Posted by Nancy Spiegel. Written by Jennifer Bronwell.
Jeff and I were newlyweds in our mid to late 30s and we had decided that we wanted to start trying to have a family right away. We were blessed with conception almost immediately. We were working with a midwife, planning home delivery. We had taken Bradley child birthing classes and we had declined genetic prenatal testing. Our beliefs are that we wouldn’t alter the pregnancy. We had done everything “right”-no caffeine, no alcohol, acrylic nails removed, no fast food, tons of prenatal vitamins….
I had been experiencing what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions. One weekend, I experienced more cramping than usual. We had been in constant contact with our midwife who recommended that if symptoms worsened, we may need to go to the hospital to get “checked out.” Since it was the weekend, and I dreaded a trip to the emergency room, we decided to wait and see. Certainly we weren’t looking for signs of labor as I was still in my second trimester. As the discomfort continued, we finally decided to go to the hospital. The emergency room asked me how far along I was and I told them 27 weeks-I was asked to proceed directly to the labor and delivery unit. So we walked upstairs and upon examination, the triage nurse informed me that we were going to have our baby that day.
We met with the neonatologist who described the treatment plan for a newborn whose lungs aren’t fully developed. Everything was happening so quickly. We had arrived at hospital shortly before at 1pm on a Sunday and Noah was born at 2:51pm, 13 weeks early.
Although he was a very healthy weight and height 3 lbs, 15 inches long, his respiratory system was clearly not equipped for life outside of the womb. While the nurses were cleaning me up, my husband stood watching in terror as the neonatologist and nurses resuscitated Noah. I later learned how traumatic that was for him. When we had woken up that morning, the last thing we thought is that we’d be giving birth to our child. So many emotions transpired, joy to know we had a son, sadness that we couldn’t hold him, concern about his breathing, shock about all that had just transpired.