Today…is World Prematurity Day.
I’m a Mum to two preemies with two very different stories.
At 19wks pregnant, I experienced a leak. I paid a visit to our local hospital and as they put the doppler on my pregnant belly, I waited to hear the glorious sound of my baby’s heartbeat. Sadly, no sound could be heard. The nurse told me that she would be right back only to return and give me a white envelope. She advised me to head up to another hospital, 20 miles away, as soon as I could. She explained that she could not find a heartbeat and they did not have the resources to perform an internal scan. Leaving those hospital gates is a bit of a blur, even to this day.
After getting to the hospital and going through numerous scans and tests we found out that liquor was leaving my womb. There was a heartbeat, however, after scans, being poked & prodded, blood 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 yrs old and terrified.
I spent 10 days in hospital. I had daily scans, checks on the level of liquor around my unborn son and I had so much blood taken it 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. My son was clearly 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 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 examination, 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. Five days went by 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 in my womb due to the lack of liquor around him. My placenta had developed an infection and my tiny boy and I had to remain in hospital, side by side with matching IV drips.
Sadly I didn’t have a camera phone back then, they didn’t exist. 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 time each day. His jaundice was really severe, but after three days of 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.