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Heather :: How I Became a Mother

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Heather’s Story

Growing up, I always dreamed of being a mom.  I rocked my baby dolls, played ‘house,’ and even diapered my brothers countless occasions.  In the middle of 2011, I started to get the itch to have a baby…and have it ASAP.  My hubby wanted to wait until December 2011 or early 2012 to start trying, but once I have my mind set on something – there’s no stopping me.  I had my positive pregnancy test September 2011.

The first two trimesters were like a dream.  From morning sickness, to ultrasounds, to first kicks, I soaked up every minute of it.  I stayed active by walking daily and attending pilates classes multiple times a week.  So when I was 30 weeks pregnant and my scale told me I’d gained 8 pounds over the course of a week, I was shocked.  I went to my routine OB appointment and was told then that the swelling indicated I may be in the beginning stages of pre-eclampsia.  I was sent to the hospital for testing but no tests showed official indicators, so I was sent home.

A week later, my doctor said my blood pressure was getting high and I needed to be on bed rest.  I spent one week on strict bed rest at home and went back to my doctor, fully expecting to hear that I could go back to work and all was normal.  So I was in for a shock when she sent me to the hospital for a 24 hour observation.  Still in denial, I instructed my husband to go home and bring me one outfit, so I could wear clean clothes when I went home the following day.  It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital with a baby still in utero.

Over the course of the next 24 hours, I had ultrasounds, blood drawn, and a urine catch.  And before the observation was even over, my doctor informed me that they were able to confirm I had pre-eclampsia and would not leave the hospital any time soon.  The goal was to keep my blood pressure under control and hopefully we wouldn’t have to deliver for 2 more weeks.

Preemie Ultrasound

I spent the following 5 days meeting with neonatologists, high risk OBs, and various other doctors to monitor the baby, myself, and our progress.  Though I had the process explained to me, nothing could’ve prepared me for what was to come.

I was hooked up to monitors twice a day to check the baby’s heartbeat and see if I was experiencing contractions.  Tuesday night, I was listening to the sweet pitter patter of my baby’s heart when I couldn’t hear anything anymore.  She’d been moving a lot, so I didn’t panic until I heard “Code X” announced over the speaker system and nurses and doctors rushed into my room.  They slipped an oxygen mask over my face and worked to find Skeeter’s heartbeat.  It finally returned and they determined she was probably squeezing her umbilical cord.  After a while of monitoring, I was instructed to go to sleep and not to worry.

On Thursday, I was informed that my kidneys were in distress.  They were not in failure, so the plan remained the same – wait and see.  I received surfactant shots to help mature her lungs, since she would more than likely be premature.

Friday night, my nurse informed me that I was not to eat anything after midnight until my OB came to see me with morning rounds.  They were concerned that I would have to deliver on Saturday.

I woke up the next morning, convinced my doctor would come in, tell me we’re going to wait, and I’d get my pancakes.  {Never get between a pregnant woman and her food!}  However, her normal time for morning rounds came and went and there was no visit.  I was told she was stuck in labor & delivery and would be in to see me as soon as possible.  Around 1 pm I was given an IV and ice chips to prevent dehydration.

At 3 pm, my OB made it to my room.  She’d consulted with the high risk OB, and they were in agreement that my baby wasn’t making any progress in the womb – so it was time to deliver.  I was given the option of a natural birth or a c-section.  Despite my original resistance, I decided to have a c-section.  I felt God telling me it was the right thing for me and my baby…and He was right.

I was wheeled into the operating room, and my sweet girl was born at 5:37 pm at 32 weeks gestation.  Her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, but she was miraculously breathing on her own.  We knew that because she came out screaming.  {I still thank God every time she cries.}  She weighed a tiny 3 pounds 5 ounces and was 16 inches long.  Once her neonatologists confirmed she was stable, they brought her in to meet me.  I held her for a few minutes before she was wheeled off to the NICU, and I was sent to recovery.

The next 24 hours were the hardest of my life {or so I thought at the time}.  My blood pressure wouldn’t stabilize and eventually reached dangerous levels.  I slept most of the time while the doctors tried to find the right combination of medications to return it to a safe level.

It finally returned to a reasonable level, and I was permitted to sit in a wheelchair and visit my daughter in the NICU.  So at 4 am, my mom wheeled me up to NICU Level II, and I was able to see and hold my beautiful tiny princess.  This moment is one I’ll always remember.  This is when I fell head over heels in love with her and became absolutely terrified for this little life.

Over the next few days, I eventually became well enough that I was able to wheel myself to the NICU without assistance.  I held her for as long as my weak arms would allow me.  I spent the rest of the time watching her through the incubator wall.

Four days after her birth, I was sent home without my baby – and THIS was actually the hardest time of my life.  I spent every available moment at the hospital and every time I left my baby over the next few weeks, my heart broke.  I was actually stopped by a nurse more than once to make sure I was okay because I sobbed so hard leaving the hospital.

After 25 long days of EKGs, feeding tubes, bradycardia, and {finally!} weight gain – I got to take my baby home.  I couldn’t imagine a more perfect little girl, and I thank God for her stubbornness that I know helped her fight to get healthy.  I am so blessed to be her mom.

Going Home From NICU

Know that I always answer emails – especially those from moms going through the same thing I experienced.  If you’re a NICU mom or think you will be a NICU mom, please feel free to email me.

Please Note :: Bassett Baby Planning is graciously sponsoring our ‘How I Became a Mother Series’…and we would not have it any other way!  We are passionate about all that they are doing for new and expecting moms, and we encourage you to contact them to help in your journey to becoming a mother too.

To learn more about Bassett Baby Planning

or schedule an appointment, please contact ::

855.455.BABY or info {at} bassettbabyplanning {dot} com

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18 Responses to Heather :: How I Became a Mother

  1. Meg O. November 18, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    Heather, this feels like this was YESTERDAY that this was all happening. Baby Skeeter has such an incredible story and is such a strong, healthy girl. Not to mention, you are an incredibly strong mama! I just love how you described her being born “screaming”. That is amazing how God gave her those powerful lungs for being such a tiny little girl.

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 18, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      I can’t help but laugh a little bit every time she throws a fit, because we were so concerned about her lungs before she was born. But that child has a set of pipes!

      And you’re right- it does feel like yesterday!!

  2. Kelly D
    Kelly D November 18, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Oh, sweet Skeeter – what an amazing story you have, and your mommy shares it so beautifully! You both are such an inspiration to all of the other preemie babes and moms out there!!

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

      Thank you Kelly! I love getting to share our story and support fellow preemie mommas!

  3. Lisa November 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    What a wonderful blessing Skeeter is! I love that precious baby!

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      She sure loves her Nana! (I do too!)

  4. Tiffanie V
    Tiffanie V November 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    I have tears in my eyes! Thank you for sharing your story and your raw emotions with us. What a blessing Skeeter is and what a blessing you are to others!

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      Thank you!! So many fellow NICU moms came out of the woodwork to offer me support. I just hope I’m able to help someone else the way they helped me.

  5. Katie November 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Meg is right, it really does still feel like yesterday, I even remember where I was when I found out you had the baby! You’re such a strong Momma, just like your girl. Poor Ben, he is totally going to have his hands full.

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

      Thank you for being there for me! And yes, I don’t think he’s ready for that little firecracker of ours. 😉

  6. Channing L November 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    My story with my Ellie is very similar to Skeeter’s! I thank God daily for my strong willed little miracle. And just so you know you are not the only momma that left doubled over crying. I had many of days like these as well. Love your story!

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      I’m so glad both of our tough girls are doing so well!

  7. Chelsea
    Chelsea January 29, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    How did I miss this amazing post?!?!? So happy you linked to it on your “Pregnancy after NICU” post today. I must have been super busy that week. What an amazing story. Little Skeeter is obviously a strong and tough little lady just like her momma!

  8. Jessica September 23, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    I love your story about your little fighter! I have a similar story as well. My 2nd child was a 33 weeker. My water broke for no valid reason – just did at 32 weeks. I was told I would be in the hospital until my baby arrived and had to get IV antibiotics to prevent infection as well as an ultrasound each day and remain hooked up to the monitors 2 hours on and 2 hours off every day. I was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom – which was frequent because of all the fluids they were pumping into my system. Many doctors visited to try and prepare us for a premature baby and what to expect. I have to say they had me pretty scared! One week after being hospitalized I went into labor and they didn’t even try to stop it because my water was already busted and the risk of infection was rising with each day. So he was delivered at exactly 33 weeks. He weighed 5 lbs. 11 oz. (very big for his age) and was 19 inches long. We were told that caucasion males were the most likely of all babies to have complication from premaurity and generally do not do well. I did recieve the steroid injections for his lungs my first 2 days I was in the hospital (thankfully). Even though he was big – he was long and skinny, skinny, skinny! I wondered if her would ever fill out a diaper – LOL! I laugh because my son is not in the 95th percentile for both weight and height! When he was born (c-section due to prior c-section) they wheeled him into my recovery room and he was screaming – he came out screaming and wouldn’t let go of the umbilical cord – he is a fighter! I’ll never forget when we locked eyes – he instantly stopped crying and I put my hand in his little heated hood bed and grabbed my thumb very tightly as if to say “It’s okay mom – I”m strong!” THe nursed had to literally pry his little hand from my thumb and they whisked him away to the NICU. 12 hours later I got to go see him and he was hooked up to IV’s and had a feeding tube in his nose and a elephant – looking mask over his face for oxygen (a c-pap machine). It was hard to see and I could not hold him that day. They had to get his oxygen levels stable and didn’t want to unhook him from the c-pap. Luckily they never had to put him on a venilator. By the next day he was on oxygen only and I was able to hold him and feed him through his little tube. I remained hospitialized for 4 days. When I had to go home without him it was painful – the hardest part. But I had an 18 month old daughter at home that I was dying to see so that made it easier! My son, Kaleb, stayed in teh NICU for 2 weeks – basically they were waiting for him to eat from bottles only and gain weight. He did really well – no complications and by three months he weighed 13 lbs and he hasn’t stopped growing fast since – he’s 7 now and doing great!

    My NICU experience doesn’t end there – 3 years later I had another son born at 35 weeks deue to premature labor. Given our previous experince, we expected our 35 weeker to do better – it wasn’t as scary this time. Boy, it funny how things work out – this little guy had to be on a ventilator and spent 3 weeks in the NICU. He weighed 6 lbs. 3 oz. at birth and he was also a fighter! I did not receive the steroid injections with him and that made a huge difference. But overall, he did great and came home with us when he started gaining weight and his breathing was stabilized.

    Both of my boys are such a blessing and I was just so thankful both of them were stong and healthy enough to overcome their early arrivals.

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