Is Premature Birth a death sentence for your baby?
The Worst and Wonderful Day of My Life
My fears were realized as I sat on the phone with Maria's dad at 4am. We laughed, we talked, we dreamed of our baby girl. Her name was still up for debate (or so he thought). I knew she was going to be Maria Gabrielle from the start. Then, the contractions started on my mother's birthday of all days. I was only 29 weeks pregnant. It was too soon to say the least. I was at risk for preeclampsia.
I made up in my mind that if it came down to my daughter and I, I would sacrifice myself. Thank God, it didn't come to that. I contracted all day until finally at 5pm the nurse (who had the nerve to tell me all day, they were cramps not contractions) puts me on the fetal monitor and runs out yelling get the doctor. I think I will never forget that nurse ever; image is forever burned in my brain. At 6:23pm, Maria was born at 2 pounds and 4 ounces.
I heard her scream and the doctors clapping and yelling, because she was so tiny. I guess they didn't think she would be able to cry. She was even breathing on her own, but they didn't want her to tire herself out, so they put her on oxygen. I was a Mom, but my daughter was premature. The doctors told me how she would have developmental delays. How she would most likely be handicapped. I was terrified, yet determined to help Maria beat the odds.
I might have been physically ill, but my spirit and determination for being there for my daughter was greater. I also contracted an infection in my intestine, so I was in the hospital longer than expected. The next month was spent between my mom's and the hospital. (I was visiting and got ill home was 300 plus miles away.) The hospital was a forty-five minute drive, but as soon as they let me out of the hospital, I was there. It was the hardest thing for me at that point.
My life was for that month get up, get dressed, go to hospital all day, go home at night, take pain meds, and repeat. A month later she was left the hospital at four pounds and six ounces, no machines, only diaper rash and vitamin. I was happy to say the least to finally have my baby home. What I wasn’t prepared for was the transition. No doctors, no nurses, no machines to save her life. Just semi-trained me (poor baby I thought.) I couldn’t mess this up, because while I did have a good support system ultimately her little life was entrusted to me.
I remember a nurse telling me that she would be just fine. That words were sweet at best, maybe even comforting, but my fear was real. I didn't want to hurt her. The first six months were the hardest, not for her, but for me. She grew and strived, developmentally she was a head in some aspects. The only thing that took a long time was her learning to walk. She was 14 months old. I tried everything, then one day my sister gets up and does a drunk monkey, wild wild west walk and my baby does the same walk following her. Then, when her dad's mom told me he was 16 months when he walked and that she never thought her baby would walk, I felt better.
Help with coping
My Sweet Inspiration
I can't tell you how hard it was to see my baby with all the tubes and machines, but I can say I made it through somehow. She is four now and highly intelligent. Her vocabulary and critical thinking far surpasses any of her peers. (Maybe I'm think she's great, because she's mind!) People have remarked on her wisdom, how caring and sweet she is. They have no idea what Maria has to go through just to be here. She was a fighter from the beginning. I knew this as I carried her.
During her ultrasound when she did the peace sign, I knew she would be one of a kind. I have the pleasure of watching her grow, her milestones, her temper, her sweetness, her tantrums, and her ability to take life head-on. I know it sound like she's superbaby, but to me she is. She has surpassed anything her doctor predicted and everything I expected. She inspires me. She has alot of natural ability. She dances in downtown Atlanta in front of hundreds of strangers and does not draw sweat. She sings and plays piano at any given moment.
She is fearless and she teaches me so much each day. She is a strong young lady and one strong-willed, and determined four year old. I am enjoying being her teacher and exploring this world through the eyes of a four year old. She loves to travel and everywhere we go, she wants to know where's there museum or where are the attractions. She is full of life and I hope to nurture her and push her to be who it is she is meant to be.
Tips for taking preemie home
- Taking Your Preemie Home
If you're about to begin caring for your preemie at home, try to relax. With some preparation and planning, you'll be ready.
- Amazon.com: Caring for Your Premature Baby (9780062736208): Alan Klein, Jill Alison Ganon: Books
Amazon.com: Caring for Your Premature Baby (9780062736208): Alan Klein, Jill Alison Ganon: Books