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

Sarah S.’s Birth Story

When I was just seventeen years old I found out I was pregnant on August 8th 2012, later to find out I was having a baby girl! I couldn’t believe it. Although I am so young, I knew she’d be loved by so many. Her father had moved in November and I was finally feeling good after losing 20 pounds in my first trimester. The holidays were coming and I was just so happy and blessed.

The Friday before Christmas I started bleeding, and I was so scared so I called my parents and boyfriend and we all went to the hospital. They said it was just a little spotting and not to worry and I was just 24 weeks pregnant at the time. Well that weekend my tummy started tightening but there was no pain at all and some sort of liquid was leaking out of me, so Monday morning on Christmas Eve I called my doctor and she told me to go in and make sure it isn’t amniotic fluid, but it’s probably nothing. 
While waiting to find out if I was positive for leaking the fluid, my boyfriend and I were planning on what we were going to do the rest of the day. Until the nurse came back in, and from there everything we planned for had been taken away. She rushed me to antepartum and said I am not leaving this hospital until I have this baby, who I decided to name Gracie the moment I knew she was a girl. They first checked me and said I was fully dilated and I am going to have her at just 24 weeks! I was shaking and panicking and so scared. They said one cough and she will be out. They explained to me she may not make it, and made me sign all these forms..and I couldn’t help but cry. Then the doctor came in and said, she is only 5 cm dilated and we were all relieved because there was hope I could keep Gracie inside a little longer. They told me maybe a few days, but each day counts. 
Well, after three long weeks on bed rest and not being able to even sit up I spent all the holidays in a hospital staring at the walls. I couldn’t even enjoy half my pregnancy. I was so scared to sleep and every moment of each day I was scared I was going to have her. Each day was so lonely and long and I am just eighteen years old by now and I felt I had no control over anything. I wondered why me? I did the right thing, I am happy about my baby, and I was always reading about my pregnancy and what’s good and what’s bad. Why did this happen? 
Well on January 13th 2013, just thirteen weeks shy of my due date, I was 27 weeks pregnant. I woke up with blood all over my bed and called the nurse. I was fully dilated and ready to have the baby. I was terrified and so scared. I was planning for an all natural birth, and Gracie was in the right position two days ago in the ultra sound, but that morning she was transversal, so I had an emergency c-section. I was so scared to have a major surgery. I have never had surgery before. 

At 7:36 am Gracie Marie was born at 2 pounds 10 oz. I heard one tiny cry and then she and her father were out of the room. A few long hours later I was able to see her for just a few short minutes. She was so tiny and I put my hand on her, wishing I could just hold her. There were so many tubes and cords and beeps, it was just so scary. 

The first few days I was really scared to be there.. I am not sure why, I just didn’t want to do anything wrong, since I felt it was my fault she was in the situation. 

Two days later she was breathing on her own. Soon she was being fed my breast milk for her first two months which helped! There were a lot of ups and downs and nothing was ever certain. She was off oxygen a couple times and then put back on cause she was tired. Soon to figure she needed a surgery for her heart. We were so close to going home, and the surgery was a hard part of the NICU. I felt like we took 10 steps backwards because after the surgery she was incubated again, which she hadn’t been since her second day of life, and then she got an infection. 

After three months..84 days..in the NICU going back and forth, with so many ups and downs Gracie was able to come home. She was so strong and such a fighter through it all, and it brings tears to my eyes five months later because she is such a miracle. With all the skin to skin, the love, the support that Gracie had she had a reason to fight. She felt the love. 

Gracie is now five months old and about 15 pounds. She is laughing and smiling and healthy. She has physical therapy just because of her prematurity, but other than that she is perfect. This Is a lot to go through, let alone at such a young age..but it is so worth it! She is my amazing GRACE. I love her with everything. I don’t remember how small she was, and it’s still such a blur…but she is a miracle, and a fighter.

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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