Premature Babies

I wanted to have a child of my own, a girl to be exact. The day I discoverd I was pregnant I was talking on the phone with my best friend’s sister. We worked together at a print shop and she had been dating a guy for a few months there and thought she might be pregnant. I hadn’t thought about if I was or not. So I went and got myself a test. It was positive.

I made an appointment  to see the doctor to take another test and it was confirmed. I was indeed pregnant. The doctor asked if I wanted to hear the heartbeat since I was 24 days pregnant and the heart beats in only 21 days. I said yes of course! It was the most amazing sound hearing a brand new heart beating that had been a cluster of cells just a few days earlier. It made me cry.

I only stayed at the print shop two moremonths. I had morning sickness all day long and lived off saltines, cheerios and water. Morning sickness was taking over everything in my life. I slept a lot and ate little. The smell of the perfume I used to love suddenly became the most nauseating smell I had ever encountered. Even songs I listened to, while I had morning sickness, to this day make me feel a little queasy. I had few cravings and the cravings I did have were for foods I shouldn’t be eating while pregnant, goat cheese, hot dogs and even a few non food items; it was a disorder called pica, which is common to pregnant women. I craved dryer sheets, they smelled so good. Although I never ate one, I thought about it.

When I entered my second trimester, the morning sickness subsided. I felt better, had energy and a good appetite. Doctor visits were going well, we were both healthy. I went in for my first ultrasound (which I got a tape of) and found out I was having a boy. I was so sad, I wanted a girl so bad. My friends and family all told me I was going to love having a boy better in the long run and that they were easier than girls.

On to the third trimester. I was getting big, the baby was over 1lb and I had gained 25lbs at this point. My gestational diabetes test came back negative and we were still  healthy. My body ached though. I had carpel tunnel syndrome so bad, it would wake me up in the middle of the night and I would be in tears. My lumbering belly got in the way of everything. I had to lay on the bed and put my feet in the air to get my socks on. It was getting difficult to stand and sit. The baby was kicking me all night long right under the rib cage and it really hurt. He had hiccups all the time and I could feel them in my lower back. My body had been taken over by this being.

It was an early December morning, 3:30am to be exact. I woke up the second my water broke! I was six weeks early! The baby wasn’t even full term yet! I thought for a second that maybe the baby had kicked my bladder and I had just wet the bed. I went into the bathroom, I knew it wasn’t pee. I had no contractions, I never felt the baby drop into my pelvis, never had braxton hicks contractions…nothing. I wasn’t ready to go into labor. I called the doctor and confirmed that it was amniotic fluid. I still had no contractions. I took a shower, made myself something to eat and because we had his kids for the weekend, I opted to drive myself to the hospital. I stopped to gas up the car covered in amniotic fluid because I had a 40 mile drive to the nearest hospital that specialized in preemies.

I got to the hospital and  went to the maternity ward. I got all comfy in my room and let the doctors do tests. At this point the baby is in good health. I am covered with monitors and they actually put a monitor on top of the baby’s head…inside the womb! They gave me two shots of steroids to mature the baby’s lungs for delivery. At this point I’m still not having any pain or contractions. I had been in the hospital two days already. On the second evening they decide to induce labor. The baby’s heartbeat was starting to get irregular. I had been leaking fluid for two days now and was on a saline drip to keep the baby’s heartbeat normal.

I had contractions for 6 hours. Each contraction a little bit more intense than the last and coming every two minutes. It felt like I had to poo so bad. I told the doctor and she checked, 9.5 centimeters, almost there. I asked if I could just go to the bathroom before we start because my biggest fear about having a baby was not the pain of labor but that I might actually poo while pushing him out. She explained that it was just his head pushing down and it was perfectly natural if I pooed…I was lucky because I didn’t poo while giving birth!

They put an oxygen mask on my face and told me to push when I felt the urge. There were at least ten people in the room all looking at my *area*. They had people in there from the N.I.C.U. ready to whisk him away to make sure my preemie was healthy. My husband was holding up one leg, some guy from somewhere with scrubs on was holding my other leg. I pushed so hard and in 15 minutes he was out. I required one stitch and when the doctor stitched me up, she accidentally stabbed the attending with the needle and it pricked her finger. Next thing you know the cdc is in my room taking blood from me and making me sign all these forms. She was fine, but it’s just a precaution. When I held my son for the first time it was amazing. I only got to hold him for a few minutes before he was taken to the N.I.C.U.

A few hours later I got to go see him. He was so tiny. He could just barely wrap his hand around my pinkie. He was only 4.5 lbs. The nurse said that he was one of the most healthy preemies she had ever seen. He had no jaundice. No infections, nothing. Looking around in the nursery, seeing all the tiny babies, some born as soon as 24 weeks! The eyes are still fused shut at 24 weeks! It was a sad sight but I was glad my baby was doing ok.

I went back to work only 7 days after having him! I had no idea when he’d come home and didn’t want to waste all my maternity leave with him in the hospital. They were talking about him staying in at least 6 weeks. I visited everyday. Each day he got stronger and in 15 days he was able to come home.

The nights were only sleepless for a short time. each day he ate more and lookied less and less like a preemie newborn and more like a plump healthy baby. One of the side effects of having a preemie is the health issues. Tristan had a hernia in his groin and had surgery to repair it, and he also has an umbilical hernia that will heal on it’s own by the time he is four, (for now he has an outie belly button, but once the hernia heals it’ll be an innie again). Other than that he is extremely healthy.

My son just celebrated his first birthday. He is developing normally and is in the top 3% on his development charts.