My friends and I were talking the other day about all the big babies born these days. My friend IRL just had a 10 pound baby. A co-worker had an 11 pound baby! Everyone is always wowed but thrilled when a big baby comes into the world, because most times it's a sign of health and thriving.
Imagine a baby being born at a little over one pound. That's what Derek, son of one CafeMom, weighed when he was delivered by emergency C-section 16 months ago.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month, a time to remember that not all babies come into the world when they're supposed to, and that not all moms have the birth of their dreams. Here's one CafeMom's story so we can all understand premature birth and some of the struggles that these moms go through a little bit better.
My blood pressure started rising at the 24th week. Hospital tests showed trace amounts of protein in my urine that did not confirm pre-eclampsia. I ended up on labor and delivery two additional times over the next week before my primary doctor referred me to a perinatologist, but I couldn't get an appointment for another two weeks.
By the time I saw the perinatologist, I had lost most of my amniotic fluid, so my son was not getting the blood flow he needed to stay alive or grow. He told us our son needed to be born in the next day or two or he would die. My husband and I were stunned. The fact that he was better off on the outside than on the inside was terrifying. I'd never heard of a baby born this early and didn't know his chances of surviving.
I was admitted to the hospital, an hour from my home, immediately. Blood work showed that not only was my son in danger, but I was also in danger as my blood platelets were dropping quickly. They gave me two steroid shots to help Derek's lungs develop quickly before the C-section that happened in 20 hours from my initial appointment.
Prepping me for the surgery took forever. I was so swollen that it took the anesthesiologist three tries to do my spinal tap. By the time the perinatologist had a chance to start, it was crunch time and they didn't even have time to pull the sheet up in front of my face so I couldn't see what was happening. I could have watched the whole thing, but I chose to face away.
The most pleasant sound was my 1 pound 8.4 ounce 13 inch baby crying for the first time. I'd been told I probably would not hear him cry because his lungs were not developed. I can't tell you how excited I was to hear that cry. It's not a sound I can explain. I can only compare it to that of a distressed squirrel. My nurse whispered in my ear that things were good because the NICU team was keeping him in the delivery room to record his foot prints. If he'd been in danger, they would have whisked him away to the NICU and taken the prints later. I knew he had a great start and hoped he'd have a great chance at survival.
Struggle to Live
The first few days of his life were the most crucial. Derek was never intubated. This was another miracle. He was placed on room air with a c-pap machine for just a few days. He was quickly moved to a high-flow canula, which meant he was progressing nicely.
Derek had his ups and downs as preemies do, but by the grace of God he had more ups than downs. He received a blood transfusion, was given lipids and other medications to make him grow, and battled anemia several times while in the NICU.
(continued...)Click over to CafeMom to read the rest of this story...
Edited by Cynthia Dermody for CafeMom's Baby Buzz