When Baby comes Early – Sarah and Arlo’s Story Part 2

Sarah & Edward hold preemie Arlo's footSarah and Arlo are testament to the strength of the human spirit and the amazing work that passionate, dedicated medical professionals do every day at TMC for Children. We pick up the story where Sarah has been admitted to TMC for Women and is on complete bed rest. She is 25 weeks pregnant.

“I had been in the hospital L&D for three days. The doctors had taken me off the magnesium drip and within an hour, the contractions began again.

Despite all of our hopes that baby would be able to stay put for a while it wasn’t looking like I wouldn’t be on bed rest much longer.

One of the doctors we had seen recommended we get an amnio test. He wanted to see if there was an infection. There was the tiniest pocket of fluid for him to extract and he had a hard time getting it. But it turns out, that specialist was right.

Why would I need an amniocentesis test later in pregnancy?

Usually amniocentesis performed between weeks 15 and 20 (usually around week 16) to look at genetic information, but it can also be used later in pregnancy to see how the fetus is doing.

The amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby has cells and other substances that can give clues about the health of your fetus including cells shed by your developing fetus. Amniocentesis is done by gently putting a needle through your belly into your uterus. Amniocentesis can also tell the sex of your fetus.

The cells are checked for the number and size of chromosomes (karyotype) to see if there are any problems that put the baby at risk for certain conditions. Please note: Amniocentesis cannot find many common birth defects, such as cleft lip, cleft palate, heart problems, and some types of intellectual disability.

Sometimes, if your baby is at risk for being premature,  amniocentesis may be done during the third trimester to see whether your baby’s lungs are developed. Your developing fetus makes substances that can be found and measured in amniotic fluid. The amounts of these substances show how mature the lungs are and if your baby will be able to breathe without help if delivered early. It can also be used to see if there is an infection of the amniotic fluid (chorioamnionitis).

After a couple of hours he came back and I will never forget him saying,

“It’s time to have a baby.”

I had a placenta infection and our little man could not stay in there any longer. He is such a smart baby man and already knew that didn’t he! I was still having contractions and the doctors needed to move it along by inducing to help get him out. The poor little guy was very stressed out. His heart rate kept dropping with every contraction.

We were afraid they’d have to take him out through a c-section, but they didn’t want that because he was so tiny. They estimated him just over a pound give or take.

“This baby will be here in ONE MINUTE.”

It was at that moment when everything came full circle and for me, it was real. It never seemed real before then. It seemed like seconds from the time she said one minute and our room was filled with what seemed like a thousand people. There were three labor and delivery nurses, three Neonatal Infant Care nurses, the Obstetrician and the NICU doctor.

I was shaking. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

I didn’t have time to breath before our baby was born and handed off without even a look to the NICU staff. I remember asking if he was breathing over and over. Finally, I heard the doctor say,

“Ok, the baby IS breathing.”

Relief. This was the best moment of the past few months, as the physician brought over our son long enough for me to kiss his nose before they ran him off to save his life. He was all wrapped up, all one pound 12.8 ounces of him. He was so, so, so small. Scary small.

I didn’t know if I would ever see him alive again in that moment. I wasn’t allowed to see him for three excruciatingly painful hours, the longest hours of my life. My husband was able to go and take a couple of pictures for me, but I had an epidural and wasn’t able to leave yet.

No way could those phone pictures prepare me for what I would see when I actually saw him again in person. He didn’t look that small on his phone! On the phone he looked like a newborn baby with a cone-shaped head, but a baby.”
preemie arlo in incubator
Sarah was shocked she was able to finally see him,

“He was a beanie baby. Literally, he was the size of your standard issue beanie baby.

His tiny leg was as long as my index finger.

His little hand was as small as my fingertip.

I could touch him, but only for a second and only as lightly as I could.

He was too fragile; his skin too sensitive to touch.

He was helpless and small….and he was mine. He was our son.”

Sarah’s and Edward’s little miracle, Arlo, was born at 25 weeks and 4 days. 1 lb 12.8 oz. 13.25 inches long. Watch this space for the Arlo’s next steps.