Ethan's wide grin and piercing blue eyes are the first thing I noticed when I met him. And immediately I could tell that he was enamored with his momma, Hannah. Looking at the two of them I never would have guessed that six short months previous to our meeting that they had undergone one of the most stressful situations a new mother and infant could endure. It wasn't until mid conversation that Hannah revealed to me Ethan's birth story. Here we sat, in a trendy coffee shop, with two happy babies but with two very different beginnings.
Did you know there was a possibility that he would come early or were you surprised?
I was very surprised when my water broke at 29 weeks. Up until that time I had no idea he would come early.
Can you share Ethan’s birth story?
Oh wow so many emotions and feelings come back just thinking about it. Ethan’s birth was the easy part, getting there was the journey. I was admitted to the hospital on my 29th week of pregnancy due to a rupture in my amniotic sac. I was rushed to the doctor and from there I was put on bed rest for the next three weeks. Words cannot describe how scared I was.
At 9 p.m. on Saturday, the night of my 32nd week, it was time for Ethan to make his grand entrance. Since he was breached, I had to be rushed down for an emergency C-section. Unable to receive a saddle block, I was told I would be put to sleep for his delivery. Sadly, Lucas and I were unable to witness his birth.
When I woke up I received the best news! I was the proud mother of a healthy baby boy. Ethan was born on February 20, 2016 weighing 3 lbs and12 oz.
After they got my pain under control from the c-section, I was able to be transported to meet Ethan in the NICU. I then saw him for the first time. He was so tiny and precious in his incubator. I was able to hold his little hand and tell him how much I loved him. It was a very beautiful moment.
How long were you in the NICUU?
What did you love and hate about it?
I didn’t love anything about it. I couldn’t hold him. I couldn’t feed him. I couldn’t do the normal things a new mother does with their newborn. It was probably the hardest part of Ethan’s birth for me. Much harder than the bedrest.
While in the NICU, he also got RSV, which is a story in itself, but we thank God and the amazing doctors and nurses of Baptist Health and Kosair for getting him ready to come home!
What were you thinking when you finally got to bring him home?
I was a little nervous because a preemie’s way of showing something is wrong is their heart rate and respirations will drop. Without the NICU monitors to rely on, it took some time for us to adjust and feel comfortable. However, we adjusted quite fast and loved having him home.
How is Ethan doing today?
Ethan is doing fabulous. Today he is 8 months old. 16.5 pounds and 26.5 inches long. He is so much fun! He can sit up now and almost crawl. We are so thankful he is doing so well.
Can you share some words of comfort for parents who are going through what you experienced?
Have faith that it will all work out. Do not focus on how you think it was all supposed to happen. Let family and friends help and support you. My faith in God also helped me. There were times I was alone in my hospital room and would just pray that it would all be ok. Having a baby is never perfect and it will never be exactly like someone else’s experience. Take what comes at you and let it make you stronger.