When you have a premature baby, your life becomes punctuated with numbers.
It took me 4 years to get pregnant. That’s 48 negative pregnancy tests that I shed tears over, if you don’t count all the ones I bought extra, just in case. Which I don’t because technically I wasn’t supposed to be buying so many pregnancy tests on account of how all the minus signs made me extra emotional and such.
When this baby actually stuck, I expected to get attached to the number nine, the amount of time you are supposed to remain pregnant and all. I figured that I would tick off the months and count by trimesters, one, two and three, until my due date in February.
Except I never got to three.
I never even got to Christmas.
Instead I found myself in pre-term labor at 24 weeks. It was on a particularly ordinary Wednesday in November when I decided to visit my OB-GYN 15 minutes before closing time and persuade them to see me because I just felt a bit off. This is why I write, to tell you to know the signs of pre-term labor, to trust yourself, to make the call.
Because at 25 weeks I gave birth to my daughter.
She weighed 1 pound, 8.6 ounces.
My husband cupped his hands around her in a plastic isolette and she fit neatly within them with room to spare.
She spent one hundred and fifty six days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
She was born on November 7 but didn’t come home until the 12th of April.
She was one month old and had undergone two surgical procedures before I was ever even allowed to hold her.
When she was three months old she flatlined and strangers held me outside of a hospital room while the miraculous work of doctors restarted her heart.
Ten days ago she turned two years old.
Now she’s dancing around my desk while I type these words telling you that sometimes, it’s rare, but sometimes this happens. Sometimes you spontaneously go into labor far too soon and there is just no rhyme or reason to it and your doctors will shake their heads and say “we don’t know why.”
But knowing the signs of pre-term labor (here is a handy little guide) and talking with your doctors and trusting your body? That’s can’t ever hurt. Because often times it can be stopped or delayed and every single day that you can give your baby inside your womb is a precious gift that can’t be replicated outside of it.
So I am telling you: be aware of the signs. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor with concerns that seem silly. Trust yourself. It might not change anything. But it might change everything.
(You can read my full birth story here, as well as lots more information than you probably ever wanted to know about my baby girl, who is my greatest joy)
[typography font=”Delius Swash Caps” size=”20″ size_format=”px”]Written by Kayla[/typography]
A twenty-something not-so-newlywed and southern girl through and through, Kayla Aimee (you can call her KA) likes scrapbooking, Macy’s at Christmas time, and really good fitting jeans. By day she is a stay at home mom but by night she is a blogger, scrapbooker and kick arse ping pong player.
KA and her husband Jeff reside in a charming little country town in the south. After years of infertility, they welcomed their daughter Scarlette Vonne on November 7, 2010, fifteen weeks before her due date and weighing just 1lb 9oz and brought her home on April 12, 2011.
Oh, this touches the very deepest part of me. I delivered my twins at 32 weeks (2 months premature) after rapid onset preterm labor that could not be stopped. We were in the NICU 1 month, which seemed like an eternity and was nothing compared to what you and your daughter experienced there. I was friends with other NICU families who had micro-preemies like your beautiful daughter and I know the intense, surreal, breathlessness of watching your very heart, your baby, struggle to breath, attached to machines and wires, and the feeling of helplessness and love that flows non-stop. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and especially about the signs of preterm labor. I never thought it would happen to me, but my entire “labor” was water breaking and then pushing less than an hour later. I was complete when I arrived at the hospital. Much love you you and your miracle!
Thank you for sharing your scary, overwhelming, and powerful story of hope and inspiration! Be well!
Kayla, thanks for sharing your story with Vermont. Scarlette is such a little beauty and its evident that you are living in gratitude for her little life. Love you guys,
So grateful to you, Kayla, for sharing your story! So thankful for your little two year old who is now dancing 🙂