Modern Alternative Mama is doing a series on High Risk Pregnancies, so I thought I would share my experience! I am wondering how many ladies with gut and autoimmune issues are also experiencing high risk pregnancies? Share your stories!
This was Farm Boy 1:
After a normal pregnancy, 26 weeks, I suddenly lost my mucous plug. I rushed into the doctor’s office to find out that I was dilated to 3. They checked contractions with a machine, and I was having contractions. I only felt like I had to go to the bathroom (no pain). When I said this, the doctor said she needed to check me again. It had been 20 minutes, and I was dilated to 9! The original plan was to have me drive to another hospital where they had the equipment to take care of preemies, and to get a shot there that would hopefully stop labor. When she saw that I was dilated to 9, she said "you’re having this baby now!" and got me in a wheelchair and ran me into the hospital (she was wearing heals and my husband could barely keep up with her–imagine that ;)). Her nurse called a transport team to come from that other hospital with all of their equipment to get my little guy breathing.
She kept asking if I felt like I needed to push, and she said "just breathe, don’t push." She checked an ultrasound, and he looked good. A little while later, she got the call that the team was there and ready, so she broke my water….but he had moved and was breech (26 weekers can still move! ;)). I was then rushed in for an emergency c-section.
With tiny preemies, they cut the uterus in a "t" so that there is a big enough opening to get them out. They don’t want to yank on the arms or legs of such a tiny little guy, because their bones will break. I had a spinal tap, but I could tell the lower half of me was being moved around on the table quite a bit. The Farmer said that there were 2 doctors with their arms (up to their elbows) completely inside me, gently getting Farm Boy 1 out of there. There was a nurse standing by with a warm blanket, ready to grab him and run down the hall to get him on the machines & breathing. The Farmer followed her, of course.
Farm Boy 1 stayed in the hospital for 3 months. He was 1 lb 12 oz when he was born, and got to come home when he was 5 lbs. We were thankful he was our first born. I stayed at the hospital all day every day while my husband was at work. We would spend the evening there together, and then go home to sleep. The dishes piled up and so did the laundry. We both lost a bunch of weight, and I think it was because of stress (well, and the low carb diet The Farmer was on ;). Lactation was telling me to eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream so that I could produce more milk, so I obeyed (it was a prescription, right?) and still lost weight. Something about pregnancy and nursing depletes my body. Pre-pregnancy I was a 10 and just days after delivery I was a 6.
We had so many friends and family members praying for Farm Boy 1! His little life was so fragile, and we know it was God who brought him through that time!
We named Farm Boy 1 Isaac, which means "he laughs," not realizing the incredible sense of humor that our son would have later. 🙂
When he came home, it still wasn’t an easy ride. He came home on oxygen with feedings (he would forget to breath when he was eating), and a heart/breathing monitor that we had to pack around with him every time we carried him. He had weekly doctor’s visits and weekly home nurse visits. He had 2 eye surgeries early in life, 1 before leaving the NICU (at 3 lbs) and 1 just a month after being home. He is now legally blind in one eye due to partial retinal detachment as part of his ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity). He saw lots of therapists and doctors and had an NG tube and then a G-Tube for a few years of his life (yes, we’re better trained and experienced at putting in a feeding tube than most ER nurses, we discovered! :)).
AND, after 2 miscarriages before Farm Boy 1, I thought that it would take me a while to get pregnant. I was WRONG! 🙂 Farm Boy 1 was in the hospital 3 months, and then home for 3 months, and then I was PREGNANT! 🙂
At the beginning of my pregnancy, I had a blood test to show I was pregnant. The nurse kept questioning my last cycle date because my blood level was higher than it should be for the date I gave her. But I was sure. I was scheduled for an ultrasound the next Monday, but we were going on a trip to visit family that weekend.
That weekend, I thought I was having a miscarriage. I abruptly stopped pumping for Farm Boy 1 (he was 7 months old then–he never had the strength to nurse). 🙁 He wasn’t drinking my milk anymore (it probably tasted different) and I was worried that pumping was making my uterus contract & would make me lose the baby.
We went in for an ultrasound that Monday, fully expecting to see that I had lost the baby. We were pleasantly surprised to see a little beating heart, along with an empty sack. We were sad that we HAD lost one baby–but so, so, so delighted to see the life that was still growing in me!
Because I hadn’t felt contractions with Farm Boy 1 & could easily dilate, I had to have a cerclage put in. At 13 weeks, I had a spinal tap and my high risk doctor stitched my cervix shut. I had to go in every week after this to get the knot checked. I had a lot of ultrasounds (I liked that part…It was my reward for having to get the cerclage checked ;)).
I had to go on bed rest at 20 weeks. My mom came over almost every day, and the days that she couldn’t come, friends from church filled in. My husband was "Mr. Mom," handling dinner and house cleaning and laundry and grocery shopping as well as our baby boy!
I also starting having contractions at 20 weeks. I was in the hospital many times getting a shot or taking a pill to stop contractions. It would usually be at night. We would drop Farm Boy 1 off at my parents’ house and rush in to the hospital.
At 34 weeks, I had an amnio done to see if Farm Boy 2’s lungs were ready. They weren’t. 🙁 At 35 weeks, I went in for a planned c-section, knowing that his lungs might not be ready. I had to have him early, because every time I had contractions, I was at risk of rupturing (because of that t-cut). If I ruptured, I could die, and so could Farm Boy 2.
We fully expected Farm Boy 2 to need a ventilator, at least, at the beginning. Imagine our surprise when he was born SCREAMING! I cried tears of JOY. It was the first time I ever heard my baby CRY at birth (Farm Boy 1 had tiny quiet whimpers that The Farmer got to hear before they stuck a tube down his throat. He didn’t cry again until about 2 1/2 months, and it was so quiet because his throat was sore from tubes). We named Farm Boy 2 Kaleb, which means "bold and faithful." He is certainly BOLD and faithful!
Here’s our screaming boy:
These are my 2 babies a month after Farm Boy 2 got home from the hospital:
I had my tubes tied after Farm Boy 2, after much prayer about my pregnancies and my body’s ability to handle them. God put it on our hearts to adopt before we got married, and I know this is the path He has chosen for us. I still wonder, now, though, if my body (being so much healthier on GAPS) could handle another pregnancy. Well, this is where God has brought us. Tell me your story!