Premature birth can come unexpectadly, but often times it comes after a complicated pregnancy. This is so hard, as one highly emotional experience leads to another.
So many different things can lead to a complicated pregnancy. Most of the time, even the doctors don’t know why it happens. It can be hard not to blame yourself, but you did nothing wrong.
My twin pregancy was a very complicated pregnancy. I went to see a high risk specialist once, sometimes twice, a week from week 16 until I delivered at 25 weeks, 5 days.
I then went from staying in the hospital for almost 2 weeks, to my babies being admitted directly into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after their birth, where they would stay for the next 3 months. A whole year of hospitals.
All from a complicated pregnancy.
Today’s family knows a lot about having a complicated pregnancy. I’m so happy she decided to share her journey with us.
Please meet Severide, as told by his mom, Daniella.
1. Tell us about your babies.
Severide was born at 28 weeks. He weighed 2 lbs 13 oz and is the surviving twin from vanishing twin syndrome. We lost his twin at approximately 7-8 weeks.
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
Our nicu stay was 52 days.
We were able to hold him for the first time after 4 days, but only 30 minutes per shift. He suffered from jaundice on and off for 5 long weeks. So, we couldn’t hold him long and some days we couldn’t hold him at all, depending on his bilirubin levels.
He had a grade one brain bleed on his right side and 2 cysts on the left. Both, thankfully, resolved themselves.
Severide also suffered from multiple bradycardias/apnea spells. He was on caffeine to make his brain more aware and to remember to breath. They constantly upped the dosage, as he would have way too many in a shift.
He went through a period of struggling to gain weight. He was on very high calories and would gain 2/3 oz a day. Once he was catching up, they lowered the extra calories. Then, he would stay the same weight for 3-4 days before they upped his calorie intake once again.
Severide also had very bad anemia. They checked his levels every day, and they were very low, but not low to the point of a transfusion, yet.
Severide was up for discharge after a week off of caffeine and taking full feeds by mouth and no signs of jaundice coming back.
The day before discharge (June 1, 2016), his red blood cell count got dangerously low. They administered a blood transfusion, and watched him closely to decide if he was still coming home. He suffered from 2 bradys that night but not severe enough to keep him in the NICU.
Severide came home!
3.Do you know what caused your premature birth?
I had a complicated pregnancy from the start. I began to bleed at around 8 weeks. They stated it could be normal, since some women still have a period.
Our first ultrasound at 14 weeks we found out there was another baby, but the only one moving was Severide. He was spinning around in circles enjoying his time.
I was in the hospital 2 times after that for severe abdominal pain. The pain was the same as when I began to bleed. One was 2 weeks after my ultrasound, and they sent me home saying it was round ligament pains. We told them we were worried because we already lost his twin. The attending nurse told us that it doesn’t count because I didn’t miscarry the twin. It was just reabsorbed.
I was then back in hospital with the same thing about a month later. This time they hooked me up to monitors, and asked me if I felt tightening or pains because I was having contractions. They were not severe ones. After some fluids, I was sent home to check with my OB.
I was sent for weekly cervical lens and my cervix was 2.7. So, I was put onto bedrest for a week to see how it would turn out. It stayed the same, so I was taken off of bedrest and was told to resume my daily activities.
At 27 weeks 5 days (April 8, 2016 at 7 pm) my water broke (PPROM). We rushed to labor and delivery. I was given antibiotics and magnesium to stop labor twice. I received 2 steroid shots to help with his lungs. So when he came, he would be able to take a breath.
Finally, I was in my own room Saturday night. Sunday morning I ate some breakfast for the first time since Friday afternoon.
Sunday afternoon, they came in and asked if I felt him moving. They had no movements as they were repositioning the monitors. After no sign of movements, back to labor and delivery I went. They performed two 15 minute movement ultrasounds, and failed both of them. The second ultrasound was administered for an extra 5 minutes and still nothing. Every contraction I had made his heart rate almost stop to the point of barely making it back up.
It was shift change, and the next doctor came in and introduced himself. He said they were going to take him via cesarean section after the women in the next room gave birth. She was already a 6. At this point I’m still on magnesium and completely out of it, so it didn’t phase me like it did my fiancé.
Severide was born at 10:21. I was discharged 5 days later, and diagnosed with PRROM and Incompetent cervix.
4.How are you and your baby doing now?
Severide is now 18 months, 15 months adjusted. He learned to crawl at 14 months. He walked last month (September).
Severide is very adventurous and is also a big brother! (Term 39 weeks born July 26, 2017). Having a preemie first was very nerve-wracking the second time around. I celebrated every week I made and every movement I felt.
Severide is reaching every milestone at his adjusted age, not actual just yet. He has been in early step interventions since February, and it has helped him tremendously. He has started Physical Therapy to help with him walking on the side of his foot. His left foot was very stiff and bent upwards until he was 9 months actual.
Severide will also be starting Speech therapy to help him learn to chew and swallow instead of suck and swallow.
Throughout this journey, I am now going to start school to become a Neonatal Nurse so I can help all the other preemies in need!
5. What advice would you give to a new preemie family?