About.com reader Holly sent in this story about the birth of her daughter Madisyn, born at 33 weeks. Holly's condition was very serious, but Madisyn had no health problems from her prematurity.
My husband and I were just dating when we found out that I was pregnant. It was very unexpected, and we were scared to death.
At my first doctor's appointment, we found out that I was 9 weeks pregnant and got our first ultrasound. We knew that we were going to have a very active baby on our hands. The baby was doing somersaults and moving every which way while we watched on the ultrasound. The doctor even asked me if I had any caffeine that morning, but all I had was water.
Four days after our wedding, we got another ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. We found out that we were going to have a little girl. We had her named picked out, Madisyn Lynae.
The weeks went by dreadfully slow for me, as I was starting to show more and more. I was scared about having to go get my blood drawn. I HATE needles, bad for me later on. I got all the blood work back and I was good. No problems. I was planning on having a natural birth with NO medicine whatsoever. Everyone kept telling me, "Oh, as soon as you go into labor, you will be asking for medication and an epidural." But I was determined to prove them wrong.
Well, week 31 hit, and I started to swell. My blood pressure was still good, but one day I went out with my mom and started to swell up pretty bad. I went to the hospital around 11:00 that night. The doctor came in the next morning and said that he thought I was developing preeclampsia. He wanted me to collect all my urine for 24 hours. I did the 24-hour urine test and went to my doctor the next day. She got the results back and told me I had mild preeclampsia. I was doomed to bed rest. At my next checkup, my blood pressure was 146/109, so they sent me straight over to L&D. I had to stay there until my blood pressure went down. When they finally sent me home, I had to take those pretty orange jugs with me again and do another 24-hour urine test. My protein level jumped from 1000 to 5000 in just a four days, so that meant I had developed severe preeclampsia and I was their new patient until my daughter arrived. They wanted to keep a close eye on me and my daughter because when it is severe it is life-threatening to both of us.
It was a long boring stay, but I loved my nurses. I had been there for a week and half when they noticed that some of my blood work was starting to look abnormal. On Wednesday, April 21st, I had to do another urine test because of my blood work. My protein level was 24,000. They had NEVER seen anyone with protein levels that high there; the most they seen was around 13,000. So, they were still amazed that I was still acting the way I was.
Sadly, I was only 33 weeks and that hospital wouldn't have been able to take care of a baby born that early, so Thursday morning I was shipped off to UAMS in Little Rock, Arkansas. Before they could send me off to Little Rock, I would have to get an IV and have an Magnesium drip for my blood pressure. They didn't want me to have a seizure before getting there.
The trip to Little Rock was the longest, most uncomfortable ride in my life. As soon as I got to UAMS, they put me on the monitors and started drawing my blood every 6 hours. They wanted me to rest as much as possible because it was going to be a long night of being induced.
After using the pills to soften my cervix, I was only dilated to 2 cm. I was put on pitocin for the real induction then. I was having super strong contractions, according to the monitor, but they just felt like a little bellyache to me. The nurses came in and said that my daughter's heartbeat was going down every time I had a contraction, so they put me on the oxygen to see if that helped. Well, it didn't. They told me that I was going to have to have a c-section.
After what seemed like forever, I finally heard one tiny cry from my daughter. She was born at 7:41 am April 23rd, 2010. They took her off to the next room. Finally the doctor came in to tell us that she was fine and didn't need to be on the respirators or any oxygen. He told us that she weighed 3 pounds and 15 ounces and was beautiful. He asked my husband if he wanted to go see her. My husband was a hesitant to leave me in the OR by myself, but I told him to go. When I got to the recovery room, he came in and was showing me pictures of her and telling me everything that went on. The doctor brought her in there for me to hold her. He said that she was one of the few babies born at 33 weeks that he could actually let the parents hold before taking them to the NICU.
I had separation anxiety from Madisyn when I had to go home. We lived 3 hours from Little Rock. When we couldn't go up there, we would watch her on the Angel Eye Cam and call to check up on her progress. She had jaundice and had to be under the bili light for 5 days, but other than that she was an uneventful baby that didn't set off any alarms unless she pulled off a lead. After 10 days of being in the incubator, she got moved to an open crib because she could hold her temperature. I had to go up there and stay until she got out because I was going to breastfeed her.
Seven days later (May 10th, 2010), we finally got to put our beautiful little girl in a car seat and take her home with us. That was the happiest day of our lives.
They doctors told us that since she was a preemie, her development was going to be a little behind. Of course, she isn't behind. In the incubator, she would lay on her belly and lift her head and butt. She would scoot herself down to the bottom of the incubator. The day before she turned a month old she held up her head all by herself.
On May 27th, 2010, she weighed 5 lbs and 11oz and was 19 inches long. When she was a month and a week old she rolled from her back to her belly. She is now starting to giggle a little bit and she is about to turn 2 months old in 6 days. We are extremely proud of our little girl. She has become our whole world. She has her 2 month check up in a couple weeks to get her shots. I am dreading the crying, but excited to see how big she is now. I know she has gotten a lot bigger.