Big, strong 35 week preemie.

Third baby. Third preemie. Spontaneous labor, 35 weeks. Midwife. No epidural. Vaginal. Hospital. Fast. NICU. Posted with permission.


Throughout my pregnancy, I (and tons of other people!) prayed and prayed to make it to at least 35 weeks.  June 30th marked 35 weeks and sure enough, that night I started having regular contractions. They came every 10 minutes for a couple hours.  I called my midwife and she suggested I hang out a few more hours and see what happened.  If the contractions continued at 10 minute intervals, I was to try taking the med she had given me to make contractions stop.  If they got closer than 10 minutes, I was to go into the hospital.  I called my mom and asked her to come over so she could stay with our other kids.  I say "come over" like she lives next door.  It was a four hour trip.  She arrived at 3 a.m.  By that time, my contractions had stopped on their own.  I felt so bad that she had driven all night for nothing!  This was my third baby, I ought to have had a better idea of what was going on, right?  She, of course, didn't mind and was happy to be there.

By morning, I noticed I was feeling a little crampy.  I had a pre-admission phone appointment with the hospital that morning, so I told the nurse what was going on.  She suggested I call my midwife as soon as I got off the phone.  My midwife wanted me in her office asap.  I got there about 11:00 a.m.  I sat on the monitor for a while and learned my contractions were now 9 minutes apart.  Other than feeling a little crampy, I honestly felt great.  She wanted to check to see if I was dilated.  Before she did, she asked me if I thought baby was on his/her way (I love that about my midwife - she sincerely takes into account my opinion of what's going on).  I told her yes, but looking back, I don't really know why.  Well, sure enough, I was dilated to 6 cm!!  SIX!!  I couldn't believe it!  I didn't even feel like I was in labor.  I am so very thankful the hospital nurse had me call my midwife.

I was sent to the hospital.  I laughed on the way there because out of three kids, this was now my second time of driving myself to the hospital.  Really seems like a shabby deal!  I got to the hospital shortly after noon.  My husband had a big project he was working on that day.  In fact, he had told me the night before that I COULD NOT have a baby the next day.  So, naturally, baby decides to arrive then. :)  My midwife had decided that since I was slowly progressing, she'd let me go along at that pace until my husband was able to finish his work and get to the hospital.  She'd break my water once he arrived. Sounded like a great plan.  However, after an hour of sitting in the hospital, baby's heart rate took a nose dive.  The room was flooded with nurses and I was put on oxygen and flipped from side to side trying to remedy the situation.  Baby's heart rate stayed low for 5 minutes.  The specialist I had seen throughout my pregnancy, Dr. K, was called in.  He started talking about an emergency c-section and asked one of the nurses to call anesthesia.  I was terrified.  And alone.  Dr. K opted to first try breaking my water to see if that would help.  That was shortly after 1:00.  Praise the Lord, baby's heart rate came back up and I was allowed to continue laboring.  Things settled down and everyone left me to check on other patients.  I think that was almost as bad as the panic of the heart rate drop.  I was quite definitely in labor at that point.  After a few minutes, I called the nurse back in.  This baby was going to be here soon!  Where was my midwife?  Where was my husband?  It seemed like forever, but it probably wasn't all that long before my midwife walked in.  I was so thankful to see her!  I had gotten ahold of my husband and he was still a long ways from the hospital.  My midwife informed me that he would not make it in time.  She had me roll onto my side to give baby the final twist needed to get me to a 10. That did the trick!  A few minutes later at 2:03 p.m., Baby S arrived.  A 5 lb 5 oz girl!!  I was ecstatic.  I remember hugging the nurse's arm, I was so happy.  Unlike my other kiddos, Baby S was big enough and strong enough to lay on my chest for a minute before heading off to the NICU.  I will never forget that moment.

My husband arrived about 15 minutes later.  I feel bad that he missed the birth.  It was no one's fault, just the way things worked out.

Baby S has spent the past 2+ weeks in the NICU.  We would have never guessed that she'd be there this long.  We were originally told 3-5 days.  There isn't anything wrong with her, for which we are so thankful, she is just having a hard time learning to eat.  She wears out very quickly.  When she gets too tired, she forgets to breathe.  So eating and breathing are the things keeping her in the hospital.  At first I was pretty upset that my 35 week baby was having to spend so much time in the NICU.  I had prayed and prayed for God to give us a big, strong baby.  Nobody really expected me to make it to 35 weeks, given my history of preemies, so wouldn't God receive so much glory and praise if I made it full term?  Maybe, but He had other plans.

Joyce Dykema