The Many Faces Of Perseverance Blog Series. I thought it would be nice to take the filter out of our daily lives and to be able to relate to many different people about struggles that we each face. I am learning everyday to embrace the struggles we go through, instead of fearing them. I am learning that everything we go through is putting us on our path and helping us grow. I am learning that even when its uncomfortable and hard that we are learning so much about ourselves and that our struggles are shaping us into a better version of ourselves. I hope you gain guidance, inspiration, and support from this series – Alexa
Karol, what made you want to share your story with others?
I wanted to share my story with others because, not many people know what it’s like to have a baby, prematurely. Between the time spent in the NICU, the time finally spent at home, and all the risks and dangers in between.
Let me start with a little about me. My name is Karol, I’m 24. Married to my high school Sweetheart, Ryan. Momma to a 11 month old little boy, Parker. I am diabetic and have been since I was 9, so during my pregnancy I was considered high risk. But even so, my pregnancy was rather easy. Thank goodness. Even with that said, I did have some complications, the biggest simply being I had my son a day shy of 7 weeks early
Because I am diabetic, Parker was born at a weight of 6lbs 5oz. We got extremely lucky with what was just thrown our way. With that being said, I was induced because my blood pressure spiked and I gained 8lbs of fluid in just a few days, which was causing a lot of stress on my body, and on Parker. I had already been in the hospital for a few days, when my blood pressure spiked again, and the doctors said we couldn’t wait any longer. So, I was induced at midnight on Nov. 10.
With being induced it can take anywhere from 24-48 hours to really get things moving. So I was already dreading having to be in labor that long. Which if you’ve never been induced, please know, that once the induction starts so do your contractions, and it’s not like it starts gentle, then get worse. No, its full force the entire time. Luckily, I was only in labor for 21 hours. Yes ONLY, I’m thankful for 21 hours, and not 48+.
I pushed for roughly an hour and 20 minutes. And he was here. My perfect little boy. And just like every other mother I couldn’t wait to hold my baby. Except because he was so early I got to kiss his head then he was off to the NICU to get hooked up to a C-PAP machine and a heart/oxygen monitor. The last organ for a baby to be fully developed is the lungs. Since we knew I wasn’t going to have him right then, they gave me a steroid to help his lungs develop quicker, before inducing me. The steroid did it’s just which then lead to the C-PAP being taken off 12 hours after birth, which is huge. Most baby born before 35 weeks are on a C-PAP machine for at least a few weeks.
Things had already been looking good! Until I was told that I was going to be put on a medicine for my blood pressure, that I had to be on bed rest because it could cause seizures and/or strokes. So not only did I not get to hold my baby after he was born but then I wasn’t able to see him for another 2 days. Now my family was able to and took a lot of picture to show me, and told me every update the NICU had, but nothing helped, because all I wanted was to hold my baby.
Once I was off the medicine, they moved me to the mother infant floor, which is where every mother goes after having a child. And in most cases, that baby will be on that same floor where the mother and baby can go in and out of the room. But Parker was down on the 3rd floor as I was on the 4th. So, my nurse told me that at some point in the night I would need to get up and walk so that I could go see Parker. And since I was on that medicine, it made such a simply task, much harder. My head was still very fuzzy, but I was beyond ready to start walking. So, the first step to is to go to the bathroom with minimal help. Which I did with flying colors. Once I came out of the bathroom I told my nurse it felt so good to stand I really wanted to go for a short walk, which she was hesitant but said okay if she and Ryan came with for support.
The next morning, I could go see my baby. I was so happy, I could barely contain my excitement. I got up so fast and was ready to book it to the elevator, but of course, I had to be wheeled there. I hated it, but I didn’t care; I was about to see my little boy. Once down there I was hit with reality. All around were tiny little humans, who were being taken care of by the greatest nurses in the entire world. These nurses kept my baby alive on multiple occasions.
Parker did have some issues in the beginning, which include (in English terms); forgetting to breathe when sleeping/eating, which would in turn lower his heart rate to the point he would turn blue, and nurses would have to rub his chest to “wake” him up. I still remember the nurses calling us the first time it happened, and I lost it. To think if those nurses wouldn’t have been there, I may not have him today. So, when I say they are the greatest nurses, I truly mean it, and I feel like I owe them my life for keeping my son alive.
Now being a first-time parent is one of the scariest things to happen in my life this far, but also one of the most rewarding. My story just had some hiccups. My son was born quite early, but was born with a few issues, that he would grow out of, and has. But he spent a month and a half in the hospital. It was the hardest time in my life, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t depressed or anxious that entire time. I spent that month and a half at that hospital, for at least 6 hours a day. I fed him daily like most moms do. I held him and just starred at his facial expressions as he slept peacefully. I also had to “wake” him up on a few occasions, but not as bad as when the nurses had too.
Ryan works at the hospital so we both basically lived there. Parker spent thanksgiving in the hospital and we were there with him for his first holiday. We heard a few different times that “he is doing very well, he’s getting closer and closer to coming home.” Which in our minds, was in the next few days. We were always very hopeful, but we really didn’t know how long he would be there. Come the beginning of December, we got angry and frustrated that we couldn’t bring our baby home. We felt empty. Every morning I would go into his nursery, and just stare at his crib wishing I was waking him up for breakfast.
Fast forward to the morning of Dec. 14. The 3rd best day of my life. I got a phone call saying we could come pick up our baby, and keep him home forever! I got off the phone and screamed for Ryan, and I swear, I hugged him and felt like I was never going to let go. Now that I look back, that month and a half was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, but I would do it all over again for my child to be so healthy. All the hand washing, staying away when sick, all the long nights and early mornings. All the tears, and break downs are worth having my Parker being here, and healthy.
What I hope people take away from my story is that life is always going to throw things our way, that we feel like we can’t get through. That feel like were being dragged through mud, or going through some of the worst pain ever imaginable. Please always remember you are given this life, because you can do it. I never thought the pain of not having my baby would go away. But a phone call changed that for me.
Also, please be very gentle with parents to premature babies. Understand that saying ‘everything will be okay’, doesn’t help the situation. Asking when the baby will be able to come home, only hurts more. Remind the parents to take care of themselves while the baby isn’t home. I was told on multiple occasions to go home and take a nap, because the nurses could tell that’s what I needed. Or to go get food, because it was 4pm and I had been there since 8am and hadn’t moved other than to use the restroom. Be patient with these new parents, because they know in their minds that they are new parents, but they feel empty because they don’t get to hold their baby without monitors and alarms going off. With any new child, but especially with premature babies, always wash your hands, and never kiss their face or hands. If you feel sick, please stay away. I know having a new baby around is exciting, but if a premature baby contracts any type of infection, it attacks much harder on them then you or I.
Please be patient with the parents if the snap at you; speaking from experience, they probably aren’t sleeping well. Not that you must, but offering to help with cleaning or cooking, will help relieve some stress. When you practically live at the hospital, you really don’t care what your home looks like at the moment, because your rarely there anymore.
The support system we had during this trying time, doesn’t understand how thankful we are to them. Without them, I feel like we would have lost hope. In life, it truly is the little things that mean the most. And time truly does heal all. My son has taught me to be strong through every situation. Because at just a few days old, he was already fighting for his life. He is the strongest soul, and we are extremely blessed to have him apart of our family.