Sean and I got married on February 12, 2000, and unexpectedly were pregnant two weeks later, but it was a wonderful surprise and gift! Everything had gone smoothly except that later in my pregnancy, I started leaking proteins. It wasn’t a concern for a while because I felt good, my blood pressure was normal, and I had very little swelling. But everything changed when I got to 38 weeks.
On November 7, I had a horrible headache so I called my OB/GYN who instructed me to come in and get checked out even though they were about to close. My blood pressure was okay but I had a lot of protein in my urine so the doctor decided to induce labor. I was so glad but also very scared as this was our first baby.
We went to the hospital that night at 7 PM. My labor lasted eighteen hours and was very painful because my epidural wore off about four hours after I received it and they never did get me out of pain! Sean Alexander Greene was born November 8, 2000 at 1:45 PM. He was only five pounds, six ounces and 18½ inches long. He was the most beautiful and wonderful thing I had ever seen! The NICU team checked him and said he was doing fine but he was just small.
However, I was not doing so well and I got a horrible fever and started swelling. I had a touch of bronchitis before I went into labor that seemed to be getting worse. I had to stay in the hospital for several days with postpartum pre-eclampsia and pneumonia. Fortunately, Alex (we decided to call him by his middle name) was doing pretty well except for some feeding problems. He did not do well on the breast and seemed to be lactose intolerant. I really could not keep trying to breastfeed because I was so ill so we put him on a lactose-free formula.
We finally got to go home but it was very hard because I was so sick. I thank God every day for my mother and my husband for taking care of the baby and me. Alex seemed to be doing well but at his first pediatrician appointment, the doctor decided to put him in the hospital because he had lost weight and was down to four pounds, fifteen ounces. The doctor felt he was failing to thrive. At the hospital, they gave Alex IV fluids and precautionary antibiotics because his white blood count was slightly elevated and they wanted to prevent him from getting pneumonia. The doctor also thought he was not tolerating the formula so Alex was put on a special formula called Alimentum. Within 48 hours he was back to his birth weight and looking much better so they let us go home.
Our sweet, new son and I continued to get better and he is the absolute light of our life. He is now four months old, almost thirteen pounds, and growing like a blossoming flower. Alex is now on regular lacto-free formula and is feeding fine.
I want all the new mothers of premature or low-birth babies who are going through this roller coaster of emotions to know that it will be okay. You just have to go one day at a time and love your baby with everything you are.