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

Lisa’s Birth Story

My story begins in the early part of October 2009, as I prepared to leave on a business trip to Phoenix, Arizona that ended up being a 3 month stay. This is Part 3 of the story of my pregnancy with my daughter. It was too long for just one post. If you are interested in seeing how it all began, you can read them here: Part 1 and Part 2

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As we were making the approach to Phoenix’s airport, I suddenly felt sick. And I mean SICK. Not puking sick but oh I felt horrible. I can’t really explain how I felt, really, but it was like I was going to die. Thinking back now, I wonder if I had some sudden rush of hormones, or a blood sugar attack or something. I chalked it up to being exhausted from the days travel and the trek through the airport at the layover. We deplaned and I headed to get my checked baggage and decided to hit the bathroom before waiting for my luggage. TMI ALERT….if you don’t want to know this…skip to the next paragraph lol. While using the restroom, I felt something “slide” out and when I looked…there was this big, cylindrical mucus-y blob in the toilet. And I went, that can’t be good.

Knowing beyond a doubt that at 26 weeks and 3 days pregnant I had just lost my plug, I called my doctor. Why? Who in the world knows. Maybe to find out if this really was a big deal? I mean, I had heard that people lose it early all the time. As I’m sitting there waiting for my luggage and chewing the heck out of my cheeks, I wait on hold for what seemed like forever before getting to a nurse who said she’d check and call me back. When she finally called back I was already on the bus to the rental car facility, and was told to head to the hospital. But now I had to wait for my car. A friend in town told me to go to Banner Good Samaritan that was right by the airport.

An hour later and a few wrong turns, I finally made it to the hospital. The doctor doing the initial history interview even said she felt certain she would be releasing me in several hours, that people lose them all the time. I’ll be honest. So much here is stocked back into the realm of my subconscious and who knows if I’ll ever remember it. But I don’t think I was hooked up to any sort of monitors yet. I was just in the gown and she came in to check the cervix and I watched her face as she did it. Her expression went to one of some sort of shock and then confusion as she asked “Do you feel that?”

“Feel what?”

Then she turned to the nurse and said “1 cm, contracting to 2.”

Uhhhh, what? I had asked previously if I should call my husband and she said not yet. This time when I asked, she said yes.

I barely had time to call him. I think he must have called my mom. I don’t know. People were flying around me, shoving IV’s in my arm, shoving steroids into the muscles in my rear, hooking me up to machines and craming an ultrasound machine onto my belly. The doctor does a quick look and says to me, “you know it’s a boy, right?” “Uh, no.” Then she’s quiet again. My mom calls but I can’t talk so I hand the phone to the doctor as they are wheeling me out to the l&d ward (up until then I had just been in the “triage” area.) I suddenly feel like I’m going to puke. I mean, I know I’m going to puke. I barely had time to get the words out and a nurse get there with a bucket when I start puking my guts out. Helllllo magnesium.

I still remember the face, but don’t remember the name, of the perinatologist who was next to my bed as I puked my guts out with my naked bum out for all to see (I had been placed on my left side in an effort to stop the contractions.) He patted my arm and said “You’ll be ok. It will all be ok.” Such simple words but I could tell in his tone that this was not just a job to him. He cared. He cared about me and my baby. He truly did. I wish I could remember who he was.

Oh there is so much to tell at this point. They finally got the contractions stopped and the forward momentum stopped for the moment. My husband arrived the next morning, my parents the next afternoon. We had a few relatively “easy” days. I got the 2nd round of steroids and they went to stop the magnesium.

There were many “scares” to come. 26 weeks, 6 days, I had an amniocentesis because I started contracting once the magnesium wore off. They wanted to make sure I didn’t have an infection before starting the mag again. I didn’t, so hello mag again. 27 weeks 2 days, I was stable enough and off of mag long enough they moved me to ante-partum for the remainder of my stay. We kept trying to get a repeat ultrasound to confirm the “boy” we heard in that frantic moment in triage. Every time, Shrimp had the umbilical cord in between the legs or refused to show the “goods.” Since we had not known before this the sex of the baby, we were kind of wanting to know. Finally at 27 weeks and 5 days I think, during a non-stress test they performed we found out. Girl. We also found out I was diabetic.

28 weeks and 6 days, I apparently became unstable enough that I was moved back to Labor and delivery. This was news to me. I had just had my regular evening monitoring session and I didn’t feel all that many contractions. Nothing more than what had been “normal” for me. At this point I was already dialated to about a 5. I didn’t see any reason for a move, but at 10 pm the doctor on the floor came in to tell me I was being moved. They initially wanted to move me across the hall to a tiny room but I threw a fit as I had already been moved 4 times by then and as I didn’t see the reason for his move, I didn’t feel it was necessary. Just being told I was “de-stabilizing” with out proof of it I wasn’t going to cooperate. They decided to move me down to L&D and just leave me there.

I guess it was good that they did. 29 weeks and 1 day, into my 2nd day of being back on the mag and sometime that afternoon (2? 3? Not sure when exactly) I called my husband to let him know it was just a normal day, everything was fine. I started feeling pain, and I mean a lot of pain. I thought I had to poop so asked for some “help.” While using the restroom, again I felt something down “there” I shouldn’t, so as I came back in I told the nurse. She hooked me back up and onto the monitors and called the doctors in.

At this point I was in so much pain I kept forgetting to breathe. Turns out, if I remember correctly, the bands weren’t placed right and weren’t picking up the contractions I was having every two minutes. Lasting a minute. Wouldn’t have mattered if they did, there was no stopping this. Doctor came in and checked me and I was 7 cm and her foot was in the birth canal as my sack was bulging so much and I was so far dialated. It became, at that moment, safer for her to be out, than in. At around 4pm, I was told I would be having a baby that day.

30 minutes later I began the prep for an emergency c-section. About an hour later, she was here.

I never heard her cry. She didn’t make a peep. I remember just looking up at the lights and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. My mom was in there with me, since obviously my husband couldn’t get on a plane and make the 4 hour plane ride to be there in time. There was a “calm” in the room so I knew she was ok. And mom told me she could see “pink.” Again another sign everything was ok. After awhile she was given permission to take pictures of her and show them to me. She did but I couldn’t really comprehend. Even as she was wheeled past me on the way to the NICU and I looked at her in that isolette, I couldn’t comprehend.

My beautiful baby girl. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. But it was, and I can’t change that. I hope that you will know and understand just how amazing your story is, and just how amazing you are. You’ve done so much in your short life already. You are different and that is OK. This is nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t have the normal “beauty” pictures of your first days on this earth, but your story far surpasses that.

For those of you who may be reading this for the first time and are wondering – she’s fine. She’s 3 years and in all the throes of that age. She’s healthy, on track, extremely bright. She spent 6 weeks in the NICU and has never looked back. Not once. Me? I can’t help but look back, but it doesn’t always hurt as much as it once did. But with you in my life, how can it? It may not have happened the way I wanted it to, but I have you in the end. What more can I need? So I can only spend the rest of my days thankful for that.

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. I love the end of your story. You accept that your preemie is different and that even though she didn’t get all of the “pretty pictures” taken of her, her story is even better than that. I feel like all too often NICU mom’s are all depressed about not getting the “normal” birth day things. I love everything about my 26 weeker, and I know how hard he fought to be in this world that I’ve never once been sad about not getting the normal.

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