My 29 Weeker

I just got an email from The March of Dimes reminding me that this Saturday is World Prematurity Day.  November is also Prematurity Awareness Month.  To me, every November these reminders hit closer to home than I would like them to.

Five years ago, I went into labor completely unexpectedly at 26 weeks.  I had a sort of bad feeling that morning, but I figured I was being paranoid, so I went on to work.  Finally, I started asking questions to the other girls that I worked with about my symptoms.  I called my OB and was assured that everything would be fine as long as I wasn’t bleeding or in pain, which I wasn’t.  After being at work for over seven hours on my feet, at the urging of one of my co-workers (who to this day I am SO VERY thankful to), I went on the the doctor just in case.

He was checking everything out and I had my eyes fixed intently on his face as I saw his expression change to fright.  He started talking fast and making phone calls while telling me that I was dilated to 2 cm and the bag of water was coming out.

That was the last thing I thought I was going to hear.  When I left work, I told my boss that I thought it was nothing and I would be back in a few minutes.  I just wanted to be sure.

When I saw the urgency of the situation, I started to cry.  My husband was out of town working and I felt so scared and alone.  I thought I was losing my baby.  The doctor actually yelled at me and told me to stop crying or my water would break.  Oh, how hard that was to do.

He continued to make arrangements for me to be taken to another town with a hospital well equipped to handle such cases.  I was told to drive to our local hospital which was only right across the street.  I was so scared to get up and walk, let alone drive.  I walked into the hospital and how I got to wherever I went, I have no clue.  I called work to let them know I would not be back.

My dear and wonderful friend who worked in an office connected to the hospital heard my problem and she was there right away.  She stayed with me until the ambulance drove me away.  I really don’t know if she realizes how much that helped me.

In the local hospital they started me on very high doses of magnesium sulfate by IV.  It was horrible.  I was so miserable.  After what seemed like forever, the ambulance drivers and a nurse came and drove me to what would be my home for the next 24 days.

By the time I got there, I was delirious.  The magnesium was really starting to kick in.  I would have never thought magnesium would have such an effect on you.  It was worse than the flu.  I had a terrible headache and my whole body was in pain.  I wanted to die.

I am not really clear on what exactly happened in the next 2-3 days.  All kinds of people were coming to visit.  I was so happy to see several of my work mates drive so far just to come see me.  I have pictures that I am so thankful for. It was a completely miserable time.  I was in major shock.  I was not at all prepared for anything like this to happen.

I had been around so many women who worked right up until their due date without a problem.  When I read my pregnancy books, I skipped the preterm labor parts because I knew it wouldn’t happen to me.  I thought that was only for people who didn’t take care of themselves.  I didn’t know a healthy person carrying one baby was even at risk for such a thing.

Well, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t matter if you don’t smoke or drink or do drugs.  It doesn’t matter if you quit caffeine and start eating nothing but healthy food.  A perfectly healthy mom can give birth way before her due date.

Those weeks in the hospital really humbled me.  I was not allowed to get out of my bed.  I had to let strangers bathe me.  My cousin shaved my legs.  I held my poop for 3 days for fear that I would give birth while doing the deed.  When I finally had to go, it was the middle of the night and they brought me a potty chair and placed it right beside the pull out couch where my sweet cousin Melissa was trying to sleep.  I had a catheter for most of the time I was in there and the thought of people seeing my pee hanging off the bed in a bag was just more than I could handle.

All in all, it was horrible.  But, it made me into a different person.  I think a better person.  I have much less shame than I had before, and for that I am grateful.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t let people I don’t know bathe me anymore, and I definitely don’t poop out in the open (although I probably could if I had too.)  I am just saying, I am much more open about things now.  Not everything is so private.  It makes life a little more comfortable when you have no secrets.

I will always be grateful for my wonderful family and friends who were there by my side throughout the whole thing.  They made sure that I was never alone.  They brought me food, new pillows, and even got me hooked up with a refrigerator in my room.  I got chocolate and p.j.’s and movies.  People were massaging my legs and feet.  My toenails were painted all sorts of colors.  I couldn’t have asked for better care.

After those weeks in the hospital, I pretty much knew the day before Wes was born that it was time.  At that point, I made it to 29 weeks.  It was the first day that I had been left alone by myself.  I kept having contractions.  I told the nurses.  I was afraid to tell anybody else.

That night my water broke and it was clear what was next.  The doctor induced me at 8:00 am and after a few not very painful contractions and a lot of sitting and waiting, my boy was born at 1:16 Tuesday November 20, 2007.  He weighed 2 lb 12 oz and was 16 inches long.  His due date was February 6, 2008.

The doctor told me before he was born that I wouldn’t be able to hold him; they would have to take him straight to the NICU.  To my surprise, and I am sure a lot of others, he was breathing on his own!  The doctor slapped him down across the top of my left leg and told me to hold on to him.  I was so scared that I was going to drop him.  Brad and the doctor were over cutting the cord and there I lay so dizzy from whatever I just done, holding the smallest human I had ever seen in person.  Well, I wasn’t holding him up to my chest like the movies..or in real life.. I was holding him so he wouldn’t fall off of my upper leg.  They took him and weighed him and did the APGAR test which he scored pretty well on for being a little guy.  By the way, in my delivery room, there was a team of about 15-16 people prepared for every scenario.  That took me by surprise just like the rest of it.

So, the good news was that they wrapped my “Baby Boy Arnett” up in a blanket and let me hold him for 30 seconds before they whisked him away to the NICU.  I am sure they must have known what good that did me or they wouldn’t have done it.  I didn’t expect it at all.  It was such a wonderful moment.

Wesley was in the NICU for 8 weeks.  That could be a whole story in itself.  He couldn’t nurse, so I pumped the whole 8 weeks he was in there so that he could have the best food that was made for him.  So many things happened in those weeks.  The NICU is a blessing and a nightmare wrapped into one.  I have still not recovered from the whole ordeal.  I don’t think I ever will.  I suppose it isn’t a bad thing.  When terrible things happen and you make it through them, you become a better and stronger person.

Wesley was born right smack in the middle of Prematurity Awareness Month.  This month is a very emotional one for me.  So many memories.  We have had a few set backs, but for a 29 weeker, he has really done well.  I am very proud of my little boy who will be five in a few short days.

Here is Wesley at about 2 days old.  My first real time holding him.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda Basham on November 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    My dearest little cousins, I have never heard your story. But I’m sure glad I have had this chance to learn what you’ve been through. So go pamper yourself this week. Get a pedicure or a manicure and give you sweet son a great big hug from Linda

    Reply

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