I was at 33 weeks when I went into labor with my 4th daughter, Sadie. I had been on bed rest but wasn’t dilated. I was listed as high risk after my many pre-term labors and complications. I went to the doctor the day before I went into labor and I wasn’t dilated at all. Everything was perfect! The next morning, I woke up feeling a little sick and headed to the hospital per my doctor’s orders. Come to find out, I was 3.5 cm dilated and contractions weren’t stopping.
A day later, at just 34 weeks, I welcomed Sadie Sara Grace, weighing 4lbs. 5oz. After delivery, I held her for literally 2 seconds before they immediately took her to the NICU. For 12 hours, I had no idea what was going on with my daughter, just procedure after procedure. They wouldn’t let my husband see her until about 10 hours after I delivered her. Finally, he was able to hold her, but I still hadn’t seen her since giving birth.
I immediately thought, “We’re not prepared for a preemie, not a NICU preemie.” I began to panic, as I didn’t know much of what was going on. Come to find out, she had some severe complications, went into shock and had to be revived for a few seconds after intubation. One of the many reasons I wasn’t able to hold her for 12 hours. After meeting with her team of doctors and nurses, I knew she would be in the best care, but I was still beyond freaking out to say the least. I remember reaching out to other moms that I knew had NICU babies, wondering how they got through it, wondering how I was going to get through it. The social media outpour of prayers was something I clearly remember, because they always made me feel better. Not to mention the fact that my baby was alive and eventually going to be just fine.
After 4 very long weeks in the NICU, we finally welcomed Sadie home with her little accessory — a heart monitor. However, we felt blessed she was able to be with us and fought through her journey. While I may be a pro when it comes to being a mom, I was not a pro at handling a preemie. I remember how hard leaving the hospital was without my baby. It is something that I can’t even explain. Holding back the tears every time I had to leave her behind was heart breaking. Knowing I had a baby but she was not with us, at home, like a new baby should be.
Here is what I wish I would have known when it comes to preparing for a preemie:
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