Favorite book or toy: 101 Dalmatians
My water broke when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Theo. We were admitted to St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital and I was put on strict bed rest at the hospital – no getting up to go to the bathroom, no showering, no sitting up and no walking.
We met with daily with our OB-GYN and various other doctors including perinatologists and neonatologists, and had very difficult conversations about the fate of our baby. I was put on IV fluids and antibiotics to prevent infection. The odds were I would go into labor before Theo reached viability or if we did reached viability, our baby would be very sick, with a host of health problems. Despite all of this, we stayed positive and became determined to do everything in our power to save our baby!
During my hospital stay, we received such amazing support from family, friends, hospital staff and High Risk Hope. I truly believe this support enabled us to remain positive about our outcome and ‘keep our eyes on the prize.’ Family and friends made us dinners, had hospital slumber parties and helped my husband care for our two year old son at home.
We marked our bed rest milestones with little celebrations and kept working to get to 24 weeks gestation, which is when we would receive the all-important steroid shots to help Theo’s lungs get stronger. Following a bout with a terrible stomach bug, my OB gave us our first round of steroids when I was 23 weeks, 4 days pregnant. I got the next round at 23 weeks, 5 days.
The evening I got the second steroid shot I began to have consistent contractions. As the contractions got stronger and closer together, the doctor took us down to Labor & Delivery to ‘monitor’ us for the night. I knew what was happening – I was going to have my baby that night and we wouldn’t know if he was going to survive.
After laboring for about three hours, Theo was born at 23 weeks, 5 days, and weighed 1 pound 8 ounces. The delivery room was silent – no baby crying and the NICU team quietly worked to begin prepping Theo for his journey up to the NICU. We would have to wait until he was stabilized to go up and see him.
Several hours later, we were able to go up and visit our baby. My husband wheeled me over to his dark room and incubator. I saw his tiny toes poking out of the plastic he was wrapped in and felt an overwhelming sense of joy. There was our baby that we fought so hard for!! We did not think about our long road in the NICU.
As so many NICU parents, nurses, doctors and social workers will tell you – the NICU is a LONG roller coaster ride. The ups and downs can change in an instant, with your baby fighting to live and enduring painful surgeries and procedures on their tiny bodies. During this time, I reached out to High Risk Hope after reading Heather’s similar story about hospital bed rest.
My mother and I volunteered to meet at Heather’s house for HRH’s ‘packing party’ where we would assemble Bed Rest Baskets and NICU Napsacks for families on hospital bed rest and in the NICU. When I met Heather and a few of the other volunteers I instantly felt like someone actually understood what we were going through. Theo was still only about a month old and things were very intense in the NICU. The HRH volunteers rallied around us, offering to chat, get coffee and share their experiences. It was amazing!!!
We rode the NICU roller coaster for 113 days with good days, terrifying days and surprisingly normal days. We learned how to feed Theo, make him feel comfortable and connect with him even though he was in his incubator.
On April 3, 2012, Theo came home to his family! I was so nervous since he was on oxygen, a pulse Ox and an apnea monitor, but I quickly learned how to work with the devices and felt confident. Slowly but surely, Theo got better and better although we are still working to catch up. He is thriving!
My family and I are so proud of Theo’s strength and determination to survive. He did not give up and neither did we and that is my proudest moment.
What did HRH’s support mean to your family during your hospital stay?
HRH was incredibly supportive throughout our time on bed rest and in the NICU. From the Bed Rest Basket to NICU Napsack to connecting with other moms, HRH is such an amazing support system for parents experience high risk pregnancy and long NICU stays.
Why do you Trot?
My family supports HRH and participates in the Tot Trot to give back to an organization that has supported us in very difficult times. We also love that HRH sheds light on high risk pregnancies and lengthy NICU stays, since many people do not understand what it’s like to go through these obstacles.
Have a similar story? We would love to hear it!