Welcome Baby: My Preterm Birth Story At 34 Weeks
At 24 weeks pregnant, I learned that I would definitely give birth earlier. The doctors told me it will be a C-section. Our common goal was to keep the baby in my stomach for as long as possible. We also found out that Xara had a rare defect called esophageal atresia. (Read more about this in my post – Prenatal Diagnosis Of Esophageal Atresia: Our Story.)
So, my pregnancy was really hard. I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum at the beginning of pregnancy, then I got polyhydramnios, and after it gestational diabetes. In the meantime, I had an amniocentesis procedure and two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I was totally prepared for preterm birth, although I was hoping to manage till 35-36 weeks. Yet that didn’t happen.
At 28 weeks I’ve got gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes e.g. high blood sugar. After two weeks, regular check-up was scheduled. Thanks to the diet, my blood sugar level was satisfactory, however, the check-up revealed that I was about 1 cm open and it would be best to be admitted to the Vienna General Hospital.
In addition, the amniotic fluid level was significantly increased; I had 2.5 liters of excess! Doctors thought we would have to apply the amniocentesis procedure. That is, to remove the amount of amniotic fluid from the sac through a fine needle inserted into the uterus through the abdomen.
Eventually, they gave up on this idea, since the situation didn’t change for a long period of time. An increase of the amniotic fluid was also noticeable a month earlier, at the 30th week of my pregnancy. Back then I was diagnosed with polyhydramnios.
Medication for delaying labor
In addition, I was feeling well – I had no pain, the baby was active and somehow everything seemed as it was the last couple of months. For four days I received medication for delaying labor (although I did not feel any contractions) and for two days I received Cortisol, a drug to accelerate fetal lung development. This drug is crucial for a baby’s survival and development after birth.
I was discharged home with the advice of a doctor that I need to constantly rest and if I notice any symptoms (such as, abdominal pain or that baby is inactive) immediately to call an ambulance. The control check-up was scheduled for five days.
“You go to the delivery room right away!”
I got home and didn’t get out of bed. The shower was certainly difficult, due to the size of the stomach. Everything bothered me. The worst thing is that I could not get settled in bed, so sleeping was difficult.
I arrived for the planned check-up and told the doctor that I had a feeling my baby is moving less. I didn’t have any pain, but I felt inner restlessness. I remember that the check-up took quite a while. The doctor paid much attention to the Doppler test. My husband and I have already started worrying.
After about 20 minutes I asked her what was wrong. Her words were, “The baby is not happy in the sac. The placenta has loosened and looks bad. You go straight to the delivery room.” I remember that I froze at the moment. A complete shock. The clock on the wall was ticking at 9 AM. I was at 34 weeks…
Epidural anesthesia & C-section
I walked to the delivery room on foot, accompanied by my doctor and my husband. Since I was an emergency, the doctor walked us through side aisles and getaways for medical staff. And let me tell you, it’s a big hospital. We needed 10 minutes to get on the right floor. As I was climbing the stairs, it crossed my mind that I did not bring my delivery bag. All I needed was left packed at home.
Everything happened like in the series ER. Lots of medical staff around me; a nurse asking me for medication allergies, another nurse putting on fine needles, veins cracking, looking for new ones. They strip me and dressed in a hospital gown and then transported me to the delivery room.
In a sitting position, I was lean forward and the needle is pinned to the lower spine – epidural anesthesia. The nurse was explaining to me that I would feel a slight throb in the waist area and that I should immediately report if I had a headache or nausea. None of these happened.
My husband was with me the whole time, he was holding my left hand and we were talking, but I don’t remember what. At one point, a medical brother asked me if I was feeling something, and I only felt a slight tickle on my stomach. He told me that I was cut up and that doctors will soon begin to extract the baby. And then I felt a pressure, high pressure in my stomach.
Xara Nadia was born at 10:04 AM on October 4th, 2019 weighing 1820 gr and 36 cm. She was not placed in an incubator because her lungs were sufficiently developed and she could breathe on her own, but she was diagnosed with esophageal atresia and was immediately intubated with a Replogle tube.
Xara Nadia was located in the department of intensive neonatology (NICU) at the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine of the MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital. Before she was taken there we spent a hole of 20 minutes together. Our first hug. She was calm and super cute. I was sad. I didn’t want to be separated from her. I wanted to stay with her forever.
I was located in the post-birth department in the main building within the Vienna General Hospital. Being separated from her was killing me.
On the second day after the cesarean section, I got out of bed and my husband drove me to her in a wheelchair. It took us 20-25 minutes to go there.
On the fifth day after birth, I was discharged home. All the nurses and doctors were amazed by my strength. I was surprised too. Although I had mild pain, I could walk, and most important I could sit by Xara’s bed all day. She gave me all the strength I needed.
103 Long days in the hospital
And so our fight began. This was just an introduction to a long project, as one doctor explained it to my husband and me. We spent three months in the hospital! Xara Nadia had several surgeries and interventions. (Read more about this in my posts – Repair Of Esophageal Atresia In My Baby) Yet we made it! Thanks to her strength, the dedication of the doctors and medical staff, and the husband’s and my love.
After this, my life changed. Not because of giving birth, but because one realizes that nothing in life is that much important as health. Nothing. Any problem that can be solved with money is not a problem. And you can’t buy health.
Yes, you can buy drugs, but that’s just a temporary solution. You can only hope that medicine has a solution. And to love, boundless and unconditional.
Love is the answer. The most powerful thing in the hole world.
Lots of Love,