First of all, I want to thank Kim for asking me to share my story and for getting as much information together to share with others for encouragement in their own experiences with babies born premature or that had to spend time in the NICU due to circumstances. So thank you for caring Kim!
My name is Rebekah. My husband and I became pregnant with twins through IVF after several years of trying to conceive naturally with no success. After several weeks of morning sickness and a couple of scares with bleeding, I thought I was finally in the clear to enjoy a "normal" pregnancy at around 13 weeks. This lasted for a short time though! At 17 weeks I started noticing some pretty intense tightenings and low pressure. Even though this was my first pregnancy I knew this wasn't normal. I was seeing my Dr every 2 weeks because I was having twins and the mild complications from early on. I had an appointment at 19 weeks and mentioned the pressure I was experiencing. At this visit I learned that my cervix was a little shorter than they like to see at 2.8cm. I was also having mild contractions. I was instructed to start limited activity and resting as much as possible. That same night I went into the ER with constant contractions every 10 minutes or less. I was 19 weeks exactly. If you ever experience anything like this you know what a difference a week can make. Because I was 1 week short of 20 weeks, they would do nothing to stop contractions. I was sent home and instructed to call my Dr in the morning. When I went in the next day, my Dr measured my cervix again to see if the contractions I had been having had any affect on my cervix. It measured 2.08, so a little less than a centimeter lost in 2 days. I was diagnosed with Incompetent cervix and an irritable uterus. I was placed on strict bed rest and started taking medication to help control the contractions. It seemed to be helping and I was released to go home so I would be more comfortable, as comfortable as strict bed rest can be. At 20 weeks 5 days I had another trip to the ER with contractions and was sent home again with instructions to call my Dr in the morning. I saw my Dr. first thing that morning at 20 weeks 6 days. My cervix measured .67 and the membranes were bulging. At this point we only had 1 option and it was risky. We were told our only chance of saving our babies was an emergency cerclage. Most cerclages are placed between 12-15 weeks. The later in the pregnancy the more risky it is. Trusting our God and the wisdom of our Dr we went forward with the cerclage. I had no idea what to expect. The gave me an epidural so I wouldn't feel anything, but I was wide awake and very aware of everything going on. Even though a peace had overcome me, it was the scariest time in my life. The procedure went well, but the next 2 days would be critical. This started my hospital bed rest. I received steroid shots at 24 weeks to help mature our babies lungs. I was transferred at 24 weeks to a bigger hospital that would be able to better care for the babies if they were born early. We were monitored 2 times a week by a fetal-maternal specialist and watching my cervix closely.
At 29 weeks exactly, Haven and Jackson decided to make their arrival. I had been having contractions all day and the medicine they had been giving me didn't help this time. We had an emergency c-section. Haven Joy was born at 7:28pm and Jackson Levi at 7:29 on September 29, 2009. Haven weighed 3 lb. 2 oz., just under 16 in. & Jackson weighed 2 lb. 14 oz., and again just under 16 in. in length. They were both breathing on their own at birth, but needed assistance quickly as their tiny bodies were getting tired. They both were on c-pap for 2 days. By day 3 they were on oxygen cannulas and I got to hold them for the first time. They were on the cannulas for almost 2 weeks and were given caffeine. The caffeine affects the part of the brain that reminds them to breath on their own. Even though they were born 11 weeks early, they did amazingly well. We didn't have any major problems. They had the normal brady's and apnea that we had to get over and they had to grow and learn to eat on their own. They were fed through a gavage until about 2 weeks before going home. We started practice nursing and using bottles. This was the last thing they had to learn. Haven was released after 5 weeks and Jackson at 6 weeks in the NICU.
Today at 17 months, 14 months 2 weeks adjusted, Haven is doing great weighing 18 1/2 lb. and Jackson, very healthy, at 22 1/2 lb. We are still behind from their actual age but should catch up around age 2. They are so amazing and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be their mommy.
Thank you Rebekah for guest blogging today!
This is another reason why the March of Dimes is so important! Please, if you can, donate. Click on the widget in my right hand side bar to make a donation. Thank you.