28 Mar 2011

Meet Preemie #1

My experience with premature babies has been a whirlwind.  Married June 2007, with one preemie arriving 11 months later and two more preemies arriving one month before our 3rd anniversary! 

My first preemie miracle entered my life in May 2008.   He arrived eight and a half weeks early, much to everyone's surprise.

Prior to having my first preemie baby, I had never really known anyone personally that had dealt with the premature birth of a child. 

I felt alone and as though my friends and family couldn't really identify with all the mixed emotions my husband and I were living with.  I felt I had been robbed of the ideal baby arrival.  My ideal and really the only thing I'd ever considered included a trip to the hospital, the anticipation and process of labour and delivery, and then a beautiful baby for everyone to come in and "ooh and aah" over, while I sat in my hospital bed with a big, happy new mommy smile on my face.

Instead, my reality consisted of not feeling too well one evening, something just not right.  I called my midwife who told me to be on the safe side to go into the hospital to meet her there to be checked out.  Most likely I was experiencing braxton hicks contractions, as I was at 31 weeks. 

I took my time packing a small bag, just in case.  I was oblivious to the fact that I was in labour, as I just didn't expect it.  I expected this baby to be late.  I didn't feel what you hear about your entire life from mothers, friends or from anyone else.  I just "didn't feel right."  I honestly thought I had some terrible bowel obstruction or kidney stones, as the discomfort began to get worse after I spoke to my midwife.

I arrived at the hospital with my husband, who parked the car, while I went in to check in at the desk.  My husband and I didn't have any concerns about me being left alone...because I wasn't in labour, right?  The lady at the desk didn't seem too concerned either by my overall demeanour, as she certainly didn't rush to get me checked in. LOL.

We arrived at 11:35 P.M. in the parking lot and our beautiful baby boy arrived at 11:53 P.M.  He arrived 18 minutes after we got to the hospital!

Once I got up to the labour and delivery ward everything moved quick.  I was examined, only to be told I was fully dilated and I didn't even know it!!  How could I not feel the pain I'd always been told was the worst pain a woman could go through?  Why were there no symptoms? 

My son was born within a few moments and he was rushed into the nursery for high needs care.  He was breathing on his own, but about half an hour later he began "grunting." Grunting is the actual term the doctors used and is in reference to the small  grunting noise a baby may begin to make if having a hard time breathing.  He was then intubated to aid him with his breathing.  I still had yet to meet my little boy.  When he was born they whipped him to my left side, showed him to me and then took off to get him checked out.

Our hospital is not equipped with a NICU and therefore he had to be transported out to another hospital with a Level III NICU.  There was talk of flying him out to Ottawa, Kingston or even Buffalo, where beds were available!  First came the shock of my baby's very early arrival and now there was the shock that we may have to let our baby go in a helicopter without his parents to a NICU hundreds and hundreds of kilometres away or even into the U.S.!  I was mortified and my husband began preparing his mind to drive a very long trip to meet up with our baby.

Thankfully, our baby was able to find a bed about 100 kilometres away and in a city with a Ronald McDonald House operation.  We were very thankful for this sudden change of events!

After five days in a Paediatric Critical Care Unit, which was able to provide dedicated 24 hour nursing care, just as a NICU would have, our son was able to move to a Level II NICU near our home.

Our son was lucky, and after about a week of CPAP to aid in his breathing, the new focus to get him home was getting him nursing and gaining weight.

Our boy was able to come home when he was 3 weeks and 5 days old--35 weeks gestation.

My next blog will be about our twins' early arrival, just shy of two years after our first preemie arrived.

Thanks for reading!

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