Gibson Family's Story
On April 1, 2013, I was 28 weeks pregnant and woke up to go to work just like every other day. Except when I woke up this morning, something was different. I was leaking fluid and I wasn’t sure why. I called my doctor and she said that it’s probably nothing, but you should maybe go in to the hospital just as a precaution. I laughed and agreed to go in, just to be safe. Little did I know, I would not be leaving the hospital for a long time!
As soon as we got to the hospital, the nurses confirmed what we had been fearing, my water had in fact broken at 28 weeks pregnant. From there, they began prepping me for what was to come with having a preemie and started me on tons of different medicines to try to buy a little more time. We were so confused but optimistic.
At first, I was on very strict bed rest, not even being allowed to get up to take a shower or go to the bathroom. But on the third day, I got to get up for a few minutes and could now go to the bathroom. I was so excited, maybe I was making progress and this baby was going to stay put. On the fourth day, I felt sick to my stomach, and my stomach hurt terribly. The pain stayed until my fifth day in the hospital when at 11 p.m. at night, I rolled over and tons of fluid gushed out. The pain grew more and more intense, and I even laughed, if I can’t handle gas pain, I am going to need an epidural for sure! Still, nothing was showing up on the contraction monitor, so they decided to manually check me just in case. We were sure glad they did, because the baby’s head was out!
From there it was a blur, things happened so quickly. While trying to get me to the OR, the bed broke down and stopped in the hallway. We had half a dozen people pushing and pulling the bed so baby wasn’t born in the hallway. They couldn’t find the doctor. But I finally made it to the OR, and Ms. Stella Elise Gibson was born at 11:55 p.m. at 29 weeks. She was just 3lbs 4oz. From the second they noticed I was in labor to the time she was born it was approximately 11 minutes. I was in shock. What just happened? Did I have a baby? I got to see her for a second, and she was crying, which I knew was a good sign. She was immediately put in the incubator and taken to the NICU from there.
I remember seeing her for the first time. So tiny, with so many tubes and cords, too many, it seemed, for such a tiny thing. And meeting the countless doctors and nurses who would be helping us through this journey. I remember thinking, how can such a tiny baby have so many doctors? We spent the next 7 weeks in the NICU and went through such an emotional roller coaster. It was hard. So hard.
But the weeks went by, and Stella got stronger and stronger. And with the help of an amazing support system at the hospital as well as at home, we got through it. Part of that support system was the March of Dimes. Beyond the treatments that Stella received like surfactant, a March of Dimes-funded treatment to help develop a baby's lungs, their Family Support Specialist was always there with us. She was there just to talk, listen to our fears, be a shoulder to cry on and provide advice. They were also there to let us know that we were not alone in this fight and that there we so many others that were there with us.
Through all that turmoil, Stella survived and thrived. If you would ask anyone who saw her today, you would never know that she had such a trying beginning. But she is now a smart, sweet and amazing 4-year-old. She would not be thriving as she is now without the love, support and research that the March of Dimes provides. And although we may never know what caused my water to break, at least we know the March of Dimes is there to continue to find answers.
Two years later, we decided to have another baby. And due to the research and commitment made by the March of Dimes, I was successfully able to make it to 35 weeks, and delivered a healthy baby girl named Nora Brielle. And although we were in the NICU for two weeks again, we had a little more confidence this time around that everything was going to be ok. During that second round of the NICU, I noticed even more the significant impact the March of Dimes has on every single baby is the NICU.
Premature birth is something that no family should ever have to experience. The amount of physical, emotional and financial stress that it puts on families is beyond explanation. This is why we joined the fight to help put an end to this epidemic. Because no baby should ever be born too sick, too early or too weak. Help us and join the fight to discover answers and support the March of Dimes.