Janita shares this inspiring story of her son’s premature birth at 32 weeks – and her commitment to breastfeeding.
“On the morning of the 22nd April at 6.30am, at exactly 32 weeks pregnant, our adventure started.
I was woken by a distinct ”pop” sensation and a small amount of liquid. Since I was still half asleep I freaked out thinking that I needed to go to the toilet. The second I got out of bed I was fully woken by a large gush of liquid soaking my pants. I rushed off to the toilet and realised that the liquid was accompanied by a small amount of blood and then I started to panic.
I headed back into the bedroom to wake my husband, telling him that something was wrong – he practically catapulted out of bed. I tried to calm myself and started looking up information to determine whether the liquid was amniotic fluid. I eventually decided to give the hospital a call and was asked to come in immediately. Upon our arrival, they were already waiting for us and took me through to be checked.
I was hooked up to monitors that kept an eye on my contractions and our baby. They picked up very small contractions, but they needed a more conclusive way to determine what was doing on. Soon a doctor arrived and an ultrasound was done. I could immediately tell that there was very little amniotic fluid around our baby. The ultrasound was followed by a vaginal inspection, after which the doctor confirmed that my water had broken and there was reduced amniotic fluid. He also informed me that my cervix was very ripe, but not dilating.
I was checked in and told to remain lying down while they administered various medications, including cortisone to speed up my baby’s lung development, in case they could not hold off his delivery. I was given various other injections and an IV to stop the onset of labour and spent the night in hospital. At that point I was told that I would be held indefinitely – hopefully until at least 34 weeks pregnant if possible.
The night was a blur of doctors and midwives checking both me and my baby’s vitals, administering medications and even a visit from the neonatal ward, with a presentation to prepare us for what we might be facing. My husband eventually went home for the night to collect some things for me, because who knew how long I would be in hospital.
I hardly slept that night – struggling with back ache and fear for my baby. I had not felt him move since my water broke. At 5am on the 23rd April a nurse brought me some breakfast, which I could not eat because of the severe back pain. Once again at exactly 6.30am I was struck with sudden stomach ache, like a severe case of menstrual cramps. The cramps seemed to be about 15 minutes apart and I was very quickly hooked up to the monitors again and administered more medication to stop the contractions. These medications did nothing… in fact it almost seemed like they made the situation worse – bringing the contractions to about 5 minutes apart. The nurse informed me that they probably would not be able to hold off delivery much longer and gave me another cortisone injection.
At about 7 am I had called my husband and asked him to rush back to the hospital as something was going on and I was sure that our baby would arrive shortly. A doctor rushed in at that time to check my cervix, informing me that I was 1cm dilated. By the time my husband had arrived at 9.40am, I had already been moved to a delivery room, with my contractions five minutes apart and lasting up to 90 seconds each. I was 4cm dilated.
I continued to struggle through the pains with only a very little bit of additional oxygen to help me focus on my breathing and no pain medication. At 11.10am I was 8cm dilated and the midwife told me that she could feel my baby’s head pressed tightly against the opening of my cervix. Minutes later I started feeling the urge to push. I was cuddling our gorgeous little boy by 11.34am.
Our son was born at 32 weeks, weighing 2065g (4.5 lbs) and measuring 44cm (17.3 in) long. He spent the following three weeks in NICU, receiving oxygen for the first week and also spending some time in an incubator, as well as having some UV treatment. He was being fed my breast milk through a tube, even after we took him home, but I refused to give up, as I really wanted to breast feed him.
Now he is eight weeks old and finally considered at full term, weighing in at 3610g (7 lbs., 15 oz) and 51cm (20 in) long. He is exclusively breast fed and doing better than we could have expected.”