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    Posted December 3, 2012 by
    Waverly, West Virginia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    How did pregnancy change you?

    When Your Birthday is Early


    I was a healthy active 35 year old woman who found out two days before the holidays that I was having a healthy baby boy and would be due in June. Ecstatic I created a fun scene on blue paper and without any words tucked it in an envelope for each family member to open together. (This wasn't my first pregnancy, but I lost my daughter who was born too early....a miscarriage.)


    All was going well, my doctor said my pregnancy was coming along well and an amniocentesis provided the proof that I was going to have a healthy boy...a relief at my age.


    More doctor's appointments, more good news...all is well still. As I left my doctor's appointment I was treated to lunch by a friend. I started getting a bit of cramping and figured the rich alfredo sauce was disagreeing with me. I called the hospital a couple of times when the cramping didn't go away and after 9 hours and every safe remedy for gas we all got a bit anxious....what if the baby is coming early.


    I am rushed to my local hospital who confirms the worst...I am in early labor and not even at the end of my 2nd trimester....I am only at 26 weeks. They called for life flight, but due to poor weather they were grounded. My son can not be born at this small town hospital...they aren't capable of keeping a baby that small alive. I am sent by squad 2.5 hours away. Luckily the contractions are stopped.


    Now I am on bed rest for the next 3.5 months at the hospital. This was on a Thursday. Sunday as I am watching TV with my husband I start cramping again. The contraction monitor doesn't show it is contractions, so the staff says it is just my intestines moving. A while later I am diving for the toilet in a full sweat and my water breaks...my son's feet are hanging out. I go into shock.


    My husband, a former fire fighter/EMT rushes into action....gets me on the bed and is wheeling it into the hallway as our son's chest is delivered....the nurses are now scrambling...our son isn't expected to live coming this early. If he does, he will have all sorts of disabilities. As Scott, my husband, pushes the bed down the hall in a full sprint our son's shoulders are delivered...now he is stuck and dying. NICU is called and the nurses are trying to get an airway for my baby while teaching me how to push. Two attempts and my grey lifeless son is rushed away. As the nurses are trying to safe my life I can't see my son...I can't hear him crying....the nurses silently work on him...trying to revive him. Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime I hear the smallest sound I've ever heard...my son cry...it was also the most thunderous of sounds I am sure to ever hear....my son is alive! I look up and through the throng of nurses I see his tiny pink fist in the air. No more than a handful I see a head full of black hair rushed past me and to the NICU. I don't get to see him for two days.


    The first time I get to see him he is breathing on his own. I am stunned at how small he is, how beautiful he is. I want to touch him, hold him, let him know Mommy is here, but I am not allowed. Suddenly alarms are going off. I look up and see my son's heart rate dropping rapidly and his oxygen saturation is not high enough to support life. He is having a Brady. I am frantic. With tears in my eyes I look at Scott pleading for him to do something while Scott is frantically trying to find a nurse to help. Now more alarms, and then another...each with a more disturbing tone. This third alarm brings nurses rushing to our son's aid. A simple touch and all is quiet. His heart rate and breathing return to normal. We are told this is normal. I am still supposed to be regulating all this for him and his brain isn't developed enough to automatically do it. I am told not worry. Let me tell you, that is easier said than done.


    Being 2.5 hours away I have to drive back and forth to see my son. Scott and I decide to name him Colt. Colt is called a miracle by the hospital staff and after 6.5 weeks we are allowed to bring him home.


    Colt was born March 21, 2004. He was born at 26 weeks 6 days, basically 3.5 months too early. Today Colt is an active and healthy 8 year old. His only lasting side affects from being early is severe anxiety which we just have to deal with since there aren't medicines like Valium to help a child his age. He is in school with children his age and is flourishing. We are lucky. Too many times we saw preemies older than Colt not make it. Many have serious life issues. Some were just unwanted and left there alone. Colt is a gift, our gift. And as a parent I am supposed to teach him, but the roles are reversed here. Colt taught us strength...you see a preemie doesn't know the word quit, so he kept fighting...and he won.


    Due to a work injury that happened before I met Scott and a disease I never knew about until after I had Colt I am now permanently disabled. I have RSD, Reflexive Sympathetic Distrophy. This disease has one of the highest pain levels known and there is no cure but there are many bad side affects. Because of my son's strength to survive I learned how to live with my RSD. My husband, Colt's Daddy knows how lucky he is to have such a strong family unit and it keeps us all going...good days and bad...we are a strong family. How did pregnancy change me....it didn't really...it just helped me discover what I already had inside me.

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