Back in 2010 my husband and I were blessed to be expecting our third daughter the end of November. We had been trying to expand our family for three years, and after having difficulty conceiving and experiencing two pregnancy losses we didn’t think a bigger family was in our future. When familiar pregnancy symptoms began to plague me, we nervously took an at home test. On that test, bright as day, sat two pink lines indicating that I was pregnant. We were excited and scared all at the same time. I made the first OB appointment and tried to not dwell on the fact that we had lost the only two pregnancies we had in the past three years. At the first appointment we began to breathe a sigh of relief. Our baby was healthy, with a heartbeat and measuring at the appropriate size. Our own little miracle. We were still nervous, and it wasn’t until I was in my second trimester that we fully relaxed and began to prepare for our new addition to our family.
At the beginning of October I had found out we were expecting another girl and I went into full nesting mode. I began to clean the house daily, set up the crib, wash and fold all of the baby clothes and make sure that everything was set up for baby. The weekend of my birthday I even enjoyed a baby shower my mom threw for me and celebrated my second daughter’s 4th birthday. A few days after the party I was walking around ShopRite and my stomach was getting really hard. It didn’t hurt, but it was hard as a rock. Just to be on the safe side I called my doctor and they suggested I come in to be checked out and to make sure that I was not experiencing any labor symptoms. Since I wasn’t in pain and wasn’t due for another 5 weeks, I figured it would be a quick visit and that I would return home later that afternoon so I drove myself. I was monitored for a few hours, and in that time they picked up some contractions, and when they checked I was 2.5 centimeters dilated. As a precaution they sent me across the street to labor and delivery. I called my husband to let him know the update and told him that I would let him know if they admit me. Once I was settled in my labor and delivery room my OB checked to see how dilated I was, and to both our surprise I was at 4 centimeters. It only took me a few minutes to drive literally across the street, park and get into the hospital and yet I had dilated a centimeter and a half in that time.
My world had begun to crash down around me. I was told since I was only 35 weeks along that there was a good chance that the baby’s lungs were not fully developed and that we would need a neonatal intensive care team in the delivery room to take the baby immediately to assess her and do whatever would be necessary. I called my husband hysterically and told him he needed to come to the hospital.
I was only in the hospital 2 hours when our daughter was born. She hadn’t cried. Why hadn’t she cried? Were her lungs that immature? The entire delivery room was silent as the NICU team swooped my daughter from the doctors hands and began to examine her. It felt as though time was standing still. All I wanted was to hear that first cry, to know that she was going to be ok. After what felt like an eternity, but in reality was only a few minutes, we heard a small faint cry. That cry then began to get stronger and louder. My doctor looked at me and said “She sounds perfect to me. Seems like she has a great set of lungs.” The NICU team determined she did not need intensive care and that she was healthy enough to go to the regular newborn nursery. As I began to cry tears of relief and joy they finally placed my precious little girl in my arms. Our daughter was fine and her lungs were perfectly healthy. She wasn’t even 10 minutes old and she had overcome her first health scare.
Little did we know that that wouldn’t be her last.
5 lbs 3 oz
18 1/2 inches long
born 5 weeks premature
Photo: Phoebe a few hours old