I was so lucky to have had a flawless pregnancy. Absolutely no complications at all, until that day.I was 34 weeks in when I experienced PROM (pre-rupture of membranes). It all began on Thursday, January 26th, 2012. I left work early for several appointments…prenatal massage, hair appointment & a pediatric CPR class that night. My massage therapist is a doula & we discussed her services pretty much through the entire massage. I’ve thought about having a doula but just wasn’t sure what it would cost me. After the massage, I got up to put on my clothes & as soon as I started to put on my pants…there was the feeling…of my water breaking. It was the first thought that came to mind. It was a gush & completely wet my pants. I tried not to freak out…how did I know for sure anyway? It was early, I was only 34 weeks. I had heard of losing your mucus plug so I was assuming maybe that was it. I left the massage office & decided to grab something to eat before my hair appointment.
I called my husband, Martin, to kind of give him a heads up of what might have happened. He was working & suggested I call the doctor. I decided to just text a friend instead. I wasn’t really sure what came first typically; water breaking or contractions. She said her water broke first & then she started having contractions about an hour later. While I was eating, I would get these small gushes of fluid which made me really start thinking it was my water breaking. Now I started to get kind of worried. I still went to my hair appointment though. I just didn’t want to freak out & be sent back home if it really wasn’t my water. I explained what was going on to my hairstylist & she said I definitely needed to call the doctor right away. So I did. The nurse told me it did sound like my water breaking & that I needed to get to the hospital. I explained that I was in the middle of an appointment & asked how quickly I needed to go. I really think there was a part of me in denial here…I mean, I was 6 weeks early! Contractions never started. I finished with my hair appointment & Martin picked me up & off we went to the hospital (4 hours after my water had broken).
I was admitted at Waccamaw & put into a room. Immediately told to change into the gown & that they would check me. I remember thinking; “Is this really happening right now?!” They checked the fluid & confirmed it was amniotic fluid & that I would be in labor soon. I was apparently already having small contractions but I couldn’t feel them. They told me I would be kept overnight. I couldn’t believe this was happening, so early. I got worried for the baby. How much would he/she weigh? Would the baby be healthy? There were so many thoughts going through my mind. I was moved to the delivery room which is where I spent the night. I never started feeling contractions so at 5am on Friday, the 27th they started me on Pitocin.
For some obvious reason I hate that word, Pitocin. I’ve just always associated it as a bad thing. Babies come when they are ready. They had to induce me though, since my water had already broken, they couldn’t risk me getting an infection since I had not started going into active labor on my own. This was my first baby so I really didn’t know what to do so I went along with their plan. As soon as they started the Pitocin, I started feeling contractions. They were easy to handle at first. I meditated, breathed & listened to relaxing music. I did this until about 5cm at which the nurse came to me & said it would probably be a good time to get the epidural. I agreed. I had been on the fence about getting one because I love the thought of having natural labor, but at that time I agreed to the epidural. The contractions were starting to get bad & I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle them.
It seemed like in no time at all my midwife & nurse came in. I was progressing quickly & was already at 8cm. I couldn’t believe it! A little more time went by & then the midwife confirmed that I was ready to push. PUSH???! This is really happening, I thought to myself. I pushed a few times & all I could hear was “Oh my…look at all that hair!”…They kept telling me I was close and just a few more pushes would do it. Anne, my midwife asked me if I wanted a mirror so that I could see. At first my response was no, but then I thought it would be a good idea and might motivate me even more. The mirror definitely helped. I saw my baby’s head with all the dark hair & I pushed harder. I couldn’t wait to see the face and find out if it was a boy or girl since we did not find out the gender early. We wanted it to be a surprise. Another 15-20 minutes go by and HE was out. Martin was all smiles as they laid him on my chest just for a second. Martin cut the cord and then they whisked him away.
I could see the table where they had him and I saw the nurses slapping his little feet so hard. I knew something was wrong. He had only taken one breath on his own & since he was so early his lungs were not completely mature so they were trying to get him to breathe. I was a nervous wreck as I lay helplessly on the bed, 10 feet away from my newborn baby. It was a terrible feeling. They finally got him breathing and then announced his weight as 6 pounds 12 ounces. I felt some relief knowing he was a decent, healthy size but little did I know, size has nothing to do with lung maturity. He was still 6 weeks early.
They took him to the nursery. He didn’t get to stay with me and I never had a chance to really hold him before they moved me to a postpartum room. After a few hours, I was able to go to the nursery to see my baby. He was under an oxyhood that was helping him breathe. It was heartbreaking to see his little chest struggling to take those breaths. We were told that he might have to be transported to MUSC in Charleston. They kept him overnight, but the next day they decided to transport him by helicopter. I maintained my composure in front of all the nurses as they sedated him and took him away. As soon as I made it back to my room though, I had a meltdown. I knew he needed to go so he could get the care that he desperately needed BUT I was already separated enough with him being in the nursery. It was difficult to hear other babies crying in the postpartum area and knowing that mine was on his way 2 1/2 hours away to another hospital. They didn’t discharge me until the next afternoon. As soon as they let me go, we were on our way to Charleston to be with him.
He was resting peacefully in the NICU there and I could tell he was being well taken care of. The doctors and nurses there are amazing and I am so thankful for them. He was hooked up to alot of tubes and monitors, but they still let us hold him. My first time! I was unable to nurse because he had a feeding tube, but I was determined to pump so he could at least have my milk. Of course, my goal was that I would eventually breastfeed as soon as he was able. I worked with the Lactation Consultants at the hospital. Due to all the pumping I was doing, trying to build up my supply for him, I developed extremely painful blisters on my nipples. They lasted for the remaining time that he was there. I just kept pumping though and knew as soon as they healed that I would be able to nurse him. We did attempt a nipple shield and he would latch but he wasn’t able to nurse long because he would get super tired.
He stayed in the NICU for about a week and made steady progress & was then transferred to the Special Care Nursery, which was a step in the right direction. He remained there for a few days and when all of his oxygen was removed there was talk about transporting him back to his birth hospital for further observation, so it would get us back home. Instead, the on call pediatrician in Murrells Inlet suggested that MUSC wait until the weekend was over and do it on Monday, February 6th. Lukas was going to need further help with coordinating eating and breathing. He made so much progress over that weekend that the MUSC doctors just decided to keep him a couple of nights and then just discharge him completely to go home with us. This was great news, but also made me very nervous. He had so much care in that hospital, what if we got him home and he stopped breathing? Every worrying thought came to mind, but thankfully we brought our sweet boy home with us on Wednesday, February 8th, his daddy’s birthday. The struggles weren’t completely over as we had to figure breastfeeding out, but at least he was home and healthy.