I couldn’t think of a better day than World Prematurity Day to share my personal prematurity story. I’m Georgina, a proud Mom of two preemie boys, one micro preemie and one late term preemie.
Our journey to parenthood wasn’t easy. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2006, making it difficult for us to get pregnant on our own. Needless to say we were ecstatic when we got pregnant on just our second cycle of fertility treatments. Sadly that excitement was short lived and we were devastated when the pregnancy failed very early on due to a blighted ovum.
We got pregnant again on our first cycle after the miscarriage, but didn’t allow ourselves to get excited until after we saw and heard our baby’s heartbeat a few weeks later. Again, that excitement was short lived, at 8 weeks we were told that our baby was measuring right on track but the gestational sac was measuring 2 weeks behind, an indicator of possible genetic problems. A follow up ultrasound two weeks later still showed a discrepancy between the baby and gestational sac so we were referred to a geneticist. An amnio at 17 weeks showed that our baby did not have any chromosomal abnormalities, but we were told that our baby was now measuring two weeks behind and were referred to a maternal fetal specialist.
At 24 weeks, a trip to labor and delivery for contractions landed me on strict hospital bed rest. And so began the constant monitoring; blood pressure checks every 30 minutes, blood draws every 6 hours, 24 hour urine samples, Doppler ultrasounds to measure the blood flow from me to the baby, biophysical profiles to measure the baby’s heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, amount of amniotic fluid and steroid shots to help develop his lungs. On paper our baby had reached the point of viability but his growth had been restricted due to a lack of blood flow to the umbilical cord. The neonatologists gave us a 50/50 chance of viability and boy did we get lucky.
Justin, our 24 week miracle, was born 15 ½ weeks early via an emergency c-section due to severe preeclampsia and IUGR. Weighing only 14 ½ ozs and measuring 10 ¼ inches long, he spent 116 days in the NICU before we were finally able to bring him home.
Fast forward a year and half and we’re pregnant with baby # 2. Fortunately we didn’t have any of the early warning signs experienced during our pregnancy with Justin. Nonetheless, my new Dr. was wonderful and monitored me every two weeks from the very beginning. At 31 weeks I was admitted to the hospital after going into pre-term labor. Luckily they were able to stop the contractions and after 5 days I was sent home on bed rest until my scheduled c-section at 37 weeks but at 35 weeks I went into labor .
Nathan, our 35 week wonder, was born 4 ½ weeks early via c-section. Weighing 5 lbs 10 ozs and measuring 19 inches long, he spent just a few hours in the NICU but we left the hospital together.
Like most people, we simply thought of a preemie as a small baby, not realizing all the difficulties that preemies, let alone micro preemies, may face. When we got pregnant the last thing on my mind was having a preemie. Little did I know that I would be catapulted into preemie land: ventilators, ROP, reflux, developmental assessments, physical and occupational therapy and the list goes on and on. It hasn’t been easy, but when I see the smiles on my two preemie’s faces, it makes this long journey all worth it.