When I was 4 months pregnant, my blood work came back with an elevated AFP level, which could lead to spina bifida.
I was nervous, however, I went to a specialist that looked at the baby and she was perfectly healthy and growing.
They did say I may have a problem with my placenta in the third trimester, but I didn’t think about it again.
I was happy. A few weeks later, I started bleeding and went to labor and delivery. I was only 19 weeks pregnant.
I was diagnosed with placenta previa. Placenta previa is harmful to the mother and my life was their priority. I was told there is nothing medically the hospital could do for a baby at 19 weeks and they put me on bed rest.
I went home and rested. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. Five days later, I was back in the hospital. I stayed in the high risk perinatal unit (HRP) for five-and-a-half weeks. It is hard to rest when you have a family at home and a job. Luckily, I had support from my husband and my mother. My mother came from out of town and watched my 3-year-old son, so my husband would be with me at the hospital. My son had to go to Kentucky to stay with my mom because she takes care of my stepfather who can’t travel.
I was having a good week, and we decided my husband would go to Ky. to see our son for the weekend. That same day, I started hemorrhaging and I was transferred from HRP to labor and delivery. The only thing that stops the hemorrhaging is removing the placenta, which means delivering the baby. I hemorrhaged for 8 hours and then went into labor. At 3:43 a.m. Kylie Black was born. It was an emergency C-section. When I woke up, I didn’t know what had happened to me or my baby. My baby was born at 24 weeks and 5 days.
That was the easy part. Kylie weighed 1 pound and 9 ounces when she was born. I had a friend from high school who lost a child weighing 1 pound so I was terrified. In HRP, a mom said, trust me you would rather be in HRP then to be in NICU. She was right. You never want to see your child hooked up to machines. You wish that it was you instead of them.
My maternity leave started now, I had three months before I had to return to work. However, I was told the soonest my child would come home was her due date.
That meant I wouldn’t have any time with her when she came home. I decided to split my time. I would recover from the C-section then return to work. This way when she came home, I would have 6 weeks to be with her.
So for 2 months, I drove an hour, dropping my son off at daycare then going to the hospital to spend time with Kylie. Then leave before traffic got crazy to pick up my son and come home. I would try to go back to the hospital at night, but I wasn’t always able.
After that I started back to work, I would get up go to work, pick up my son then we would go to the hospital. The amount of stress, guilt, fear, love, helplessness you feel when your baby is in the NICU can’t be explained and I was one of the lucky ones, Kylie didn’t have many issues for a 24 weeker.
Kylie is now five-and-a-half months old and back in the hospital at CHOA. She has RSV, a “cold.” She is on the road to recovery and should be home next week. These babies are so strong and are fighters and so are the families. She has already taught me so much about myself, my family and I look forward to the years to come.