Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight For Preemies!

The blogosphere is taking today to bring awareness to premature birth and all that comes with it. As a mom to preemies, I am joining to share a bit of what it was what like to have preemies and why it's important an issue.

Up until 34 weeks and 2 days, I had a picture perfect twin pregnancy. I had appropriate weight gain, mild symptoms, no high blood pressure, no swelling, no gestational diabetes. My babies were growing and developing well inside me. All was good in the world. And then I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. They admitted me to the hospital and shortly discovered that my kidneys and liver were under a lot of stress and very close to failing. 2 days later, at 34 weeks, 4 days, I had an emergency c-section and delivered two healthy, yet premature, babies. One boy and one girl, as you already know.

All in all, our experience was not so scary our harrowing. Both Sebastian and Collette could breathe on their own and regulate their own body temperature. They didn't need light therapy for jaundice. But they were small. And lazy. They just weren't ready to be born. So, dubbed "feeders and growers" they stayed in the NICU for almost 2 weeks, learning how to eat without dozing off. They came home and did great but their prematurity and time in the NICU taught us to deal with parenting in a way we wouldn't have done otherwise. It impacted my ability to breastfeed, it still makes me nervous about eating enough and affects how we look at (and worry about) milestones.

Additionally, I have still not recovered from that fact that my body betrayed me. I truly thought I would be one of those moms who made it to 37 or 38 weeks. I was walking around, working, driving - I had no signs that I would have this happen to me. And worse yet, no one knows what exactly causes preeclampsia - although there are many theories out there. They know the risk factors (multiple pregnancy being one of them) but they can't tell you why it happens. And sadly, this disease causes a lot of premature births, as the only "cure" is delivery. I hope that the research they are doing will help shed some light on this disease but for now, the best medicine is regular prenatal care. You never know when your blood pressure will spike, as mine did, or when protein will show up in your urine, like mine did. That OB visit probably saved my life, and my babies' lives - just one example of how vital prenatal care is.

Please visit the March of Dimes to learn more about the wonderful work they do!


  1. Boy does your post resonate with me. With Michael, I made it to 38 weeks but after bed rest for 6 and 1 weeks of being hospitalized and at least 3 OB/ultrasound/NST a week. I ended up on BP meds through the twins pregnancy on bed rest from week 23 for risk of pre term labor, then at 35 weeks 4 days delivered because of the reasons you stated. I was almost able to attempt a VBAC, but it was not recommended since Thomas was breech. I also have thoughts about their preemie status and how it will impact them, but so far the only slight issue seems to be with respiratory issues related to cold, but this is more due to RSV vs Preemie status, though they probably got the RSV more readily due to their preemie status!

  2. I feel like my body betrayed us too, and I still haven't quite got past it. It's even impacted my marriage, because I was so revolted by my traitorous body that I didn't want my husband to touch me.

    There's a New York Times article on PTSD in parents who've been through the NICU wringer that's just fascinating.

  3. Also a NICU mom. Also felt betrayed. I'm over it now though since my boys are so much older.

  4. Thank you Nicole for this sweet post. The pictures, especially the one of the foot next to your fingers, tell so much. I'm so glad your children are OK today.

    A lot of women struggle with the feeling that their body failed them. It can take along time to come to grips with that. Thanks for mentionig it and for lettng others know that they are not alone if they feel that way.

    Thank you for posting on this important topic and for encouraging others to learn more and to fight for peemies.

  5. I developed high BP early on in my pregnancy, but they controlled it with a safe-for-baby-medication. I worked up until 34 weeks when my BP started to rise -- I work in a research lab, so I was always running (or waddling) around. Then, 5 days later, (the day before Thanksgiving) my OB called to say they found protein in my urine and that they wanted me at Beth Israel for a 24 hour urine collection. When I got there, they tested again and found that the protein levels had tripled since the day before and my BP was much too high. C-section 8 hours later, and the twins arrived. They could breathe on their own, but Ava needed to be in a warmer because she was too small to regulate her heat. I was hospitalized for 1 week because although the pre-eclampsia was clearing, my BP was too high, so they had to try a bunch of different meds. I was so sick and I would go up to the NICU, and I felt as though I couldn't care for them because my head hurt and I was so dizzy. I felt like a failure along with all the typical post-partum stuff I had to deal with. But I got through it. I still long for a normal pregnancy, but I just take one long look at the babies and know that it doesn't really matter.

  6. Hi, Wow, I could have written this post myself! I had a great pregnancy with my twins until 32 weeks when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. After two weeks of hospital bedrest, my girls were born at 34w6d and spent 2 weeks in the feed and grow room. Like yours, thanksfully, they didn't have breathing or temp issues - were just small and weak. And like you, their 2 week NICU stay ruined my chances of breastfeeding - something that has taken me a long time to come to terms with.

    I've only been able to recently write about or talk about the experience because I was so depressed about it. Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. Jason here from BloggersUnite. Thanks for being part of the BloggersUnite event, sharing your story and helping to raise awareness for the March of Dimes and all they do.


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