep the baby in a little longer. I was only 22 weeks. We had already planned a 3D ultrasound for the Saturday coming up, so we decided to still do it because it could be the last chance to see our baby alive. We found out he was a boy! He was beautiful! We named him that day in the car. He would be named Parker. We went home feeling sad and angry. Angry that we were losing our dream.

My husband works out of town as a transport driver so my aunt came to stay with me to help with my son while I laid around in bed. She came the Sunday evening and we settled into a nice routine very quickly. Monday evening, just before bed, I went to the washroom. I wasn’t feeling sick but had had some back pain for a few days. When I wiped, there was blood. A lot of it. I panicked and screamed for my aunt who also panicked. I was rushed by car to the emergency department in the town next to me. I called my husband’s cell phone but it was off as he was 9 hours away in the States.

I called my parents and my in-laws and told everyone what was happening and that I would keep them informed. I was taken right up to labour and delivery and was assessed. I was in labour. They explained to me, that I had bulging membranes and that I was 3cm dilated. I was only 23 weeks 2 days pregnant. I was terrified. They called around to hospitals hours away in hopes to find one that would help me. They just were not equipped to deal with babies that small and age. Mount Sinai in Toronto told them we could go there but that if I had the baby before 24 weeks, they couldn’t help him as he was still nonviable. I was airlifted by helicopter at 4:00am Monday February 27th. I was given the shots to help his lungs and pumped full of magnesium to help his brain.

My labour finally stopped and I was put in the high risk section of the hospital. My husband finally got the call and made his way to me. My mom also was away and did an emergency flight back from Texas. My dad and stepmom drove up while I was being admitted. I was so scared that I was going to lose my baby. My water had not broke and my body seemed to calm down so I rested. With my husband by my side and my mom on her way I felt good and safe.

I awoke early morning Wednesday to find my bed soaked. After going to the washroom we had determined that my water had broke. By 10:00am, contractions started. They were an hour apart so we felt we had time. My goal was to hold out a few more days till I hit 24 weeks but Parker had a different idea. By about 7:25pm that night I was being rushed back to labour and delivery with my mom and husband by my side. The doctor came in to check me and informed us that I was fully dilated and I needed to start pushing. My son was born very fast at 7:45pm. He weighed 630 grams.

My husband recalls them setting him down and stepping back to see if Parker would fight to live. He started to open his eyes so he was rushed away to begin working on him. I began to bleed very heavily and was so scared. The rest of the family was on their way from our hometown 2 hours away and I was scared they would see him alive. I got word that we was doing ok but that I could see him for a while. After what seemed like an eternity, we were allowed to peek in at him. He was beautiful and so tiny. I felt like I was looking at a tiny piece of heaven. He was ours… and he was fighting!

Three days later we received another huge blow. Our tiny son had suffered a grade 2 and 4 bleed in his brain. They told us that he would most likely die and if not, would have extensive brain damage. When I looked at him, I saw my son fighting to be with us. I couldn’t and wouldn’t pull his life support. My son was fighting so we would too.

The next day, one of his lungs collapsed. They had to put in a chest tube and told us that if anything else happened to him, he wouldn’t be strong enough to fight. 

On March 11, we were woken up with some more bad news. Our son had developed NEC and was being transported to The Hospital for Sick Kids and being prepped for surgery. Upon admittance there, they decided to insert a penrose drain in his side to relieve him. We were told he would require surgery but wasn’t stable enough to go into it. Parker then developed a bowel perforation and then a massive blood infection. We were told our son was dying. The medications were not doing their job and we were told to start making plans. They gave him a couple of days tops.

By day 5, he seemed be doing better. They couldn’t tell me why, but I felt he was going to make it. I’ve never prayed so hard in my life. Parker fought back… with everything in him. At 27 weeks gestation, he went into have a PDA ligation and got better from there. We were told his brain bleeds grew to a grade 3 and 4. They told us that our child would be a vegetable and never know his surroundings or who we were. I felt we needed to give him the chance to live seeing how he was fighting so hard to be with us.

Parker is now coming up to his first birthday. He had Stage 3 ROP, but after injections he is nearsighted and his eyes are good. He has no hearing whatsoever, and we are in the process of working that out. He has cerebral palsy and is fed by a GJ tube. He is only 14 pounds but is coming along so well. He smiles, laughs, and warms everyones hearts. He is my hero and the reason I breathe. I can’t imagine life without Parker. I don’t see his disabilities, only his abilities. One day he may walk, but if not, oh well. He is alive and thriving. He is happy and healthy and that’s all that matters. Anyone that meets him falls in love. He has brought people together and I’m proud to say he is my son! I struggle sometimes with the emotions of having such a tiny boy, but I would it all over again just to look into his gorgeous eyes.

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.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I read these NICU stories all the time because i’m a NICU mommy myself but your story is the first to bring me to tears. Your strength is so inspiring. I’ve had it rough when it comes to pregnancies too, but i’m only 23 years old and it’s been nothing as serious as your problems. You’re a wonderful, amazing person, and i’m glad that God blessed you with your angel.

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