Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Prematurity Awareness Month

Yesterday was Prematurity Awareness Day.

It's a chance to reflect on my journey; our previous life in the NICU. Some days it seems like so long ago, barely four years, and at other times, it seems like yesterday.


when I was on bedrest at home due to an incompetent cervix and having a cerclage placed. Through all my infertile life, I remember thinking "if I could just get pregnant, then everything would be okay". Once I got pregnant for the first time and had a miscarriage, I remember thinking "if I could just make it to 12 weeks, then everything would be okay". So, after my fourth IUI/INJ cycle, I got pregnant again and at 19 weeks, my world fell apart when I lost our son, Seth Allan, to what we now know was an incompetent cervix. I'll never view 12 weeks as safe or even 20 weeks or even 30.

Honestly, it's never safe. Yes, the statistics get better as time goes on, but one never knows. I'm forever changed because no matter how far along someone is, the thought always crosses my mind that something could happen. I'll never feel that blissful naivete that many do as they go through a pregnancy. Not that I'm planning on getting pregnant, but I will never feel that about anyone else either. NOTHING, in regards to my reproductive organs or life, has, or ever will be, normal. I've been angry about it. I've mourned. I've accepted it.

My third pregnancy (after two more IUI/INJ cycles) was, well, really quite rocky the entire time. I did have a few weeks in the middle (which for me was around week 14-17), where I actually felt pretty good. No bedrest, no bleeding. At 22 weeks, it changed again when my blood pressure at home on bedrest was elevating and I went in to have it checked. My doctor proceeded to immediately admit me and I went into a dark room and on that awful stuff called Magnesium Sulfate. I guess lucky for me, I was quite oblivious to what this all meant. I was able to get two courses of steroid shots to help mature the girls lungs. The problem was that I ended up not tolerating the Mag and developed pulmonary edema. I was on oxygen and gaining 2-5 lbs.of fluid a day. They stopped the Mag.

The next few days passed by and I had no idea of the severity of my condition: Preeclampsia. Nine days after being admitted to the hospital, the doctor rounding, whirled into my room and told me that we couldn't wait any longer. You're having a C-section at 4 p.m. I called my husband and told him to come to the hospital. I was sobbing. When he got there, I was telling him that I didn't know WHY they were doing this. I was FINE! I could make it longer. I could make it to 28 weeks. I called the doctor back in. I needed him to explain to me why they were doing this. 24 weeks was too early! Needless to say, he went through the list of the reasons: my blood pressure, the protein in my urine, my weight gain, my kidney function. He said they had limits to each of these and he'd already let me go past them to get me to 24 weeks. It was time.

And with that, I was propelled into another new experience: life in the NICU and the rollercoaster ride that comes along with it. Times two. My time in the NICU really deserves it's own post. It was a long 114 days. I journaled every day. It was very therapeutic for me. You can read my journals at L & S's Caring Bridge page. Just click on Read Journal History.

I'm sharing some of my story today, like many others have. Premature birth is a serious, common and costly problem. It can happen to any pregnant woman, and no one really knows why. 1 in 8 babies are born too soon. 1 in 8! Many do not survive. We were one of the lucky ones. I will never forget where my girls started, how hard they have fought or how very far they have come. In an instant, things could have turned out so differently. I have been blessed.

Lindsey - 4 days old Sydney - A month old

I love you, sister! Let me lay one on you!

1 comment:

Heather said...

I often forget that your girls were so premature. They are amazing, they've come so far.
Great, great pics :)

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