In conjunction with the baby shower, Service Soapbox is hosting a writing contest. This post is my submission.
My mother’s pregnancy was a surprise. She was nearing 40 and was not anticipating any more children. Besides that, we were planning on a move to Alaska. Moving and familial responsibilities amounted to an enormous stress load placed on my mother’s shoulders.
My mother was a seasoned homebirther–having given birth to all of her previous (8) children in the comfort of her bedroom. This pregnancy, though, concerned her from the beginning. Her midwife, after evaluating my mother’s symptoms, suggested she start seeing a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) at our local hospital.
At my mothers 30 week mark, she started experiencing severe symptoms. One night she began feeling a severe pain that started in her upper abdomen and spread throughout her whole body. The pain was accompanied by severe nausea. When the pool failed to alleviate the pain and the nausuea continued, she called her midwife who then directed her to call her CNM. The CNM advised her to come in immediately. In a remarkable string of events, her home teacher unexpectedly came over and offered her a ride to the hospital and another lady from our congregation arrived to take care of the kids.
After arriving at the hospital, they took her vitals and had her take a urine test. The L&D nurses (and her midwife) were beyond concerned when they found her urine to be saturated with protein and her systolic blood pressure over 200. They admitted her immediately, began pumping drugs into her system in an effort to lower the blood pressure and to send steroids to strengthen the baby’s lungs in case of an emergency C-Section.
As I’m sure you have already guessed, my mother had a severe case of pre-eclampsia. After a few ultrasounds to evaluate the health of the fetus, they discovered the presence of HELLP syndrome. With this realization, they deemed it safer for the baby to be on the outside than inside the womb.
My brother, Kaden, was born at 31 weeks weighing 2 lbs. 10 oz.
As you can imagine, his low gestational birth meant a long fight for him. He was in the hospital for 6 weeks and left weighing 5 lbs and with a bunch of equipment (heart monitors and respirator). Still. He was home.
Seeing how modern technology saved my brother, I became quite active at my local branch of the March of Dimes. While I only did menial tasks like helping send mailers and other paper things, I felt like I was helping an organization that saved my brother. I felt like I was giving back.
My brother is now 7-years-old. He still bears certain marks of his premature arrival, but overall he is healthy, smart, and quite active.
I guess this is my way of publicly saying thank you. Thank you people who took care of us while my mother was in the hospital and for the 6 weeks that my brother was in the NICU. Thank you doctors and nurses who saved my brother’s–and my mother’s–life. Finally, thank you March of Dimes for funding research that made it possible for my brother to be here today.