This post was inspired by my collaboration with Bonfils Blood Center, a company dedicated to saving lives through blood donations. #BeImpulsive. Everything about our preemie birth story is true. All opinions are mine alone. Visit BeImpulsiveRSVP.com to learn how you can save up to three lives by donating blood.
No one could have known what was going to happen on a chilly night in the Rockies on April 17. Just two days earlier… I had checked out fine. Blood pressure: normal. Heart Rate: normal. Baby boy in my belly: normal.
Everything seemed fine.
But something, or maybe I should say, someone, had had enough of this pregnancy. And he was about to make his desires known to the rest of us…
Preparing for Baby
On Friday morning, April 17, my mom and I spent the day shopping for baby gear. Our plan was to set up the nursery and attend my first ever baby shower on Saturday. My mom had flown in for the baby shower and we were both very excited to see my friends and celebrate my long-hoped for successful pregnancy.
We wrapped up our Friday excursion with a nice meal and an early bedtime. I was feeling tired and went to bed around 10 pm.
Just Arrived: A Powerful Preemie Birth Story
I was 30 weeks pregnant and awoke at midnight on that same Friday night in a pool of water on my bed. Fortunately, I’d laid down some plastic sheet protectors to protect the bedding. I waddled over to my mother’s bed and let her know about my water breaking. She was a little worried, but thanks to some Bradley courses I’d taken with my husband, I knew we had a little bit of time to gather our things before leaving for the hospital.
I wasn’t in any pain and there weren’t any contractions I could feel, so I figured they would put me on bed rest for a few weeks. We left for the hospital in the rain and I wound up driving since my mom was not familiar with the area.
My husband had left only a day or two before and was over 1,000 miles away to cycle in an MS 150 bicycle race. I managed to get ahold of him once we got to the hospital and let him know that my water had broken and that I’d started contractions. My husband could tell by the pain in my voice that he needed to get home right away.
Trying to Slow Contractions
The doctors and nurses put me on medication in an attempt to slow my contractions and give our son a chance to stay inside me for a little longer. The meds slowed my contractions but they made me very nauseated.
The next day, Saturday, was my baby shower. Nearly 30 friends were gathering at my girlfriend’s house to bless our family with gifts. But I was in the hospital! My doula called my girlfriend Cheryl and let her know about the situation and they postponed the shower – everything hinged on the arrival of our baby and we were all anxious about the arrival. Would he come today or could the doctors postpone his arrival? No one knew.
My husband arrived from the airport at 10 am. Somehow he’d managed to catch a same day flight and make it to the hospital. His arrival was a tremendous relief for me since he was not only my husband and the daddy – he was also my birth coach.
Will the baby be born today?
Even though my contractions had slowed, I was contracting all day. Pastors from our church visited to pray for us and we made it through the day with long, slow contractions, anti-nausea medication, and a mild medication for pain. My mom was a tremendous help – getting food and water for us and being available to help any way she could. I highly recommend a birth team if you’re expecting – it made a world of difference for me.
That evening my contractions were 22 minutes apart. Everything seemed to be winding down and the doctors gave me a medication to help me sleep. Even my doula – with children of her own, left to go home. My husband stayed with me along with one of my closest girlfriends.
The Preemie Baby is Coming NOW
Sometime around 11 pm I woke with sharp contractions. I told my husband to “get the doctor now!” Even in my drug-induced sleep I could feel a tremendous weight on my lower region and I knew it was my baby – I needed help and I needed it fast!
Trust me in this: Your motherly instinct is a POWERFUL thing. Trust it when it comes to you and your baby.
I waited for what seemed like an eternity and the nurse finally checked me only to discover that I was 10 centimeters. The nurse looked at my husband and said, “We are going to have this baby right now.” My husband says he quaked in his knees.
A Preemie Birth at 30 Weeks
My girlfriend left to get my doula and mom, and the nurse went to find my doctor. A team of people moved me from my quiet waiting room to a delivery room with lots of bright lights and a more sterile environment.
Our first born baby boy was born in the wee hours of the night. We could only hold him for a short moment before a NASCAR pit crew whisked him away to get him breathing.
Our son weighed just a little over 3 lbs. My husband never left his side and made sure the doctors and nurses took good care of him every step of the way from my womb to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) incubator. He was fed via a feeding tube and was on oxygen for months before he could breathe on his own.
Preemie Babies Need Blood
When our son was about two weeks old, the nurses came to us very concerned. Our son’s red blood cell count was low. He was showing symptoms of anemia (less red blood cells than normal). His body was struggling to create enough red blood cells and a blood transfusion could be needed. My husband volunteered to donate. And we waited to see if our son could make enough red blood cells on his own.
Do you know how important blood cells are for preemies?
Blood saves lives. You don’t have to be a superhero to save the life of a preemie baby. It is so easy to donate and it’s a simple click to set it up. How can YOU get involved? Just vist BeImpulsiveRSVP.com and sign up online, and in less than one hour, and with one blood donation, you can save up to three lives. #BeImpulsive.
The six and half weeks in the NICU were like a roller coaster ride. Some days our son was wiggly and eating great, and other days he seemed sick and would not eat. Everything in me was tested – I realized very quickly how helpless I am, and how important it is to have a relationship with the good Lord – especially when you are enduring a trial of parenthood.
A Preemie Baby Grows Up
Today my son is happy and healthy, a little boy growing into a man. Despite the rocky beginning, I’d do it all again 100 times over to have and hold my beautiful son. He is an absolute treasure. I count my two boys as my life’s greatest accomplishments. They truly give more meaning to my life. And I’m incredibly thankful for the doctors, nurses, and blood donors who save the lives of children through their generous giving, and service, every day.
Thinking of Making a Life-Giving Blood Donation?
Please visit BeImpulsiveRSVP.com and learn more about blood donation. Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion of donated blood. One in 7 people entering the hospital needs a blood transfusion, and one whole blood donation has the potential to help up to three patients. Your small gift could make you part of a powerful preemie birth story and change the lives of a mommy and her baby.
Are you pregnant or do you have a preemie?
Our preemie changed my life forever – in a good way. I am so passionate about helping other moms thanks to my precious miracle sons. If you are pregnant or if you’ve given birth to a preemie, I’ve shared every single thing I learned about caring for babies and adapting to life with a baby in my book Baby Ready.
Do you have a birth story to share? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your story.
P.S. – I blog to encourage moms, offer free preschool tools, and share ideas for family fun. If you enjoy free recipes, printables, crafts and games for little ones, ideas for family fun and encouraging posts for moms, sign up and have Happy and Blessed Home delivered to your inbox. Simply enter your e-mail address here: