Amanda & Jaren

Jaren & Amanda the day he came home from the NICU

I was 18 weeks pregnant, feeling fine, and doing normal daily activities.

Jaren right after birth

Jaren right after birth

That evening, however, I began to bleed and called my OB/GYN immediately. She told me to take it easy and call in the morning if the problems persisted. Everything seemed to have returned to normal the next morning but by early evening, I began bleeding even worse than the previous day. At that point, my doctor instructed me to go to the hospital. I was really worried but they were able to find my baby’s heart beat right away so my mind was put a little at ease. They ordered an ultrasound to determine the problem but found nothing. My husband and I did, however, learn that we were expecting a baby boy. He weighed 10 ounces at that time. I returned home with further directions to take it easy.

Two seemingly normal weeks passed. I was scheduled for a routine ultrasound at 20 weeks. My husband and I were thrilled to see our little boy again during that procedure. While having the ultrasound, the technician said she found the bleeding source but we had to wait for the doctor to read the results to us. When the doctor entered the room, she said, “It is not good.” Panic immediately set in. I had just seen my baby moving around and heard his heart beat. How could something be wrong? Well he was not the one having issues. It was me.

Jaren the day he was born in the NICU

Jaren the day he was born in the NICU

The doctor explained that my cervix is short and opening which was allowing the bag of fluids to push out. She sent me straight to the hospital. The situation was dire and as my doctor explained, I was at risk of the bag bursting just sitting there. We went directly to Mercy confused and not fully understanding what was happening.

At that hospital admission, our little baby weighed only one pound. I was put in a big room, which the hospital often reserves for long-term patients. I remember wondering why they were putting me in that room. I was put on monitors for contractions and had an IV inserted. It was a crazy time as doctors and nurses were continually in and out. One doctor told me I had about a 25% chance of saving the baby and I must make it to 24 weeks for him to be “viable”. Hospital staff placed my bed trendelenburg, which is when your head is down and feet elevated. This was done to help gravity push my bag back in. I lay like that for a week and was not allowed to get up at all.

After a week, one of my many doctors decided the bag had pushed back far enough to try a cervical cerclage where they stitch the cervix to help hold it closed. He would still have to push the bag back a little, causing risk of rupture. My husband and I decided to undergo the procedure, which was a success, and I could again lie flat in bed.

My hospital stay continued as I tried to meet the first goal of getting to 24 weeks. I had weekly ultrasounds during that time to check baby J’s progress and was given two rounds of steroid shots to help mature his lungs. All I could do is lie down and wait for time to pass. I was not allowed to walk around, sit up, or do anything for myself while hospitalized. Thankfully, I met my first major goal of 24 weeks.

At 25 weeks, the doctors said I could go home. I lived nearby, understood that I had to remain on strict bed rest, and there was a very good chance that I would end up back in the hospital before the baby was born. I remained on strict bed rest, lying flat in bed, only leaving for weekly doctor’s appointments for 10 more weeks.

I went into labor when I was 34 weeks along. When Jaren was born, he weighed 6 lbs. and 12 ounces. He was sent to the NICU where they inserted an IV and feeding tube. He was having no breathing problems and could hold his own body temperature so the incubator was turned off. Jaren was jaundice so required a light to bring down his bilirubin level. He went home five days later.

We were blessed to have not spent a great deal of time in the NICU or have a baby with serious medical issues. With that being said, it is still a scary and trying time. Going home without your baby and not knowing when they will come home is heartbreaking.

I spent a total of 15 weeks on strict bed rest; five in the hospital and 10 at home. During my hospital stay, my husband was an apprentice lineman and laid off work. We were required to make a Cobra payment to retain our insurance. With no income coming in, things were very tight and caused additional worries. This just goes to show that money problems can happen to anyone in any situation. After I was released from the hospital, my husband did go back to work and our situation improved.

My involvement with Cradling New Life is something I take seriously and lovingly. When I was having all my issues, I felt so alone. I never knew anyone that had problems like me. All the people I knew had normal pregnancies. I want families to know that they are not alone. There are people out there who care and want to help during these very trying and stressful times in their lives.