Feeling Grateful During World Prematurity Month, by Kate Anderson
My first son Nicholas was born premature at 35 weeks via emergency C-section due to his lack of movement. I thank God every day that I was aware of his decline in movements in the womb. Nicholas was pretty active during pregnancy, so when I wasn’t feeling him moving around anymore I became concerned. What was once 10-15 movements or kicks every few hours turned into 10-15 a day.
I had a pretty good pregnancy up until that point. I didn’t have morning sickness at all, I ate and drank pretty well, and all my appointments went smoothly. I was seeing a high-risk OB, because of my heart. I had pulmonary stenosis when I was a baby and it’s something that has always affected me. So I was already being followed pretty closely by my doctors.
I already had a routine appointment scheduled for a few days later, so I decided to wait until then to talk to the doctor. I thought this was OK since he was probably getting bigger which meant less movement.
I expressed my concerns about the non-movement to the nurse at my appointment. During the ultrasound, he wasn’t moving at all so they tried waking him up by vibrating my stomach. He would only budge just a little bit. After a 45-minute ultrasound, I was put on a fetal monitor. When his movements still didn’t improve, we were sent to the hospital.
At the hospital, I had another ultrasound and was put on a fetal monitor again. The doctor asked me a lot of questions about my pregnancy and family history. When things still didn’t improve, my doctor decided I would have an emergency C-section. My original birth plan was to have a natural birth. My doctor told me Nicholas wouldn’t have been able to handle a vaginal birth. I was somewhat disappointed in the new birth plan, however I wanted Nicholas to be safe and alive.
Nicholas David was born weighing 5 lb. 14 oz. and 19 inches, 5 weeks early. After he was born, they discovered his umbilical cord was twisted three times and wrapped around his neck and belly. The doctor said if we didn’t get him out when we did, it would have been “traumatic.”
Hearing that word was scary to me. I knew that if I had voiced my concerns any later, Nicholas probably would have died. However, I also felt incredibly thankful that he was alive. For being such a stressful day, I remained surprisingly calm. I just kept praying that he’d be OK and knew so many other people were praying for us too. I felt God’s presence that day and know Nicholas is here because of Him.
Nicholas spent seven weeks in the NICU (52 days). Initially, he was there for oxygen right after birth, but was later diagnosed with silent aspiration. He came home after having surgery for a G-tube and Nissen.
Five years later, Nicholas has Autism, is non-verbal, and has sensory processing disorder. For a long time we thought his prematurity was the reason for his disabilities. After being diagnosed with Autism and a rare genetic disorder after he turned 3 years old, we found that his prematurity was a random event and has nothing to do with anything.
Nicholas is walking and learning to communicate. He’s doing really well in therapy and is a very happy boy. He’s in Kindergarten five days a week where he's in the special education class. Nicholas is really thriving right now and it’s really exciting to see how far he’s come. I’m so thankful that he’s alive.
Kate lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. You can read her writing at her blog This Special Journey.