I will never forget the look on my husband’s face when we were in the doctor’s office for our first appointment after we found out I was pregnant with our first baby(ies).
There was silence all around as we waited for the technician to finish. Each click of the mouse we waited patiently for her to share as she entered data into the computer. That is when we saw her put into the dropdown box, 2 fetuses. She didn’t say anything, and we were too shocked to ask. She said all looks healthy, gave us our printout, and sent us off to the waiting room for our doctor to call us.
As shocked as we were, we settled into the fact we were going to be first-time parents to two!
Then we went in for our 9-week check-up. There was only one sac and one heartbeat. We received the diagnosis of Vanishing Twin Syndrome, something not very common, where one baby absorbs the other.
In an instant, we went from two babies to one.
My OB assured me, I was young and healthy and my pregnancy would be great. From 9 weeks on to month 5 I had a phenomenal pregnancy. The doctor was right. I had very little sickness, I felt great, and had a very healthy and active, little boy.
At 6 months, I had a little bleeding. Even though I felt fine and everything was great, something in my gut was telling me to go to the emergency room to make sure everything was well with the baby.
In the emergency room, a very thorough resident checked me. Baby’s heartbeat was great and his movement was great, but she noticed a minor delay in growth and where baby was measuring to gestation.
The baby’s growth was about 2 weeks behind. We left the hospital with a good report and were told to follow up with our OB to monitor growth going forward.
Little did I know, this was the start of my pregnancy taking a turn for the worse.
Two weeks later I started getting some night sickness and I wasn’t feeling well. I made an appointment with my OB. They told me everything looks great and baby’s heartbeat was strong. I just needed to get some more rest.
Really, I thought? What about the delayed growth that was mentioned a few weeks ago at my visit to the ER?
Oh yes, all is good they said. We can follow up with an ultrasound to measure fluid and size just to be sure everything is okay.
Immediately following that appointment I went off for an ultrasound. Sure enough, growth was even more delayed and my amniotic fluid levels were lower than they should have been.
I had to have weekly ultra sound, and drink even more water. Within a week, I was put on bed rest. Baby was measuring less than 2 pounds (a micro preemie and pivotal point for health and outcome of baby) and we needed to get him to grow as much as possible before delivery.
I went in for my weekly ultra-sound at week 30 and that is when everything happened so fast.
My fluid levels were very low and the baby’s heartbeat had dropped, so we had to have an emergency C-section. Thankfully my husband was home from traveling because that was the day we welcomed our miracle baby.
Friday, August 13th at 30 weeks gestation I gave birth to my son, a 2.0 lb. preemie.
Every story is different and each baby that is born premature is a roller coaster ride.
November is Prematurity Awareness month. As I reflect on the many ups and downs throughout our 59-day NICU stay, I remember feeling at the mercy of doctors and nurses to care for our little guy.
As a mom I was powerless to care for my own child, and felt like a failure in every way.
I learned over time that it wasn’t about me but trusting in God who gives life and takes away life. A child is a blessing, not an entitlement and I am so thankful for every bit of our atypical journey! There are still many unanswered questions and reasons why our son was born so early.
I have l learned to focus one day at a time, and that has brought so much peace to a journey of the unknown.
Easton is now 7 years old. He has beaten so many odds and multiple diagnosis that we were often told he would have. While we still navigate the life of learning differences, we are living proof that miracles happen preemies are fighters in every way.
We are truly thankful for the care team and support of strangers in the NICU who kept our hearts filled with hope.
My heart hurts for mamas who are in the trenches of the NICU or navigating life with a preemie. I pray you are filled with hope as you watch your baby grow. Be encouraged, knowing in your heart and mind that miracles do happen. We are proof!
Help give back to NICU families with Project Hope for Babies 2017
Project Hope started in 2012 with a family who had a preemie miracle baby. It is an amazing way to support local NICU Families right here in Des Moines this Christmas. There are dozens of local families who will spend this holiday in the NICU fighting for their baby’s health. Please consider showing some much-needed love and encouragement by sending a care package to one of the families spending this Christmas in the NICU. Check out all the details for Project Hope 2017.