I had my first child at the young age of 21 yrs old. I was in a tumultuous, abusive relationship at the time, and finding out I was pregnant was terrifying. I knew this guy was not the man I wanted to have a child with, but I knew in my heart this child was going to save me. Through out my pregnancy I had many ups and downs, I was working full time in retail, I found out I had gestational diabetes and my mother was beginning dialysis to combat her renal disease.
The 30th week of pregnancy I had been getting a lot of tightness around my belly. I just thought it was the baby moving a lot, it felt like he was pushing around in there. It was uncomfortable but I was able to go about my normal work schedule and help my mom with her doctors appointments. Then the day of my 7.5 month check up I picked up my mom for an appointment and felt pretty good, but my legs felt tighter, like they were swollen.
At my appointment later that day, the dr came in, took my blood pressure a couple times, and explained she was concerned about Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman whose blood pressure had been normal. Even a slight rise in blood pressure may be a sign of preeclampsia.
So she insisted I head over to the hospital to get monitored for a bit. She wanted me to take an ambulance but I insisted on driving myself, saying I was picking up my boyfriend on the way. We arrived at the hospital and got checked in. I got hooked up to a machine to monitor my baby and they took blood, and urine samples and an ultrasound. When the nurse came in, she said words I will never forget “You are having pre-term labor and Preeclampsia and will probably be having this baby with in the next 24-48hrs.”
I was shocked! I was in no way ready, I wasn’t ready to not be working, I had nothing ready for the baby other than a bassinet and some hand me down baby clothes. I was panicked!
Once I calmed down, I called and told work, then I was rushed in to a room where they hooked me up to a very painful IV, gave me steroid shots to hopefully help my babies lungs. And started me on a Magnesium sulfate iv to help prevent seizures from my high blood pressure. The first 24 hours was miserable. After that though my body settled down and I felt better. I was still taking the iv, and was on strict hospital bed rest, which I was not happy about! I still wanted to be working. My boyfriend was sort of supportive but went about his life and left me in the hospital to rest which I am glad for.
I ended up stable for 2 full weeks on bed rest, the Dr’s were very happy with how my baby was growing, and decided I would be ready for delivery at 34 weeks. They prepared me for potential complications but they felt since anytime they lowered my Magnesium IV, my blood pressure went up, the safest course was delivery.
I told my family and the plan was for everyone to come up the first thing in the morning. I was moved to a delivery room and they started the induction by giving me Cervidil to ready my cervix. After that was whirl wind, as soon as they did that, I started contracting, and my baby decided he didn’t like that and was in distress. I was rushed in to the operating room, and luckily my boyfriend and parents got there just in time to see me off to the room.
My baby boy entered the world at 1:03 am on November 9, 2004. He was screaming and everything! I was so drugged up I could barely give him a kiss as they rushed him off to the NICU while I was being sewn up. They said he was ok, but he was little and needed some evaluations to see how he was.
I woke up from the anesthesia the next morning still feeling numb from the spinal block, and all I could think about was when I could go see my baby. It was pure torture that they wouldn’t let me see him until I could walk. They brought me pictures and my boyfriend spent time with him. But it wasn’t good enough. I needed my baby!
Finally I was able to be there in the NICU and was so happy with the news. He was small only 3 lbs 12 oz. and needed to be fed through a tube in his nose but he was breathing on his own and no other complications. The next two weeks were spent at his bedside, watching him gain strength learn to drink out of a bottle and overcome the initial prognosis of spending 6 weeks in the NICU. We were discharged after only 2 weeks!
My son certainly gave me an adventure getting in to this world and he’s continued to keep me on my toes. He gave me the strength to leave a terrible relationship shortly after he was born. I was lucky to move on and leave that man in my past. I met a wonderful guy that has taken on the role of Dad to my son and they have a bond like no other. I’m blessed to have found the love of my life because my son helped me pursue a life better for him.
At 2 yrs old he was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing developmental disabilities and nerve-related symptoms. We’ve met so many families with the same syndrome and we’ve seen how these kids have overcome so much of what doctors would say they could or wouldn’t do. I’m absolutely amazed at how his birth story was only the start of him overcoming obstacles and charting his own path that does not go by what’s expected.
This inspiring birth story is from Shauna at www.happychaosfamily.com. Check out her blog to read more about this amazingly strong Mom and get recipes, fun DIY projects, healthy living tips and more!