Nearly 4 years ago my world was turned upside down. It was just a normal day of being home with my 3 little girls. I was feeling huge and pregnant at 27 weeks. I sat down to rest because I felt more tired than usual. Little did I know that life would be changing that day. That afternoon my water broke. Since I was so early I thought I had peed on myself so I went to the bathroom. When I came out there was still fluid leaking and I just knew at that point that he was not ready yet.
I rushed to the hospital and felt so relieved that I would be taken care of there but that suddenly changed as well. Quickly they told me that they were not equipped to handle such an early baby and that I would need to be flight lifted to a hospital 4 hours away. I was all alone at the hospital and scared beyond belief as I laid there waiting for the plan. My husband was with my other children trying to find a way to get to the other hospital.
When they told me I was ready for transport I became even more frightened of all of the what ifs. What if the helicopter crashed? What if there was an emergency? They were so good to keep me calm and comfortable. That care proceeded even after I made it to the other hospital. They wished me luck and went on their way so the hospital staff could get started helping me.
Immediately they started giving me fluids and a steroid shot for his lungs. I was put on bedrest and only allowed to get up to use the bathroom. For 4 days we tried everything we could to keep him from coming. I had multiple trips to the labor and delivery to stop my labor and observation. As soon as we would get things under control it would not last long. On June 26th, 2012 he was born. He weighed 2 pounds 8 ounces and was 15 inches long. He was absolutely beautiful and perfect.
Luckily my husband was able to stay with me until our son was 2 days old but then I was on my own. Nothing can prepare you for the isolation and self doubt you feel when living in the NICU. I was there 24/7 with little interaction. I was pumping every 2 hours so I barely slept. Every time his monitor would go off my heart would stop. I didn’t think he would make it some days and I was broken. His tiny little body looked so helpless just laying there and I couldn’t do anything to help him.
As the days went by I started making friends with the other moms. One in particular, Michelle, holds a special place in my heart. She knew what I was going through, felt the heartache, understood the pain, and knew about being scared. We bonded over a heartbreaking yet joyful time in our lives. Nobody can warn you about the heartbreak that happens in the NICU.
2 months is how long our NICU stay was. There were times I would cry myself to sleep. Times that I couldn’t sleep because he was having a rough day and not breathing well on his own. He still has scars on his hands from all of the IV’s and blood draws. Through all of this there is nothing I would change. He is such a strong willed fighter that keeps me on my toes at all times. We have such a great bond and he holds my heart. For the ups and downs I am very grateful. I found my inner strength through all of the pain. I found me.