Breanna Josephine's Birth Story By Chris Print
Birth Stories - Premature Birth Stories
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 08:45
Breanna Josephine Santos
Born Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 8:15am
Weighed 5 pounds and 6 ounces
Length 17.5 inches
Due date of April 1, 1997
Born at 33 weeks and 6 days gestation
In attendance - Kyle Santos, Heather Mirassou, Frank Insell, Sandra Russell and Ramona Herget

February 19, 1997

      Breanna's journey into the world began at conception which I believe occurred approximately July 9, 1996. I first had pregnancy symptoms on August 2, 1996. My pregnancy was confirmed by my doctor on August 15 and on August 28 I had my first ultrasound which showed a 9 week 1 day old fetus, which put the baby's due date at April 1, 1997.

      My pregnancy was a very easy one. I had minimal morning sickness and growing pains. I was very tired the first three months, but regained my strength the middle trimester, only to lose it again the last trimester. On January 15, 1997 I received my second ultrasound which confirmed we were having a baby girl. The ultrasound also reveled a larger than average baby with a big head. My doctor ordered a second ultrasound two weeks later with Radiology to take more measurements of the baby. They too confirmed a large baby. She measured one week further along than she was and they were anticipating a larger than average baby.

February 3, 1997

      I lost my mucus plug. I was 30 weeks and 5 days. I immediately called my doctor and was told only to worry if I was having contractions. Later that day, contractions began and I went to the hospital to be hooked up to a fetal monitor. The babies heart was beating strong and the contractions stopped. During that week I continued to leak mucus which I was told was normal and not to worry.

February 10, 1997

      I noticed that my mucus discharge was bloody, which at the time I thought was the "bloody show". Later when I was in real labor I learned what a bloody show really is. I also began to feel this pressure very low which felt as if the baby was dropping. I didn't bother worrying because I was not contracting and was told that it's normal to lose some blood and mucus and only call if regular contractions began.

February 12, 1997

      I really felt pressure low and knew the baby had dropped. I had pains in my back and lower abdomen. At about noon while at work I talked to my doctor and he told me to listen to my body and if I wasn't feeling well to go home and rest. I talked to my boss and made arrangements to work from home. I knew something wasn't right and if I didn't get off my feet that contractions might come. By 1pm the contractions began and were coming every 5-20 minutes, averaging about 6-7 in an hour. I didn't get off my feet until 6:30pm that day. I spent the next two hours in bed, drinking a lot of water hoping the contractions would stop. By 8:30pm they didn't so I phoned my doctor who told me to come to the hospital. After arriving at the hospital and monitoring the contractions for about a half hour, they decided that I was in pre-term labor and began an IV saline drip and began terbutaline injections. I had an internal exam and was a finger tip dilated. I received three terbutaline injections, one every 30 minutes. I also received two steroid injections to aid in fetal lung development should the baby be born. At about 11:30pm my contractions began to cease and I was then put on oral medication and stayed the night. I was released from the hospital at 5pm February 13, 1997 and sent home on strict bed rest.

February 14, 1997 at 9:30pm

      Contractions began again. They were very mild and inconsistent, again ranging from 5-20 minutes and having about 5 an hour. I was able to sleep through the night and when I awoke both throughout the night and the next morning, I could feel contractions. At about 9:00am February 15 I called the doctor and was told to take my terbutaline every three hours, rather than four. That seemed to help for a few hours but eventually my contractions came back.

11:00pm February 15, 1997

      I decided to call the doctor again because my contractions were stronger. They were not regular and I was not having more than 7 an hour but based on how strong they were I felt that I was having a cervical change and again in pre-term labor. Based on that my doctor advised me to come back to the hospital for monitoring. Because the terbutaline wasn't working, they decided to put me on an IV drip of Magnesium which also aides in stopping pre-term labor. I received an internal exam and was dilated to 2.5 cm and 100% effaced. The doctor did an ultrasound to confirm the baby was presented head down.

      I spent the next two days on Magnesium while they tried to stop my contractions. The Mag did help slow them down but in no way eliminated them. I was in a lot of pain and hadn't slept for two nights. The nurse offered me morphine to help the pain and help me sleep. I decided to take a small dose and after a few hours of sleep felt much better. That morning I had lost a lot of strength in my legs and had to have a catheter inserted, preventing me any "excuse" to get up from my bed. By the afternoon of February 16 my contractions had slowed a lot and they were talking about decreasing the dose of Mag and moving me to Maternity once they felt they had control of my pre-term labor. They decreased the Mag and gave me another oral drug (which I do not recall the name of) that also aides in stopping pre-term labor. After one hour, the contractions came strong and hard and more frequent so they decided to put me back on the Mag drip to slow the pre-term labor. That night, after three nights of not sleeping well, I was offered a sleeping pill and gladly accepted it. I received about three hours of blissful needed sleep.

      During the morning hours of February 17, I had dilated to 5cm, the baby was at zero station and my bag of waters was bulging. I was told by the nurse that I was going to deliver within the next 24 hours. They continued the Mag drip but my body had built up resistance and it was only slowing labor, not eliminating it. I was getting more frequent (every 7 minutes) and very painful contractions and when my cervix had dilated to 6cm, they decided to allow my labor to continue and stop the Mag drip. This was at about 1pm.

      Within � hour after the Mag was turned off, my contractions came more frequent (every 5 minutes) and were getting stronger in intensity, though tolerable. This continued till about 10:00pm which at that point I was nearing 7cm. By 11:00am I was 7.5cm and in considerable pain. The contractions were between 2-5 minutes and were lasting upwards of 1 minute. By 11:30pm I was offered and accepted fentonyl and received two doses about 45 minutes apart. By 1:00pm the fentonyl was not working and I was approaching 8.5-9cm and in considerable pain. My contractions were now still 2-5 minutes and very very strong. By 1:00am February 18 I had decided to get the Epidural which was a miracle. I was at immediate peace and able to relax for the first time in 4 days.

      From 1:00am February 18 until 6:30am I laid very still and was very relaxed. I could not feel any contractions but they were being monitored at every 2 minutes, lasting over a minute. At 6:30am I began to feel a pressure on my bowels which was the babies head getting into position. Every 2 minutes I could feel the head moving down more and more. I was now beginning to have the urge to push but concentrated to avoid putting pressure on my cervix which had just a little lip left that would not stretch behind the babies head.

      At 6:45am I was told my doctor was on his way and that when he arrived he would break my water and we could begin delivery. He was in the room at 7:30 and by 7:45am I was pushing. I was on my back and my best friend had my right leg and my babies father had my left leg. They would pull my legs back and lift me and push me forward. My contractions came every 2 minutes and lasted about 90 seconds. I got in three long hard pushes per contractions. I pushed for about 15 contractions or 30 minutes before the birth. The last four contractions were very very painful and frightening. Once her head began to crown, there was extreme excitement in the room by those witnessing the birth and I began to feel this incredible stretching and burning sensation. As the head crowned I was unable put my legs down and this caused me to panic. My doctor and nurse were very aggressive and were able to get my mind back into pushing and away from any fears I had. I gave another push and her head was born. Her father was in utter amazement and was telling me what she looked like as the doctor suctioned her mouth. As the next contraction came, out came her shoulders and she was born. My doctor placed her onto my stomach, clamped the cord and her father cut it.

      I felt this incredible feeling of love! My baby had just been born. They took her for a brief assessment, wrapped her and allowed me to hold her for a few minutes. She was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She had a full head of dark hair and the most perfect face. Her father was so proud! All of those that witnessed the birth were very touched and proud to have seen her entrance into the world. All I could do was cry the happiest tears I have ever cried! I was now a mother. I felt incredible love for not only my brand new baby daughter but also for her father and my best friend who were right there helping me through the toughest part of the entire labor and delivery.

      My baby was born at 33 weeks and 6 days and had to be taken to NICU for immediate observation. She was unable to spend time with me right after birth which was very upsetting but necessary. Because I had received steroid injections 4 days prior to her delivery, she was able to breathe on her own and was not put on a respirator . The pediatrician said that her only immediate problems would be sucking/swallowing and that she may have trouble breathing.

      After my recovery I was able to go to NICU to see my baby. She was under a radiant warmer and had an IV going and several monitors, monitoring her heart rate and her breathing. She had great color and was the most beautiful and precious thing I have ever seen. Being she's in NICU, I am able to visit her any time of the day or night and spend as much time as possible. Once she begins feeding and has learned to suck, I will be going every 2-3 hours to breast feed. Until that time, I'm home pumping to get my milk started and to have a supply ready for tube feedings.

      If I could pass anything on to a soon to be new mother I would tell you to learn as much as you can about your pregnancy, labor and delivery. Do not set a schedule and do not envision the perfect "storybook" labor and delivery. Simply learn as much as you can, be informed and know your choices. Ask lots of questions that way if things take a turn and are not in your control, you will understand why certain interventions are necessary and you will not be afraid. I had hoped to deliver on time and drug free but because of my circumstances, I was early, heavily medicated trying to stop my labor and after laboring for days, when the time came for other drugs that were my "choice", I opted to have them because of all I have been through. I do not regret any part of my birth experience, only very glad that I read a lot before I got to the labor room because it really helped me to be prepared for whatever I faced.