My story is not like most. My baby, born at 31 weeks weighing 3 pounds 4 ounces and 16.5 incheslong, is now 30 years old with two children of his own. Michael spent 6 weeks in the NICU. Many of the minute details have faded through the years; however, the despair and sadness remembering his birth and the time he spent in the hospital still bring tears to my eyes. Then I think of where he is today and the tears become tears of joy.
Birth, NICU Stay, Homecoming
I had fallen down four stairs, picked myself up, and never thought a thing of it until I learned that the reason I went into early labor was due to a tear in the placenta. I had a VERY tiny amount of pinkish discharge and mentioned it to my mother-in-law who insisted that I should go to the hospital. I was examined and it was decided I would be kept in the hospital for observation. I had no cramping and the discharge had ceased. At about 5 AM something woke me up, and I quickly realized I was hemorrhaging and rang for the nurse. She checked me and called the doctor. When the doctor arrived he confirmed that I was going to deliver. Any pain medications would cause the baby to be sluggish and I was told if I wanted any chance for the baby to survive I had to do this on my own. 4 hours and lots of pain later, Michael was born. He was quickly whisked away and then transferred to a larger city hospital better equipped to handle a baby that small. I couldn't see him until I was released from the hospital two days later. When my husband took me to see him, I prayed that the incubator with Michael written at the top was not my baby Michael, but it was. The doctors and nurses were wonderful allowing us to visit and call at any hour of the day or night. Michael progressed as expected with his only set back being bradycardias. Once he went 10 days without a bradycardia we brought him home. We took him to an after care center for the first two years and he continued to catch up and develop normally. Today he is over 6 feet tall and is incredibly handsome.
- I posted this to encourage other families who have recently had premature babies. My advice would be to get to the hospital even with minor potential symptoms of labor. If it weren't for my mother-in-law I don't know what would have happened! Also, listen to and trust the doctors and nurses who are caring for your preemie...they have a lot of experience and are wonderful!