Today…is World Prematurity Day.
I’m a Mum to two preemies with two very different stories.
Here is Ethan’s Story:
At 19wks pregnant, I experienced a leak. So I paid a visit to our local hospital and as they lay that doppler on my pregnant belly…I awaited the beautiful sound of my sons heartbeat, but not a sound could be heard. The nurses eyes went solemn as she left to come back shortly to hand me a white envelope and advised me to head up to another hospital, 20 miles away. Leaving those hospital gates is a blur, even to this day. But I ran into some friends who read the letter in that little white envelope and they gathered me into their car & took me to the hospital on the other side of the City.
Apparently, liquor was leaving my womb & after scans, being poked & prodded, bloods being taken, painful internal exams with Drs asking me all kinds of questions I was told the following words, “You have a 70% chance of miscarrying your baby”. Needless to say I felt as though my world had started to crumble beneath my feet & I broke. I was just 19 and terrified.
I spent 10 days in hospital. Daily scans, checks on the level of liquor around my unborn son and I had so much blood taken there was no wonder I felt dizzy all the time. I was on strict bed rest instructions and every day I feared the worst as that doppler was placed on my swollen belly. Would a heartbeat be heard? But every day that glorious sound came through and a tear would form in the corner of my eye. A happy tear you understand. My son was a fighter and he had no intentions of growing his angel wings just yet. Even though the Drs would still inform me about my high percentage rate of miscarriage, I knew he’d be just fine.
On the 11th day I was finally discharged and I was adamant to take it easy and determined to grow my little boy into a healthy newborn baby.
But at 32wks I experienced another leak, I woke up in bed soaked, so the hospital admitted me immediately. After an internal I was informed that my waters had gone. Not in the gush I’d experienced with my first born, but this trickle had been going on all night. Steroids where given that evening and I was monitored. 5 days passed before I was induced. Ethan was born naturally at 1803hrs on Monday 6th November 1999. He weighed a glorious 6lbs at 33wks gestation. But he was whisked away before I could even get a cuddle.
Turned out he developed a bacterial infection while inside me due to the lack of liquor around him. My placenta was also infected with the same infection, my tiny boy and I had to remain in hospital, side by side with matching IV drips for a week to make sure we were both OK.
Sadly I didn’t have a camera phone back then, they didn’t exist to my knowledge. So I have no photos of him, just the photos I took in my mind. If I close my eyes I can see him laying there with an bandaged hand that looked so huge on his little arm, wrapped up in his what they called back then….a billibed to control his jaundice.
I could only ever cuddle him for a small amount of precious time each day. His jaundice was really severe, but after three days of the treatment, he was in a proper little maternity crib. Four days later he was given the OK to come home. I was so excited to get us both home to be a little family again, for his older Brother to finally meet him and to get settled. Today, Ethan is now thirteen and as healthy as a horse. I couldn’t be prouder.