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

Sabrina’s Birth Story

Our birth story started with a journey we never thought of and continued the same way til the end. After 3.5 years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive on our own, we finally got pregnant through fertility treatments. My husband and I were elated to find out that the treatments worked, and in, what we thought would be 40 long weeks, we would be parents.

My pregnancy was very bland. I had no problems, no crazy cravings, and no reason to think anything was going to go wrong. Just after Thanksgiving 2008, we found out we were having a baby boy, and he was going to be big. (Estimated full term birth weight at 20 weeks was 9.5-10.5 pounds!) I went to my check up at 25 weeks and everything was perfect. I hadn’t gained too much extra weight and I was feeling great. I had to make my next check up for 4 weeks, but my doctor wasn’t going to be in that week and I still needed to meet one more partner in the group so I took the appointment for 3 weeks out instead of 5 weeks out. (Glad I did that).

I went to my appointment on Tuesday January 20, 2009, at 28 weeks 4 days. I had gained quite a bit of weight but I chalked it up to holiday eating. Then the doctor noticed my blood pressure (BP) was up. She was concerned so when the urine came back positive for protein she was convinced. I was diagnosed with “what seems to be” preeclampsia. I was sent to the hospital for observation. In the 30 minutes it took to get from the doctor’s office to the hospital and hooked up, my BP had continued to rise and there was more protein in my urine. It was confirmed I had severe preeclampsia. I was placed on hospital bed rest, put on magnesium sulfate, given a steroid shot for my son’s lungs and transferred to the sister hospital with an outstanding NICU.

Tuesday night my mom stayed with me and Wednesday night I sent everyone home. The doctors told me they would do nothing until Friday at the earliest but were hopeful to make it even farther, to 32 weeks. Wednesday night my husband went to work like I made him and I tried to sleep. Several times I was woken up by nurses asking me to roll to the other side because my baby was not registering his heart rate. I don’t remember most of my stay, but I clearly remember waking up Thursday morning surrounded by doctors, nurses, an anesthesiologist, and someone there to have me sign something (don’t remember what it was). I was told to call my husband because that was going to be the day my son would be born. I called my husband and sobbed something like “Please get here quickly, they’re gonna take him now.” My husband just got off an overnight 12-hour shift but was going to get there. The rest is sort of a blur until my husband got there.

At 28 weeks and 6 days, my son was delivered via emergency c-section because of my preeclampsia and his continual heart rate dips.

Happy Birthday!

1 year old

Spencer was born weighing 2lbs 3.3oz and only 15 1/3″ tall. He had bilateral grade 3 severe IVH and we had to start and stop feedings of 1cc 3 times. At his last head ultrasound, his IVH that had just kept getting worse, had dissolved on its own. Spencer’s NICU called him the miracle baby. After 77 days, Spencer came home to us with no assistance. He had feeding issues, apnea, bradycardia, stomach ultrasounds after worries of NEC, caffeine treatments and 4 blood transfusions.

This year, Spencer celebrated his 4th birthday and his first as a big brother to a full-term baby sister. He is now above average for weight and height. His vocabulary is that of a 6-year-old and his physical ability is at a 5-year-old level.

Sabrina & Spencer, Summer 2012

I never knew if we’d see his 1st birthday at some points, but I always knew he was my hero.

Every night I would read to Spencer. My favorite book to read him is called “Never Too Little to Love.” Every night I left the NICU, I’d tell Spencer, “I’ll see you in the morning. Call Mama if you need me. I love you!” The nurses thought I was crazy but even now I tell him the same if I leave him anywhere.

Happy endings are possible and miracles happen.

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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