I started writing this blog after the twins were released from the NICU, however, I started writing a lot earlier than that. I found writing to be an outlet, as well as a way I could share the twins’ progress with my friends and family, while they were still in the hospital.
Because I liked writing so much, and found I could reach other moms, I kept on writing. That’s really how this blog came about. It’s also how I got inspired to start Micro Preemie Mondays. Writing and stories of hope are so powerful for someone who is going through a similar experience. I also believe these stories need to be told to spread awareness about premature birth.
Today’s Micro Preemie Mom, Kayla, feels the same way. She also uses her writing as an outlet, as well as to bring hope to other mothers who experience a premature birth.
Kayla has even turned her writing and premature birth experience into a book. She’s included a link in her answers, if you’d like to read the first 2 chapters for free.
1.Tell us about your baby
I went into labor when I was 24 weeks pregnant and despite the hospital’s best efforts my daughter Scarlette was born at 25 weeks, 0 days, weighing 1lb 8.6oz.
She cried a tiny cry, like a kitten, and they brought her to me wrapped in plastic and she squeezed my finger for a few seconds before they whisked her off to the NICU. I remember being so surprised at her appearance, at her fused eyes and how fragile she was but still perfectly formed.
2.) How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
We spent 156 days in the NICU.
I wrote a book about the experience so I’ve thought a lot about what the hardest part was, as I’m asked that question often. And for tangible hard things there are so many, many moments to choose from. I could talk about the time that she coded and I watched in horror as they tried to resuscitate her. Or how she was one month old before I was ever allowed to hold her. Or the excruciating pain of having to leave your baby behind in the hospital night after night.
But the truth is, it wasn’t any one moment that was the hardest. It was the collective experience of one hard thing after another that culminated in the trauma. It was the sum total of measuring your only child’s heartbeats minute by minute and the uncertainty of never knowing what the next one held. It was the immersion in a world where motherhood intersected with medicine and the haunting feeling of being completely incapable of protecting your child from pain.
From that experience I am so grateful every single day that I have the privilege of being able to mother.
3.) Do you know what caused your premature birth?
I wish I did! After four years of not having a viable pregnancy, we were completely shocked to find out we were pregnant. I was slightly obsessive about my pregnancy, doing my very best to take care of myself but at 24 weeks I felt off, stopped by my doctor and asked him to check me just for peace of mine and discovered that I was in active labor. I had painless dilation and contractions so I had no idea that I was in labor.
I was admitted to the hospital and started on mag and a cocktail of other drugs to try to stop labor but ended up having an emergency c-section a few days later because Scarlette was frank breech. But they never found any definite cause for my pre-term labor.
4.) How are you and the baby doing now?
We are doing well beyond our wildest expectations. We faced such terrible odds at birth and then she had such a difficult NICU stay with many complications, but Scarlette just celebrated her fifth birthday. Her complications included a PDA ligation, medical NEC, BPD, milk protein intolerance, Stage 2 ROP, broken bones due to extended TPN, liver cholestasis, NJ tube, NG tube, Low tone, and Sensory Processing Disorder.
This summer we found out that we are expecting again, which was a HUGE surprise to us! I am incredibly thankful to currently be 29 weeks along with this pregnancy, with the help of a team of specialists, and hopeful that I will make it well into the 30’s.
I also had the incredible privilege of publishing a book about our experience having a micro-preemie and it has been one of my greatest joys to be able to see it encourage other moms who find themselves unexpectedly in the NICU. Turning our darkest experience into something that brings hope to other moms has been cathartic and healing for me.
I would love to gift you with the first two chapters of the book! Just click to READ IT HERE and download Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected from my publisher
5.) What advice would you give a new preemie parent?
Celebrate the smallest moments. It’s so hard to feel joy in the middle of all the tension. But it was in a cramped hospital room that I discovered that while I could not bring myself to give thanks for my circumstances, I could still be thankful in them: for 10 tiny toes and for gifted surgeons who knew just how to place a scalpel.
Our experience taught me that small things are worth big celebrations.
Such wonderful advice from Kayla. Thank you again for sharing your story and beautiful Scarlette with us.
Please leave any comments or questions for Kayla and Scarlette below.