Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November is Prematurity Awareness Month!

In my dreams I own a small baby boutique, bake all day (you could order cake balls, cupcakes and cookies from my boutique), do a little photography on the side (after being professionally trained) AND I'd write!  I'd love to write about being a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a nurse, a mom of a preemie, a mom with a weird uterus (haha) and everything in between!  But for now I'm a nurse....and I love it so I can't really complain!  I can still dream and until then I'll do this blogging thing and try to help other mom's out by blogging for Texas Children's Hospital!  I know reading other people's blogs helped me out so hopefully I'm helping someone out in return.

By guest blogger Lindsey Gooding
November is prematurity awareness month and I’m pretty positive I didn’t know this a year ago.  Boy oh boy do I now!  One in eight babies is born premature in the United States. In fact,it’s the leading killer of American newborns.  So, I ask myself how in the world did I not know more about this before becoming pregnant?  Women spend countless hours reading parenting books and researching how to become more fertile and how to track ovulation and yet most of us probably don’t know a lot about premature labor.

4/19/12 at 6:21 am, 3lbs 14 oz
In my last blog post I talked about life being ironic.  I guess I can continue on that same track.  I worked at M.D. Anderson for over six years and had no intention of ever leaving since I loved working with the pediatric oncology population.   When a friend mentioned that the Texas Children’s West Campus was opening,I took a leap of faith,applied for an opening in the cancer center,and got the job!   I’m a creature of habit so this big change was out of character for me.  If I hadn’t made this big move I wouldn’t have delivered our son, William, at the new Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.  Words can not express how extremely lucky we are that all these events fell into place as they did.  The Pavilion was such a blessing for our family.    
Finding out I had a bicornuate uterus and being put on bed rest earned us extra doctor’s appointments.  Luckily, all these appointments were in one location….the Pavilion.  In a stressful time, this helped us become more familiar with where we would be delivering.   During one of our visits at the Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic we found out where to go when I went into labor.  I was only 29 weeks pregnant when I got put on bed rest.  We hoped baby boy wouldn’t come any time soon but knew we needed to be prepared.  Gordon knew the exact route to take to get to the hospital and what to do when it was time.  We had a plan. 

31 weeks preggo heading to The Pavilion
My water broke at 1 am.  We were at the hospital and checked in by 2:30am.  I’ve never been so calm in my life.  I knew I was in good hands.  There wasn’t a single moment that I worried about the care William would receive.  We were after all at the nations #2 Neonatology center!  Of course I was nervous to see how big William would be at only 32 weeks. .  I felt anxious about whether or not we’d get to hear him cry or if he’d be able to breathe on his own.  I always envisioned our families being there for the birth of William.  Instead, the room was filled with people I’d never met before, people who I will now love forever for helping our baby.  Everyone that touched William during his 30 days in the NICU loved him and took excellent care of him. 
A week old and off CPAP
When I finally got down to the NICU to see William five hours after he was born the nurse asked me if I wanted to change his diaper.  I was terrified.  I’ve changed a million diapers but he was so tiny and there were so many tubes and wires.  This is where the Pavilion’s excellent nursing care came in.  They helped me feel more comfortable.  They showed me where things were and taught me how to use the equipment.  They were always there to help me but at the same time they let me be his mom.  I got to know William and we had a routine for ourselves even though we weren’t at home.  Being able to stay in the same room with him was PRICELESS.  We got to have alone time, family time and bonding time.  The staff encouraged both me and Gordon to do skin-to-skin time with William.  They helped brand new parents feel comfortable during a frightening time.  Having a premature baby is stressful.  Many families would describe the NICU atmosphere as busy and hectic.  The words I would use for our NICU experience are far from hectic.  The words that come to mind are quiet and peaceful. 

Meeting William
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to explain the calmness that settled over me once I’d had William.  I just knew he was getting the best care.  Before I had him I could have guaranteed you that I’d be the kind of parent that wanted a copy of every report, but I wasn’t.  I never asked for a single copy of his lab results.  I just knew that he was being cared for by the best of the best.  During those four weeks I just needed to be a mom.  I needed to focus on loving him, feeding him, making food for him and spending time with our family.   Gordon and I were able to do all of these things and do them privately in our own room.  I could even shower right down the hall from his room in the parent “locker room” area.  At lunch time I could either walk down to the cafeteria or just step outside of his room to the Ronald McDonald House kitchen and eat leftovers from home.  The gift shop has everything a breastfeeding mom could ever need and the milk bank was just a hop, skip and a jump away to answer any questions I had.  I never had to be far from William.  I planned my days around morning rounds with the doctors, evening bath time and William’s every three hour feeding schedule.  I’m probably rambling now….all I can say is we are SO glad our baby boy was born at the Pavilion.  I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. 

Gordon and I were put into a situation that neither one of us ever dreamed of.  But you know what?  I wouldn’t change a thing about it!  We were treated so nicely and our baby boy is strong and healthy.  They taught me how to use a car seat the right way and all those other little things new moms and dads need to know.   I can only hope that hospitals across the nation adopt this new way of caring for NICU patients (and their parents!).

First Family Photo (6 days old)


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