I’m at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, staying the night with my dear friend R. who is 28 weeks pregnant after IVF and now hospitalized for the duration of her pregnancy. She had to be admitted after it was determined that she was having contractions, was four centimeters dilated, and that her membranes were bulging. With medication, the contractions have been stopped. And now she’s trying to eke out as much time as possible before the baby is born.
Once R. got to the hospital, it was also discovered that she has protein in her urine (BP is normal) so they are watching her for preeclampsia. She has received steroids to develop her daughter’s lungs. She may or may not be leaking amniotic fluid (two tests came back positive, two negative). They are estimating her daughter currently weighs approximately 3 lbs.
R. is a very good friend of mine from college. She miraculously got pregnant with this little girl with her own eggs at age 44 – from her first IVF cycle (I am only a little envious of her incredible luck and amazing egg quality). I am going to be her daughter’s godmother once she is born – which her doctors say is likely to be in the next week or two.
Considering everything, R. is doing pretty well. Her family lives a few hours away and can only visit once a week, so she is alone right now. She’s scared, bored, and a little blue after spending Christmas waiting for the impending arrival of her daughter. But she is resilient. And she is grateful to have made it to a great hospital with a good NICU.
This is R’s first – and will be her only – biological child. She hasn’t yet taken any birthing classes, doesn’t know much about breastfeeding, and doesn’t know ANYTHING about preemie births and what to expect after the birth.
So my dear readers and ICLW’ers , this is where I turn to you for advice.
Since I am nulliparous, I’m not even sure what specific questions to ask. And of course I realize that every week will make a big difference in the outcome for her daughter and that there is a lot of variability between one baby and the next, even when babies are born in exactly the same week. And I also know that based on some of your experiences, 28 weeks sounds pretty far along! That said, moms of preemies, can you give any words of advice to R? What do you wish you had known? What got you through the toughest times? Any recommended reading on dealing with the special issues presented by a preemie?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts, advice, book and website recommendations, etc.
3 hours ago