It was November 2010 when we discovered we were expecting Baby #3. My husband, Jonathan and I were already the proud parents of two sweet girls; Hannah, 3 years and Aliyah, 4 months. Yes, our last two children would only be 13 months apart!
Although our plan was to have our last ones close, we hadn’t anticipated it happening so soon. During the course of my pregnancy, we learned that we were expecting a boy! My pregnancy was quite uneventful and I was enjoying every moment.
On June 29 of 2011, I was in my 29th week of pregnancy. I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen, similar to a pain of a kidney infection. I lay down and thought nothing of it.
As the day progressed I started experiencing tightening in my belly. This was a new feeling for me: I had been induced with #1, which ended in a C-section. #2 was also a C-section, only 11 months earlier. This couldn’t be contractions…it was too early - my pregnancy had been low risk and I was feeling great. So, we celebrated my mum’s birthday and I went to music practice at church with this “tightening” continuing.
Around 1am, I woke up and the contractions were getting more intense. I started timing them and they were 3 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each. I got my husband and he pulled out the baby book, thinking it was Braxton Hicks.
We decided to call HeathLinks and the nurse told us to get to a hospital. I started spotting during the call, so we headed to the ER in Steinbach where we found out I was 3cm dilated.
The doctor started making calls and there was a lot of commotion. At one point I had an injection in my thigh, which Jonathan and I assumed would slow down the contractions so we could go home. The injection was actually an antenatal steroid treatment which can speed up the development of the baby's lungs and gives many preterm babies a much better chance of survival.
The decision was made to send me by ambulance to the Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg to have our baby. I rode in the ambulance and Jonathan followed by himself in our car.
As I was by myself, thoughts of fear and dread came, but there was one song that kept me at peace:
Our God is greater, our God is stronger God You are higher than any other Our God is Healer, awesome in power Our God, Our God
At that moment, I knew I wasn’t alone and that our baby would be born healthy and whole.
We arrived at the hospital around 5:45am. I was 6cm dilated, the baby was moving around quite a bit and the nurses were having a hard time finding the baby’s heartbeat. I was prepped for surgery. But before we went in, the doctor came and spoke with us. I had planned on having my tubes tied after #3. She said that they advised against it, knowing the health issues involved with preemies. We agreed with her, but I knew in my heart that there would be no issues and that our #3 was a miracle.
At 6:56am on June 30, 2011 our baby boy, Myles Jonathan was born. He was 2lbs 15oz and was the tiniest human I had ever seen. How was he here already? It was too soon. They whisked him out of the operating room and I went to recovery.
The first real look we had of him was from pictures the nurses had taken. He was covered in tubes. His body was lined with dark hair (he looked like a little monkey) and was just skin and bones. Jonathan and I were finally able to see him in the NICU a few hours later.
The nurse told us not to rub his skin, because it he was so sensitive. They took him out of the incubator and we were able to hold him skin-to-skin. By the end of the day, he was off breathing support. I stayed in the hospital for two more nights, as I recovered.
On July 2nd, Myles was two days old. Jonathan and I made the difficult decision not to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Our girls at home needed us too. Instead, I would drive in every day to be with Myles.
I found the following note I made in my phone that day,: “Feeding well, breathing a tad unstable, but Myles is self-regulating most of the time. Kangaroo-care with Mama & Daddy. Mama was discharged today. Hard to say goodbye, but Jesus is with you and God has given us amazing nurses to take care of you. You’re never alone. Sheila (family friend) and Nani (my mum) both saw the Lord’s hand on you….”
Myles’ NICU stay was 14 days. During that time he was treated for jaundice, his weight dipped to 2lbs and there was a heart valve open. We left the NICU after his weight increased, the jaundice had cleared and a scan on his heart showed that the valve had closed naturally. The discharge team said Myles was doing the best he could for his age.
Our next journey was to the Intermediate Care Nursery, where we spent the next 51 days. This was the hardest time. Myles needed to go 72 hours without any bradycardia episodes – where the heart rate dips or becomes very slow. I would hold him for hours, staring at the monitor praying that it wouldn’t dip. Each time it did, I felt defeat and frustration. I was getting impatient. But, deep down I was still at peace, knowing that God was with us.
On September 7th, 5 days before Myles’s due date—we were finally able to bring our son home. During the next 18 months we went in for all the checkups and eye & ear appointments that were necessary for a preemie and all tests were passed with flying colours.
Our experience may not seem as intense as others who have had a premature baby, but I still can’t count the number of times I broke down and cried out to God. It was heart-wrenching leaving my baby every night, relying on strangers to care for him. Yet, He was there through it all:
-Myles was born the day after school was let out for summer holidays. This meant that my mum and sister were off for the summer and were able to watch the girls and be my support.
-Myles was discharged the day after school started in September.
-We didn’t have to endure the Manitoba winter roads and storms.
-We were blessed by countless meals, offers for childcare, and visits at the hospital from family, friends and pastors which were always accompanied by prayers for Myles and for us.
Myles is now 7 years old. He's inquisitive, energetic, gives Mama countless hugs & kisses and most importantly, loves Jesus.
We received a letter from the RHA after one of our last checkups in 2012, that closed with this sentence: In summary, Myles presents as a delightful ex-premature infant who had a relatively uneventful neonatal course.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Our God is greater.
About the Author:
Ruth is a woman of many talents! She is a wonderful mother and maker of the best meat buns & crab wontons. She is an incredible musician and can be found playing the bass guitar at church on the weekends. She is a great sister and loves to laugh at her sister's expense. Most impressively, she has perfected the art of the perfect eyebrow and her eye-liner is what legends are made of.
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