Last November, I was 32 weeks pregnant with Case's second little sister and was experiencing contractions. With a cerclage in place, I didn't think much of it. I told my doctor about the contractions and we agreed to a check up a few days later. She wasn't too concerned either.
I had my appointment at exactly 33 weeks and found out I was a centimeter dilated and had torn through my cerclage. I was told to go straight to the hospital to have it surgically removed and also warned that removal could cause immediate labor.
Back track to when we were trying for this sweet baby... It was March 2016 and I was upset we hadn't conceived. I thought having a November baby would be wonderful... something joyful to look forward to in November, something to balance out the pain we will always feel in that month. But when March came and went without seeing two lines, I knew that November baby wasn't going to happen. We did conceive the very next month and that little one was due December 30th. There was NO CHANCE I'd have that November baby. Once my cerclage was placed, we were told it wouldn't be removed until 37 weeks which was December 3rd. Once again, no chance of having that November baby. Except....
During the early days of my pregnancy, I talked with others about how I wished things would go. More than once, I said that I WISHED this baby would come a month early, around 34 weeks, so s/he would be born in November, be old enough and strong enough to not need NICU help, but be early enough to have to go to the NICU. I thought that would be a healing experience, to be back in those walls.
Fast forward once again... It's November 11th and I was told to go to the hospital to have my cerclage removed. After arriving, we sat in triage for hours and hours. The nurses kept apologizing. I kept hearing comments about how my contractions were picking up or were pretty regular. And yet, it was a busy day in Labor and Delivery. Quite a few babies needed to be born via c-section and so the operating room wasn't available. I wasn't an emergency situation and I was thankful for that.
Eleven hours after arriving at the hospital, I was finally brought back for my cerclage removal. The doctors weren't sure how to go about this. Cutting the stitch would likely puncture the sac and our baby would have been born right away. They ultimately found a solution and were able to remove to cerclage. I was dilated to 3 centimeters by then and was sent to the bed rest unit with antibiotics in an IV drip for 4 days. I was finally released on November 14th. At this point, I thought our baby would stay put until December 3rd. All of my babies come on the third! I had kind of forgotten about my "wish" of an early baby.
I had an appointment with my doctor on November 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving. She asked me if I wanted her to check me and I said no, that we should just let the baby be. I also told her that she'd come on December 3rd. My doctor laughed and said that was too early, that she needed to stay a bit longer. Later that night, two weeks into bed rest, my water broke. We went to the hospital in shock. This baby was coming... in November... at 34 weeks gestation!
Birth was extremely fast. At the time she was born, I had only been in the delivery room for 3 minutes and the triage nurse was the only one in there with me, having just pushed me over from triage. Our second rainbow was born pink and screaming. I didn't know it at that time, but their NICU cut off is 35 weeks and she just missed that by 22 hours. She was born on Thanksgiving morning, November 24, 2016, at 2:13 am.
We had a perfectly healthy preemie. She was breathing completely on her own. She was able to regulate her own temperature. She could nurse and drink from a bottle. Essentially, she didn't NEED the NICU. But because she was early, she had to go. She developed jaundice and we ended up staying for 9 days. 9 days of seeing other babies, of seeing other moms of preemies, of seeing 24 weekers going home, of seeing 28 weekers thriving, 9 days of hearing the beeps of machines, of seeing the joy and fear on NICU parents' faces. It was incredibly challenging for me but also incredibly healing.
She wasn't born on December 3rd, but that's when our sweet little one came home.
Right in the midst of our grieving season, November 6 - 16, we were dealing with the prospect of having another preemie. I didn't want her to be born during that window of time. That time is precious to Case. I had four days in the hospital to think about my last 4 days in the hospital. This time though, I left with my baby still on the inside.
It's amazing how the timing of all of that worked out. This November, we do have something joyful to look forward to. While preparing for Case's birthday, we get to prepare for his littlest sister's birthday as well. I find it so ironic that November is premature birth awareness month, and we've had two preemies in this month. I'm also in awe that having another November baby seemed impossible, but somehow, it happened. I'm so thankful for all of our little ones.