My Premature Baby’s Journey
Pregnancy for me was fairly uneventful, aside from the exciting little fact of carrying my soon-to-be new son, of course. But uneventful in that my appointments were routine, I physically and emotionally felt good, exercised occasionally, and had no major hiccups -- just the tiny ones I felt in my belly.
It wasn’t until about three weeks before delivery that I noticed I couldn’t feel my son, Jacob, kicking as much. As any expectant mom knows, this can be alarming. I visited the hospital a few times to be placed on monitors, but from what myself and the doctors could tell, everything seemed to be fine. He was still moving and shaking, and I was not given any restrictions, nor was I placed on bed rest. This was around the 27 week mark.
It was exactly 30 weeks when my water broke in the middle of the night. At the time I was very nervous, but oddly, I was more excited to have the baby. I didn’t comprehend just how early it still was in my pregnancy, and thought the 30 week mark might not be that bad.
Despite my water having broke, the nurses were not sure I was in labor. It quickly became real when the contractions started. When I asked for pain medication, they checked me and realized I was already nine centimeters dilated -- there was no turning back. I was rushed into the delivery room and with just a few pushes, Jacob was born. He was very purple in color, but he was crying. The nurses immediately took him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, NICU, and I started to feel better. Although I still wasn’t prepared for the long road ahead.
An hour or two after my premature birth delivery, I met with the chief of neonatology. That’s when reality began to really sink in. He told my husband and I that our little (and at 3 lbs 12 oz, I mean little) bundle of joy was very sick. Although very concerned, I was in such a fog I was sure things would be fine in the end.
Jacob spent two months in the NICU, trying to gain weight, breathe and feed on his own. When Jacob was first born he needed a lot of medicine, called Surfactant, to help his lungs develop. It took a while for him to breathe properly, but thankfully, he needed no surgeries. To this day, he has no major respiratory complications.
Once Jacob could eat and breathe on his own, which took nearly two months, it was time to take him home. I was beyond ready to start my new life as a mom, as nervous and unsure as I was. It took a while to stop checking his breathing every five minutes, but I’m pretty sure that’s a common practice among all new, hyper-paranoid moms!
Our major concern was a brain bleed that was fairly mild, but we believe has caused the cognitive delays he has to this day. It’s been a tough road raising a child who was born a premature baby. However, we are very lucky that Jacob had such incredible care while he was in the NICU. He required constant monitoring and following up to make sure he was meeting developmental milestones, and today he is a very healthy, sweet boy.