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Alex - A Premature Birth Story

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Updated August 21, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Alex, a preemie born at 30 weeks.

Alex, a preemie born at 30 weeks.

Image courtesy of Gina Lay

Gina Lay sent in this story about her son, Alex, who was born via emergency c-section at 30 weeks. Although Alex was born 2 1/2 months early and was in the NICU for about 8 weeks, he is doing very well now.

The morning of November 26, 2007 was a typical one. My oldest was off to school and I was getting ready to take my youngest at the time to school. I was 30 weeks pregnant with my 2nd son, Alex, and had no major problems except for a few early contractions. I was dilated, but told that was nothing to be concerned about, as this was my third child.

As I was getting ready, I noticed something was different. Normally, my baby said good morning to me every morning by kicking. This morning he did not. I told my husband I was concerned by this. I thought maybe if I ate something, he would kick. I picked up breakfast on the way to work, but still felt nothing. I had Taco Bell for lunch, but still, no movement. I called the doctors' office. I can still hear the nurse's voice -- she advised me to go to the hospital right away.

As my husband and I were walking into the hospital, he asked me if I wanted to go to Applebee's when we were finished. We both had no idea what was about to happen.

I was hooked up to the monitors and my baby's heart rate dropped drastically. I knew there was something wrong by the look on my husband's face. The nurse came into my room and from then it was non-stop. She informed me of what just happened with my baby's heart rate and told me I had to get an IV just for a precaution, and I was brought paperwork to sign. I also got an ultrasound, which showed that my baby was low on amniotic fluid. A few minutes later, my baby's heart rate dipped again. I remember two people standing in the opening of my room. I heard one ask the other if we even knew yet. I looked at my husband and I knew. They said I was going to have to get an emergency c-section. My small triage room suddenly filled up with people rushing around. My husband described it as a scene from ER. I was terrified. They told my husband to get the outfit on over his clothes as they were prepping me. He looked me in the eye and said it was going to be okay. They took me in through the double doors into the operating room.

Before I knew it, I was getting an epidural and was being asked if I felt a pin prick in different areas. I remember my doctor very clearly saying "scalpel." My husband was not there. I felt the scalpel move across my belly. There was a lot of pulling and tugging. I was taken back at 6:50 pm and by 7:00, my baby was born. He was born at 2 lbs. 5 ounces, unresponsive and not breathing. After my baby was born, a nurse told me he was being taken away to get worked on because he needed some help. I did not see him. I do not remember too much of what took place after the surgery. After leaving the recovery room, I somewhat remember seeing my son in the incubator. The nurse took a picture of him. I kept it close to my heart.

I planned on nursing Alex when he was born, but since he was born so early, he was tube fed. I had to pump. I pumped every two hours for 15 minutes. Thankfully, I didn't have any trouble with my milk coming in or my supply. They started giving him a few drops of my milk. In the NICU, they were great with my son. I could really tell everyone knew what they were doing and loved the babies. We had a lot of questions and they were all answered. One of the hardest parts of the experience was not being able to hold him for very long. Once he was settled in my arms, it seemed I had to give him back because of his temperature dropping. He also had low heart rates which was very scary. I cannot even describe how scared I was when I was holding him and the monitor sound would go off.

After Alex was 35.5 weeks, the NICU doctor transferred him to the local Children's Hospital. He was having high levels of bilirubin in his blood. They wanted to do further testing that they could not do in the hospital he was delivered at. He stayed in the Children's Hospital for a little over two weeks. Then finally, the moment we had been waiting for had come. We were allowed to take our baby home!

Today, Alex is 2 years old and doing well. I am fortunate to be able to stay at home with him. He has some learning delays, but overall, his health is excellent. He is our miracle baby and we are thankful for him every day.

Thank you, Gina, for sending in this story. It sounds like his birth was very scary for you! I'm glad that Alex is doing so well now - it sounds like he is really thriving.

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