Oh the worry I have been feeling since the moment I found out I was pregnant. I had been taking benzos for 9 years for my panic disorder and I knew I would have to detox. My baby’s health became my motivation to get off the meds and fight my anxiety. And boy has it been a struggle! I detoxed for two months, complete with nausea and anxiety and an overall icky feeling. Fighting the anxiety was tough since I kept bleeding during that time. I ran to my doctor countless times telling her something was wrong. Every time I was reassured that everything was fine and I didn’t need to worry.
During my 20 week ultrasound, I could tell by the doctor’s face that something wasn’t quite right. She really needs to work on her poker face! She led with “the baby appears to be perfect.” But I knew something tragic was coming, and I was right. My cervix had shortened to the point where it was almost non-existent. Without a cervix, there’s nothing to hold the baby in. I was sent home and told to rest.
After a week of bedrest at home, I started having an odd sensation in my lower abdomen. My mom and niece had come over to feed me lunch while my hubby was at work. I had my mom feel my belly and she told me to call my doctor right away. I’m glad I did. My doctor said to pack a bag and head to the hospital with a plan to be there for a long time. When my hubby got home from work, we made the 45 minute drive to the hospital. After another ultrasound, I was told that my cervix was even shorter than it was a week prior and that I would be on hospital bedrest for the duration of my pregnancy.
I was 21 weeks along at the time, so my baby boy wasn’t viable yet. I was told that if I were to go into labor, they wouldn’t do anything to save my son. I was devastated. I couldn’t wrap my head around what they were saying because I could feel him move and kick and I loved him more than anything. For the first three weeks of my hospital stay, I had to lie completely flat. Eating and drinking while lying flat were a huge challenge, but the migraines I had were even worse! I vlogged on my Youtube channel throughout that time. I’ll link my channel below.
Once we reached viability at 24 weeks, I was able to sit up in bed. That was the game changer I needed! I watched all 8 seasons of Dexter, played Solitaire and Wheel of Fortune on my iPad, colored, worked crossword puzzles, and watched a shit ton of Food Network. The boredom was real y’all! I fought panic attacks daily and worried about early labor a lot. Doctors from the NICU came in and told me horror stories that added to my anxiety. And then at 29 weeks, I went into labor.
I’ll never forget my experience with labor. It started as a cramp on a Sunday morning and progressed throughout the next day. My contractions were never picked up on the monitor, so everyone thought I was crazy. I called my husband on Monday afternoon crying. I said to him, “What if I’m in labor and they just don’t know it.” He got kind of pissy with me and said they would know and I need to calm down.
Later that night they checked to see if I was dilated, and I was. I was already 4 cm dilated and then everything started moving quickly. I called my husband to tell him I needed him at the hospital even though he had just made the long drive home to get some sleep. He didn’t understand what I was saying at first and then he realized I was, in fact, in labor. I was transferred from Antepartum to Labor and Delivery where I was placed on IV Magnesium and Clindamycin. Because I was only 29 weeks pregnant, they wanted to prevent infection and brain bleeds in my sweet baby boy. I’ve never been more scared in my life.
I had never seen a preemie before. I had no idea what to expect. Shane was born Tuesday afternoon. He was the tiniest human I had ever seen, and he was purple. They let me hold him for a brief minute and then they took him up to the NICU. My family followed him and left me alone. I had just had a baby and he was taken away and I was left alone to wonder if he was even going to survive. I didn’t know I could feel so helpless. A few minutes later I was transferred up to the Mother-Baby unit alone. All of the other moms were there with their babies and mine was upstairs, hopefully still alive. I couldn’t stop crying I was so sick with worry.
After I regained feeling in my legs and ate something, I was wheeled up to the NICU. I’ll never forget the shock I felt seeing my tiny baby boy lying there in an incubator with tubes and wires coming from everywhere. My heart sank and I cried. I cried tears of happiness that he was alive, and I cried tears of sorrow that I couldn’t stay with him, and I cried tears of angst because I knew we had a long road ahead of us.
Shane will be 18 months old tomorrow. Other than his lungs, he’s a perfect little boy. Developmentally he’s behind, but we’re working to catch him up. His little preemie lungs have struggled since the beginning. Today we’re starting an inhaled steroid to see if we can get him breathing better. I constantly worry about his health, and being a nurse makes it much worse. He catches everything he is exposed to, and the past 5 weeks have been a challenge with his health. He has food allergies and reactive airway disease. In the grand scheme of things, we are very fortunate. It could have been much worse with him being born at just 29 weeks gestation.
We’ve come along way, but as Shane’s mommy, it’s my job to worry about him. And I’m ok with that.