Do you have a preemie baby? Is your baby(ies) currently in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)? Or have you been told by the doctors that you may not be able to carry your baby till full term due to one complication or the other? You are not alone!
Every year, about half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States, and the numbers are increasing by the day. But the good news is most of these babies come out healthy and strong.
There are millions of women out there who’ve had to go through the pains of having their babies in the NICU, and one of them is Christa, who had four of her kids before full term. She writes about her experience;
I never thought I would have 4 amazing children ever and including twins!! I am still in disbelief but I am so blessed. This journey like most journeys was not easy and included many tears and heartbreak but I would not change a thing. I am so happy to share my experience on how I became a mother of four.
I’ve always known I wanted children but of course I didn’t think I would have them as earlier on as I did. My first and only daughter was born my senior year of college. Not ideal for my family or me…so we thought. Three months later my mother lost her life to breast cancer and it was then that we learned my daughter came here for a reason. Definitely God sent us a miracle that would help me through this difficult time in my life. She was the easiest birth and pregnancy I ever had. She did come at 32 weeks but we know that God wanted her to spend time with her grandmother. I went into labor with her early on a Monday morning, I received an epidural and then it was time to push. No pain, no feeling just an easy birth. She was in the NICU for 3 weeks and then our baby girl Jada Christina Williams was able to come home and spend time with my mom in which I am so grateful for.
Fast forward to 4 years later, my husband and I are now married for a few months and I am eager to have another child. We’ve already had one so it should be super easy to have another [Boy were we wrong]. I found out I was pregnant a month after trying. I was so excited but I wanted to wait to tell my husband as when I went to the doctor they told me because my daughter was born so early that this child would be at risk of being born prematurely as well. This scared me and I needed time to process and to figure out how to tell my husband. Well a few months went by and I began cramping terribly. I quickly made an appointment and went to the doctor and they told me I was miscarrying. My husband had no idea I was pregnant but I had to tell him what was happening. We made the decision to miscarry quietly at home. A very traumatic experience for me; for both of us. We decided to try again although I was told to wait and let my body rest but I was eager and knew that having a child would ease the pain of the one I just lost. We were pregnant again soon after. I went to the doctor weekly for progesterone shots to try to prevent early labor but at 30 weeks, after dropping my daughter off for her first day of Kindergarten, I took a nap and awakened to blood. Not much but enough to call my doctor. The nurse told me she would page the doctor and to wait a few for her call but not 2 minutes later I began bleeding a lot and I grabbed my purse and my sister-in-law and drove myself to the hospital. Just 10 min it took me. No traffic. As I walked into labor and delivery, I began changing my clothes I also began gushing blood uncontrollable. I mean a pool of blood. Here is when they pressed that red button on the wall and all I heard was “code blue, code blue”. It took seconds for them to rush me into the operating room and for them to tell me that they would have to take my baby. All I had time to do was say a quick prayer and honestly I prayed to God to take care of my family as I just knew that this would be my last time awake. It felt like minutes later and my doctor awakened me saying, “hey you have a beautiful baby boy born before I made it”. My husband was sitting next to me as he made it to the hospital when I was already in surgery. It was said that my blood pressure had went up to 200, which caused my placenta to split. If I had not gone to the hospital when I did, the baby nor I would have made it. Preeclampsia is the definition. We hadn’t seen the NICU in 5 years but we were still familiar and we were there everyday for 6 weeks until our sweet baby boy, Carter Jonah Williams came home.
We of course discussed with our doctor and each other about having more children. Though it definitely was a possibility we were to be aware of the fact that another child would potentially be in the NICU but with care from high risk we are still able to have another healthy child. We wanted a big family but the risk factors scared us.
Two years later we found out I was pregnant again. We were nervous. I began getting extremely sick and could barely move in and out of the bed. I made an appointment with my usual doctor and he could not get me in until I was 10 weeks! I decided to make an appointment with the high risk doctors and they did not have an appointment until later. So we waited and finally the day came to see my regular doctor. I ended up getting an ultrasound before my appointment. Nervous and sure something was wrong, I expected the worse at the appointment. As the ultrasound tech began her scan, she quickly advised us that she had to step out. She returned 10 minutes later with a lady she introduced as a doctor. She began doing her scan and said “Welp guys, looks like you’re having twins!” In total shock, we said nothing for so long that she had to ask if we were ok. This explained why I was so sick. A relief but also we were even more nervous. A couple of weeks later we saw our high-risk doctor whom told us our options and what to expect. I was monitored very closely. At 27 weeks, my blood pressure began to rise and we were at the point of if it does not go down in 2 days they would admit me. I called in that morning to let them know my pressure and they were relieved that it had gone down a little but I was to keep monitoring it. 2 hours later during a nap, my water broke. My husband got home from work in 5 minutes and took me to the hospital. This birth he was there for in which it was all I asked for. The last 2 he could not make it as the first he lived in NC and the second happened so quickly but this one he was able to stay and be with me the entire time. I felt everything this time. I did not feel any contractions until it was too late and by the time I could get an epidural little baby A (Jackson) was crowning. I literally held him in with my hand and my muscles until they rolled me and gave me a spinal for my C-section. Having contractions, holding a baby in all while having to sit still for a spinal is very hard but 1hr later both of my baby boys were here, Jackson Channing Williams and Jameson Chandler Williams. We spent over 2 months in the NICU this time. The boys were born July 6 and came home the day after our 4-year wedding anniversary on September 22nd. I remember because we went to a really nice restaurant not too far from the NICU and after celebrating we did not go home but spent the night at the NICU.
Journey to having a family that was ordained for you is hardly ever easy. There are so many unique stories but the best thing is that all of these stories will help someone at least I hope mine does. At the very least I have faith that it gives someone hope or just gives an opportunity for someone to reach out if they need a shoulder. I’ve learned that I am so much stronger than I ever knew and that what I may have planned for, something greater always happens. We may not know the reasoning behind our struggles right away but eventually we will see the light.
Thanks for reading!
Christa is a Chicago based coffee reliant, target-obsessed work at home mom to 4 children (2 singletons and a set of twins). She is married to a Jimmy Johns rock star who supports her and her crazy adventures. When she is not “mommmin’” and running to target, she is in her studio creating and hand making invitations and styling parties. You can find Christa on her blog The Williams Party.
P:s: If you’ve had a premature baby in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and would like to share your experience with us and other moms, please feel free to send us an email: [email protected]