I write a lot about Owen’s preeminess, but not nearly as much about Kellen being a preemie. The fact is, their stories are nearly impossible to relate. Kellen was star pupil 34 weeker that spent ten days in the hospital. His hospital stay felt like the world’s longest ten days, but as I compare them to any given ten days of Owen’s stay, they were pretty uneventful; bilirubin lights, NG (feeding tube through nose) as he learned to absorb food and waiting for my breast milk to come in enough that he could get all his nutrition from me. Once we left the hospital, we had a couple of nurse visits for the RSV protector, Synagis, and that was it from a medical stand point. Developmentally, Kellen tended to be more in line with his corrected age than his actual age, but he never needed therapies and by the time he started his current school at 16 months, a few of the teachers were surprised to learn that he was a preemie.
Kellen’s story is the ideal preemie story and not really the typical preemie story, even for a late-term preemie. I’m not sure we really appreciated how well he did until we started to meet other late-term preemie families in the NICU with Owen. 6lbs 2 oz is a very large 34 week baby and only ten days in the NICU is about as short as we’ve heard.
However, just like Owen’s relatively uneventful delivery did not predict an easy hospital stay, Kellen’s uneventful hospital stay was not preceded by an easy delivery. I’ve talked before about having “techno color memories” of some of the harder moments with Owen, but I also have those deeply engrained, fear filled memories with Kellen. I still think back to the hours leading up to his delivery and shake my head…how could it be?
I went to my regularly scheduled OB appointment on a Tuesday, exactly 34 weeks. It was found that I had some elevated protein in my urine, but my blood pressures looked great and I didn’t have excessive swelling so she assumed it was probably an UTI but also told me that I should be followed more closely since that could also be a sign of preeclampsia. I went home thinking I didn’t feel like I had a bladder infection, but took the antibiotics. The next morning, however, I did feel like I had a bladder infection and overall did not feel very well. Knowing I was on a preeclampsia watch, I called into work that day and stayed in bed. Thursday, I got up early and went to work at 6AM. Just before I left, I woke up Kyle and said, “keep your phone on you today, I’m going to call the doctor. Something just doesn’t feel right. Don’t worry, I’m not in labor, but I have a feeling I’m going to end up on bed rest” Once the doctor’s office opened, I called them and said, “this doesn’t feel like a bladder infection, I’m not having contractions, it’s a steady ache, but it hurts more than a bladder infection”. The nurse noted that my full lab results should be complete and so she checked them and said, “Your test came back negative, you don’t have an UTI. I think we should see you today”. I scheduled for the latest appointment they could give me, I had a lot going on at work and really feared the idea of bed rest.
My OB doesn’t work on Thursday so I saw another OB in the office. She listened to my story and told me I should have my cervix checked, “maybe you are starting to thin or dilate”. I laid on the table and will never ever forget the look of surprise on her face when she said, “you’re 8 cm” I stared at her and she stared down at me, with almost a confused look on her face. Clearly, that’s not what she expected to find. A woman in front of her that was showing no signs of laboring but she was nearly complete. She said, “let me check that again”. More confidently this time, she said, “yes, you are 8 cm dilated. You need to get next door to the hospital; your baby is coming today”. I stared at her filled with shock and fear and then I did what I have never spontaneously done before, or since – I felt the sob catch in my throat and instantly started to cry.
The worst case scenario was supposed to be bed rest; she wasn’t supposed to tell me that my baby was coming too soon. “Please, God, let him be okay.”
To Be Continued…
PS – sorry for the TBC, but this post got too long for anyone’s attention span to read in one day. I will post the rest of the story tomorrow.© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster