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Sunday, November 8, 2015

tiny blessings : a preemie story by Amanda Bailey

It's National Premature Awareness Month, and it's something we haven't talked enough about in this blog. I'm so pleased to feature some STRONG mommas on the blog this month, sharing their stories of hope, fear, strength and courage as they delivered premature babies. These sweet surprises are tiny blessings to these amazing mothers.

Thank you to Amanda Bailey for opening up about her experience at delivering a baby at 32 weeks along. She has a sweet happy ending with a bubbly two year old daughter, a fighter for sure.

I hope these stories help the moms who wrote them to feel at peace with their experience and to acknowledge how strong they really are. I hope these stories help other moms feel like they are not alone if they go through this.

Thanks for reading!

Images shared from Amanda Bailey

1. How far along were you when your baby came early?
32 weeks

2 What were the first thoughts or feelings you had when you realized the baby was coming?
I was so calm during the time leading up to it. They induced me, and I was ok. It was 2am and I was taken to surgery very fast and thought, is this really happening?! I was scared, sad, and happy all at the same time.
3. Can you share that part of the story - what happened? where were you? what did doctors say? procedures, things they tried to prevent the baby from coming, etc.?
I was at Dartmouth and had been there for a week. They had told me, the next time your blood pressure spikes we are going to induce you. 2 of my best friends had just gotten there to visit and I thought, can we wait?! They tried a few methods to get labor started and nothing worked. At 2am I was whisked away to surgery. It was so fast!
4. What were your fears as you heard the baby would be premature? 
I was so scared she would have to have surgery and she would need help breathing. The thought of it still makes me sick to my stomach.
5. What helped you through those initial scary moments? 
My mom and dad! (My husband was traveling for work ) My mom got to go with Helen when she was first born. ( My daughter now has such a special bond with her Nana)

6. How would you describe a premature baby's birth and labor process? Give us a few words.
I wish I had more of a birth experience. I only remember going down the hall on a stretcher and how much shaking I had. I do remember hearing her scream and that's truly it.
7. Does anyone know why this premature situation happened? 
They don't. It was severe preeclampsia. I don't always think everything happens for a reason, but this did. She had IUGR and couldn't grow anymore.

8. How did those few weeks after baby was born go? How long did you and then your child stay in the hospital? What was that process like? 
Very well considering where we were. Her biggest battle was learning to eat, swallow and breath all at the same time, and her apnea episodes. 
I was there for 3 days after she was born and then was discharged. It was the hardest moment in my life leaving her. She was there for 33 nights, which seemed like a lifetime, but in reality was amazing! 
It was a long road, but the nurses made it so much easier. It was exhausting! I would call my mom and husband just crying. I was so tired!
9. Are there any complications now or health concerns your child faces from being premature?
Knock on wood she is a healthy, running, chatty little 2 year old She had to have a helmet for a flat head, and had some trouble with walking. We went to physical therapy all summer and it worked wonders!

10. What helped you get through this time? What did others say, do, give you, etc. to help you through it?
My husband, my parents, family and my best friend!! There was a friend in the NICU with her baby at the same time. We had grown up together and had parted ways but our friendship was still there. The nurses made it so our babies were neighbors. Having her made it so nice to always have someone there. We would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together and would almost daily go into Hanover for Starbucks
11. What do you wish you had known about premature births before it happened to you?
Everything! Not in a million years did I think I would have a preemie. My pregnancy was so perfect until that one visit.
12. What is your advice to other moms who go through this? 
Remember to take care of yourself! Take a break everyone once and awhile. Have faith!!

13. Anything else you'd like to share? 
I am thankful for Dartmouth NICU every day. I am now friends with a few of her primary nurses and love the friendship I have with them They come to Helen's birthdays and to each special event we have. 
We do the Battle of the Badges hockey game which is a huge fundraiser for CHaD and its such a special event. Helen is buddied up with one of the firefighters. We have become friends with his family and love raising money for such a special place.
14. How does your story have a happy ending? Describe your child, how things are for you all now.
We have a 100% happy ending!! We have a healthy little girl who brings so much joy to our lives! Each and every day. She always has a smile on her face and brightens the room when she is there!!! As I mentioned above, shes running around, talks so much, and loves life!!!!

15. What did you learn about yourself as a strong mother from this experience?
I truly couldn't believe how strong I was. It was rough on my marriage and being in the NICU day after day with just your baby is hard. 

I kept my head held high and went on each day with a smile. It was HARD. I learned that I can do things on my own and I am an amazing Mom. This is my purpose in life, to be a mother to a beautiful little girl.

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