With Ryley’s birthday being tomorrow, I have spent the past few weeks looking back. Telling my story and hearing others, reading others, has been therapeutic. It’s also been hard. I know I can’t change what happened to my pregnancy, to Ryley and his early arrival and NICU stay. I can fight on to keep what happened to us from happening to others. In the meantime, I still beat myself up sometimes with all the woulda, shoulda, coulda’s. The things that I look back on now and just want to smack myself upside the head for allowing to happen.
I SHOULD have listened to my heart instead of my doctor and my head the first time I had an “episode” at 21 weeks. Sharp pain in the lower back that nearly knocks you over, nearly knocks you out, nearly makes you throw up, is not normal, and is not related to just “needing to put your feet up.” I SHOULD have gone into the ER that day. Maybe I wouldn’t have abrupted at 23 weeks 4 days. I SHOULD have pushed the doctors, asked more questions, once I was admitted. I was in la-la land. I could not and would not believe what was happening to me, to my baby. I cannot believe how naive I was. They never checked for anmiotic fluid when I was admitted. On ultrasound, there was enough amniotic fluid so they just assumed there was no leak in the amniotic sack. There was so much blood (TMI I know, but reality), I’m not sure if they would have even been able to tell if there was fluid coming out. I SHOULD have told the nurse immediately when that IV started hurting and bleeding. Maybe if it had been changed right away, I wouldn’t have gotten the infection that finally sent me into the labor that brought Ryley out at 26 weeks. They never gave me any antibiotics after I was admitted, until AFTER I got the infection and delivered. Then I got four weeks worth, three times a day everyday, through a PICC line in my right arm. I never knew what a contraction felt like. Didn’t know it til just a few hours before Ryley was born. I SHOULD have asked more questions before 20 weeks when they start sharing more information with you. I SHOULD have probably had a c-section instead of a vaginal delivery. I mean, they knew at that point that I had a staph infection, just not what kind of staph. Blessedly, Ryley did not get the infection, but what if I hadn’t delivered as quickly as I did (as if 15 hours start to finish is “quick”)? Would he then have gotten the infection? Or would they have done a C-section if I hadn’t delivered by a certain time? What a risk. Maybe if I had done all the shoulda, coulda, wouldas, we would have had a better outcome. Maybe not. I can’t change what is. I can change my attitude about it. I can take what we went through, what we learned, what we experienced, and put it to use. I need to know that our struggles and experience will benefit someone else, help another mother out there so that she doesn’t have to go through the woulda, shoulda, couldas after she has a premature baby.