My main goal in applying to be a HB blogger was to bring a special-needs parenting voice to site, so I’ll jump right into D’s birth story. Tl;dr version: being hospitalized for premature labor sucks, especially when at the end of it your baby is sick.
After having a very uneventful pregnancy, my water broke at 30 weeks. With my first son, my water broke in bed on a lazy Sunday morning with a pop. I ran to the bathtub and it all gushed out. I woke up my husband, took a shower, packed and got ready to go to the hospital. With D, I awoke at midnight soaked. My husband was still at work (he typically pulls ridiculous hours), so I called him, and he thought I was joking at first. What a terrible joke! I sat on the couch soaking up towel after towel waiting for my husband and mother in law (to stay in the house with sleeping K) to show up so my husband and I could go to triage.
This ride to the hospital could not have been more different than the one two years prior – no excitement; just fear and uncontrollable shaking. One lucky break was that my regular OB was on rotation that night, so at least a familiar face was there to check me out and explain the next steps. Another lucky break was that I wasn’t having any contractions. They administered one of the two steroid shots (given to help develop preemie’s lungs), and started me on a 48 hour magnesium sulfate IV treatment.
After getting settled into the labor and delivery room, I sent my husband home so he could get some sleep and relieve my MIL. In the morning I started texting friends to explain what had happened, and calling in to make arrangements to begin my maternity leave. Many of my friends and family wanted to come to visit, but I didn’t want to talk to anyone and was still having trouble with crying constantly. One of the nurses called me out on it and gave me a pep talk, which actually just made me feel guilty for having (legitimate) fears and trepidation about the new course of the pregnancy. In addition to that whirlwind, being “on the mag” as everyone called it was awful! I couldn’t eat anything except for clear liquids (juice, jello, and broth were my options), was stuck in bed with a catheter, and the meds made me feel terrible. I don’t mean to make light of the treatment as I am very grateful I was able to stay pregnant long enough to get the 48 hours of mag and both steroid shots. Many moms who go into premature labor aren’t so lucky.
Those rough first hours then turned into very (blessedly) uneventful weeks while I remained in the hospital’s High Risk Perinatal Ward. The initial plan was for me to make it to 34 weeks and be induced, but all the doctors told me that it was more likely that I would just go into labor one day – which is why I wasn’t allowed to go home. I got regular ultrasounds to check on baby and my amniotic fluid level. I drank a TON of water which helped to keep it up, and tried to get up as little as possible. They also initially monitored baby’s heart rate constantly (which added to the misery of the mag treatment; whenever you tried to sleep baby would move and then a nurse would wake you to re-position the monitoring belt), but over time that slowed to three times a day. My husband and K came to visit me often, and eventually I did let some friends and coworkers come when I felt more composed and in control of my emotions. K was almost 2 at this time, and was young enough to be extremely flexible and unfazed by the whole ordeal! I think he just thought that I now lived at the hospital and he lived at home with Daddy and Grandma. I am eternally grateful for his naivete during this time in our life!
When I was 32w1d, I had some contractions in the afternoon which went away after getting IV fluids. I had called my husband to come, but when everything calmed down he headed home. Around 10pm I felt very constipated and tried to poop, and that’s when I found the umbilical cord hanging out of me! Having had my water break first for both boys, I knew that anything (cord, hands, feet, etc.) coming out of you is a bad, bad sign. I also never saw K’s umbilical cord, and was shocked by the blue color and worried that it meant something was terribly wrong.
I immediately called my nurse (my sister later asked if I pulled the red distress line in the bathroom but it never occurred to me!) and then a whole army showed up in my room, with one nurse (or doctor? I’m not sure…) climbing on the bed with me to hold the cord in as we wheeled down the hall for an emergency C section. They briefly tried to find a heart rate but couldn’t – I think due to how strung up everyone was. The person who was holding the cord in told me the baby was kicking her, so I actually felt pretty peaceful for a moment about how he was doing! I managed to call my husband and told him to come immediately (he had to call my MIL to stay with K before he could leave), and asked the nurses to send him the right way when he arrived. We rushed into the surgery room and they were pulling my clothes off, swabbing me with iodine, putting something through my IV, and then I got the mask. I was sobbing and shaking since I was so scared. They kept telling me to calm down and be still, and finally I just took deep breaths and told myself that the best I could do for my baby was follow their instructions and calm down. One nurse held my hand, and then they put me to sleep.
When it was all over and I woke up, I asked about D, and was told that they were working to stabilize him. I was so out of it that although this news was upsetting to me, I was not overly alarmed (“stabilize” seemed like an ok description). I was in excruciating pain since I was under general anesthesia and not an epidural, and did not receive morphine until after what felt like an eternity. I also couldn’t see since I didn’t know where the nurses had stuck my glasses, and so I just laid there crying, waiting for my husband to come in. I later found out that when he arrived, he was told by the nurses that “your wife is being stitched up, and they are resuscitating your son,” and when he expressed shock they refused to give him any more information until the doc could come speak to him. I recognize now that my husband went through his own hell, sitting in a waiting room awake and alone, just praying and waiting. D was born at 10:47pm, my husband arrived at the hospital at 11pm, was allowed in with me around 12:30am, and we were both allowed in to see D at 2am. When he joined me, we both just cried together, worrying about our son.
They wheeled my stretcher into the NICU, and D’s doctor met us at the bedside. D had a lot of tubes coming out of him and his eyes were closed, but he was moving around – very jerkily – and seemed to be in pain. My husband took a video and some pictures (at my request), but it’s very hard for me to look at them now. The doctor told us that he went about 30 minutes with little to no oxygen due to a mucus plug in his throat. At that point they really had no idea for what to expect moving forward. They said that often other organs will take more damage to sacrifice themselves before the brain gets injured from lack of oxygen, and the fact that his heart, liver, etc. seemed to be fine was promising. We were not allowed to hold him, but I touched his leg and told him his name, how much we loved him, and how proud of him we were.
In the following hours and days I began to understand more about what D’s problems and complications.
Was your birth experience very different then you expected? Did your LO have to overcome some big obstacles?
D’s Journey part 1 of 131. D's Journey, part 1 - Premature Labor and an Emergency C Section by Mrs. Tiger
2. D's journey part 2 - 1st NICU stay by Mrs. Tiger
3. D's journey part 3 - briefly home by Mrs. Tiger
4. D's journey, part 4 - Necrotizing Enterocolitis by Mrs. Tiger
5. D's journey, part 5 - 2nd NICU Stay by Mrs. Tiger
6. D's Journey, Part 6 - Intestinal Rehab by Mrs. Tiger
7. D's Journey, part 7 - home again! by Mrs. Tiger
8. D's Journey, Part 8 - Early Intervention by Mrs. Tiger
9. D's Journey, part 9 - Cerebral Palsy by Mrs. Tiger
10. D's Journey, part 10 - Physical Therapy by Mrs. Tiger
11. D's journey, part 11 - Eating by Mouth by Mrs. Tiger
12. D's Journey - My Perspective by Mrs. Tiger
13. D's Journey - A Giant Leap by Mrs. Tiger