‘I don’t want to deliver my baby in a car!’ I started to bawl. My baby’s foot was hanging out of my cervix.’: Woman gives birth to baby at 22 weeks, ‘I had no idea they saved tiny babies like mine’

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“It was my second day at my new job. I remember being in a patient’s room when I told my trainer that I was going to pass out. When I went to the break room to take a few minutes to myself, I was feeling better. We went to the next resident’s room and I told her again that I was going to pass out. Then I went to talk to a nurse that was working. I told her, ‘I am going over to the emergency room. I don’t feel good and am going to pass out.’ She took my blood pressure and it was very low. I walked over to the hospital since it was right next door. My pregnancy test came back positive.

A whole bunch of emotions went through my head at that time. I went to the doctor the next day for a follow-up and found out I was five weeks pregnant. As my pregnancy went on, I became sicker and sicker. I threw up basically everything. It was awful! I was in and out of the doctor’s office, Urgent Care, and the emergency room many times. Due to hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness), I was hooked up to an IV to get fluids. It usually made me feel better. The morning of Friday, October 19th, 2019 was the start of it all. I was at my boyfriend’s house. I started to rush to the bathroom because it felt like I had to go to the bathroom really bad. I barely got outside the bedroom before I felt fluid run down my leg. I panicked and started to call my mom, bawling because I didn’t know what was happening. My boyfriend, Chase, and I hurried to my mom’s house, where it happened again. I called her into the bathroom to show her what the fluid looked like. We called up to our local hospital and explained what was happening. My primary care provider told me to go to Urgent Care because I had severe morning sickness and they were familiar with me. She wanted to see if it was a urinary tract infection. The urgent care doctor came back and said it was negative and told us to head to the OB department. When we got there, I was admitted for observation. The doctor came in and check me. She told us that my water broke. They started me on an IV and gave me a shot in the hip.

That instant, I started bawling. I was only 22 weeks and 2 days. She told us there isn’t a survival rate for that young of an age and she was shipping me out via ambulance to Des Moines. I was talking to my mom and telling her I wanted to go to the University Of Iowa. My mom told Chase to hurry home and grab what he needed. In the meantime, we sat there waiting for the next step. The doctor overheard us talking saying we wanted to go to Iowa City. She came in and told us my family was more than welcome to drive me to Iowa City by private car because our local ambulance doesn’t travel that far. I remember my mom saying to the doctor, ‘Are you out of your mind? Her water broke. I don’t want to deliver a baby in my car!’

The doctor stated again if I delivered anywhere from Carroll to Des Moines or Iowa City, they weren’t going to resuscitate my baby. My mom demanded an ambulance to go to Iowa City. The doctor finally found one that was 30 minutes away to drive to Iowa City. Chase got to ride in the ambulance with me as my mom and Brian followed! The car ride from Carroll to Iowa City is over 3 hours. After a long ride in the ambulance, we finally made it.

Once I got to the hospital, we moved rooms a couple of times. The doctors came in and wanted to check me. They told me my water was not broken. It was only ruptured! My baby’s foot was hanging out of my cervix. They started me on many different medications to keep him in as long as possible. They started a new IV and gave me meds to help keep him in. My due date was February 19, 2020. The NICU doctor came in to talk to me about what the plan would be if I delivered early. She gave me two options. She told me that once he was born, he could be taken over to the bed and be intubated or he could just lay on my chest for comfort care. I started to bawl. I didn’t know what to expect. I told her to try everything they could to help save my baby. She told me the survival rate of 22-weekers at the University Of Iowa is 59%!

On Monday night, I started to feel pressure around 10:30 p.m. The nurse told me I was having contractions and she was going to page the doctors. The doctors arrived about 15 minutes later. They looked at the monitors and told the nurse and my mom and boyfriend that I wasn’t having contractions. They ordered fentanyl for the pain I was having. I remember the nurse telling my mom and boyfriend, ‘When she wakes up, it’s go-time.’ The fentanyl knocked me out for a few hours. I remember waking up at 3:30 a.m. feeling a lot of pain and pressure. My boyfriend woke up to me shaking the bedrails due to the pain and pressure I was having. I saw my mom run out of the room to grab the nurse. The doctors showed up and told me this time, I was in labor. I remember the resident asking if I wanted an epidural. The doctor told the resident I couldn’t have one, due to the baby being in my cervix. If I sat up, the baby would fall out. From the time I arrived at the university, I was on bed rest. They decided to give me another dose of fentanyl. It basically made me so sleepy and loopy when I was delivering the baby.

We welcomed baby Easton into the world at 4:06 a.m. Easton weighed 1 pound and 2.8 ounces. He was still in his amniotic sac. I don’t remember the delivery or seeing my baby before he was wheeled off to the NICU. My mom captured a couple of pictures so I could remember seeing him before he was off to the NICU. I had to stay in the labor and delivery suite until I was cleared to be moved to the mother-baby unit. It took about 2 hours before I got to see my precious baby.

When we finally got to go see Easton, I had many things run through my mind. I had no idea they saved little tiny babies like my baby. The first time I saw my baby, tears ran down my face. He was hooked up to the jet ventilator, had many cords around him, and his bed was covered with Saran Wrap to help keep him warm. Being a first-time mother, it was frightening to see this. I remember standing with my mom and Chase at his bedside, not knowing what to think. I remember the doctors telling me the first 72 hours are the most critical. My family had to head back home to go back to work on Wednesday evening. That meant I was going to be at the hospital all alone. I didn’t have anything prepared for this delivery. I didn’t have a hospital bag for either myself or my baby. After being at the mother-baby unit for 2 days, I was discharged with no place to go. I met so many people, from doctors to nurses to residents to X-ray techs to lab techs to CNAs to social workers. I was there at the hospital sleeping in the NICU on the couch, either waiting for a call from the Rossi’s house or Ronald McDonald House. It was finally the weekend and I got a call from the Ronald McDonald house saying they had a room available for me. I was so excited and called my family, who were on there way up to meet Easton for the first time. My sisters and Brian (my mom’s fiancé) finally met him. They were all speechless seeing a little baby not much bigger than a thermometer.

It definitely was a roller coaster bring in the NICU. The days felt so long and some seemed never-ending. I finally got to hold my baby after 14 long excruciating days. The nurses and respiratory therapists had to come and help get him out because one wrong move could have ended his life. There were no words to describe the feeling. Easton was doing so well, they put him on the Nava about a month later. He was doing so good for 13 days. He got moved to the next bay in the NICU.

I got a call at 4:50 in the morning saying they had to put him back on the jet ventilator. My heart hurt so bad. It was such a huge setback. I was also sick the day they called me, so I couldn’t go up and see my baby. It was once of the worst feelings ever. After another two weeks, he was finally put on the nava again. He was doing so well they put him on the NP-CPAP. He did so well, they put him on a nasal cannula but the doctor told me, ‘You have to promise me one thing… do not put any cyclone stuff on him because that will cause him to hold his breath.’ My mind was blown because usually they only talk about his plan of the day. This was the first time the doctor joked around, which made me laugh and smile.

Easton made so much progress, he got moved to the children’s hospital! It was a great upgrade and more spacious. He felt like my own baby finally because I could get him out on my own without nurses in there. He got his first bottle on January 14, 2020. He did so well with it and moved stages so fast. He is making so much progress. We were discharged on February 7, 2020! I couldn’t believe it. After 107 days in the NICU, Easton is now a NICU graduate! We couldn’t be any prouder of our little miracle baby! We couldn’t be more thankful for the staff at the University of Iowa and Stead Family Children’s hospital for everything they have done!! Our baby went from being 1 pound, 2.8 ounces to a baby now weighing 13 pounds.”

Courtesy of Chantal Moore

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Chantal Moore. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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