I have had two preemies. Both of the experiences were different. I will start with Adam's story. He is 2 and in the 95th percentile in height. You would never know he was a preemie now!
Adam's story started when I hadn't felt him move for over 24 hours. I went in to L&D (labor and delivery) to have him monitored. They discovered that my blood pressure had shot up. All of my labs were just fine so they felt that it was just hypertension, despite the fact I had no previous problems with BP (blood pressure). The kept me for observation then sent me home on bed rest, but one day later I was back. I had started feeling dizzy and my vision went all blurry. Again my labs were just fine so they kept me for a day then sent me home. Twenty four hours later I was back with upper gastric pain. I had originally thought I just had an upset stomach, but it kept getting worse. The pain never let up -- it just kept getting worse and worse. It was so bad I was throwing up and couldn't stay in one position. It took 3 doses of nubain to get the pain under control. Of course I was out. The next morning I was sent down for an ultrasound just to rule out my gallbladder. The doctor said my labs were creeping up. They were still in normal limits, but they felt the baby would need to probably come soon. On the way back from the ultrasound I started seizing. I had eclampsia and nobody caught it until I started having seizures. I had an emergency c-section and our little Adam was born at 30 weeks 6 days.
When Adam was born, he was 3 pounds 2 ounces and was 17 inches long. He was so tiny, but so strong. He was on CPAP for 2 days but after that he never looked back. He had phototherapy twice for high bilirubin counts. He also had an IV for vitamins and also a medication for bradycardia. Like many preemies, he just had to learn how to eat, keep his temp up, and grow. He was such a sweet baby that the nurses nicknamed him Prince Charming. It was so unusual for him to cry. One of the nurses told us a story that they kept hearing this squealing noise. They thought it was coming from the next room. When they got up to check it out they discovered that it was Adam crying. They picked him up and he stopped right away. He just wanted to be held. So they just held him and rocked him for a long time.
We kind of pushed a little to give Adam more and more feedings by bottle. At one point he had a nurse who wasn't very interested in moving him forward. She was more concerned with time issues and found it much more convenient to just give him a gavage feeding. He went home at 34 weeks gestation, weighing 4 pounds 7 ounces. I couldn't believe how small he looked in that car seat! He went home on only a vitamin supplement, with no other meds and no monitor. I did struggle a bit with depression while he was in the NICU. I also had to have an additional surgery for clots and infection in my incision. I did not take care of myself at all. The only thing I could think about was my baby.
We have never really noticed delays with Adam. He did take quite a while to walk. Other than that he has had no side effects. Now he is just a little ball of energy. He is really smart. Adam has decided to be a drummer like daddy (my husband's hobby is playing in a band). He also knows most of his alphabet, can count to 20, and loves music. He has many songs memorized. He is definitely mommy's boy.
Sarah, thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that it took so long for your eclampsia to be diagnosed -– it sounds like a very good thing that you were persistent in seeking treatment! Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a common cause of premature birth. I’m glad that Adam is doing so well, and am delighted to see how much he’s grown.