What It’s Like To Be The Father Of A Premature Baby (Premie)

Pregnancy itself is a roller-coaster, even the ideal pregnancy I would imagine is quite a stressful experience for the first time parents (especially the one with a tiny human growing in her belly). We honestly did not have the easiest pregnancy, at some points it was downright terrifying – especially seeing blood during the exact time when we were supposed to announce to the World that we were having a baby. The magical 3 months mark – Red tide.

And yes it happened again in May, not a good sign, but nothing we could do – nothing the Doctor could tell us..and upon reading far too much, is fairly normal (happens to about 20% of pregnant women). The only bad part, was it’s a fairly strong indicator of premature birth.

There’s 2 things in life I really strongly dislike, complaining and worrying (almost the same thing in fact..). Worry is pointless, if you can do something about it, do it. If you can’t, worrying isn’t going to change anything. Same for complaining, don’t complain, do something to change it, fix the situation, take action – don’t just whinge.

A lot of it can be alleviated by knowledge anyway, read, read, educate yourself and it becomes a lot easier to not worry (or the opposite sometimes when you read too much). Anyway, that’s my philosophy in life and I had to work extra hard to maintain it at certain points during the pregnancy, as it wasn’t an easy one in general.

On the whole it was wonderful though, Kim felt great and she was a glowing, beautiful, vibrant surprise pregnant lady (we consider a surprise mom when you see a hot chick from the back and she turns to the side or around and boom there’s a massive baby bump). She had very few serious symptoms, some morning sickness early on, no really crazy cravings, not much pain/discomfort. Other than the blood etc, it was a textbook pleasant pregnancy.

It was pretty stressful though, every day without blood was a blessing. Then things escalated fairly quickly, 11th July (around 29 weeks gestation) we had ‘The Show’ which is technically the body of the mother saying it’s ready to party, let’s get the baby out. I saw what looked an awful lot like a mucus plug (yes I Google Imaged it..I don’t recommend doing that).

This is when I started reading voraciously about all kinds of symptoms, probabilities, birth stages (micro preemies, early preemies, moderately premature etc etc), and was hoping we could make it to at least 34-35 weeks gestation as our little man would be pretty much fully developed by then and fairly well equipped to come out.

After ‘The Show’ we went to A&E and called our Doctor in to check things out, she said the cervix was a little soft and having a look at the picture of the mucus plug..she said it did very much look like a show and we needed to take precautions for premature birth – which is basically 2 steroids shots 12 hours apart to help along the lung development of the little one when he comes out.

As far as babies go, all systems are pretty much go from 28 weeks onwards, but the lungs are last to develop and be ready to take in outside air. Preemie lungs have issues due to a lack of surfactant which basically lubricates all the little tubes and stops them collapsing.

Most premature babies are born with some kind of respiratory distress (Which is why you see them on breathing apparatus). Anyway the earliest preemie stage which is unlikely to have any serious long term effects in 32 weeks, also has a 98% survival rate – which is good obviously.

Anyway after the steroid shots Kim just took it easy and was pretty much on bed rest, not moving a whole lot. We were just hoping and praying (in a non-religious way) that he would stay in as long as possible, as the last few weeks of gestation are when there is exponential growth and development of the body, brain, immune system, nervous system and much more.

So yah, July 30th I was supposed to go to the office, but Kim didn’t seem to be feeling to well, and I just had a bad feeling and thought I should stay at home. Lucky I did as the missus stayed in bed all day, she went to pee around 5pm and I heard a scream from upstairs.

I rushed up and found a wet floor..which I examined closely (yes I smelt it)…you smell it to make sure it’s not pee, to make sure it has no foul smells and you check it to make sure it’s clear and has no black/green tint. A black/green tint would indicate the baby is not coping well and needs to come out ASAP (emergency C-section).

The water had broken, but it didn’t seem to be a lot..you can read this part from Kim’s perspective too here: I have popped and this is how it went down..

Anyway, however little or much water broke (I suspected it was the hind waters, not the main sack) we rushed to the hospital and went straight into a labour room. I read up and found the probability of going into labour in the next 24 hours was 50% or higher. I was hoping we were in the other 50% that could go 4-6 weeks with a drip/leak/hind water burst as amniotic fluid does constantly regenerate and after an ultrasound the main sac was still full.

Stay positive and all that, I hung out in the hospital till about 3am then went home to get some sleep. There was no contractions or major dilation (around 1cm) so we were hopeful that he could stay in until at least 36 weeks.

But no, he wasn’t having any of it. I got a panicked call from Kim around 10am saying it was on, she was having major contractions and they’d started at about 5.30am and were getting closer and stronger.

I decided I should probably go into the hospital, so I packed the bag full of stuff we might need and off I went.

It was all very sudden, we seriously had nothing ready – we had a stroller and a car seat I bought because I saw the exact model we wanted on sale. But literally nothing else, no clothes, no diapers, no cot, nothing.

I got to the hospital and Kim was already super drowsy from the gas and air she was sucking on like a crack pipe, she wouldn’t let it go. I have to say, that contraction business looks bloody painful. By about 11am she was screaming for an epidural, but the Doctor said it was too late, she was already 6cm dilated (so 60% of the way there), her contractions were too close together and she was progressing that fast it was going to be over soon anyway.

She was grabbing my hand so hard my fingers almost dropped off (ribena purple they were), but hey, I was happy to bear that rather than pooping out a 2kg human from any of my body orifices.

Things went pretty fast and our son was born pretty smoothly at 1.52pm July 31st 2014 without complications at 32 weeks 4 days (other than him being almost 8 weeks early) his due date was September 22nd. So yah, he was supposed to be born yesterday (relative to when the this post was written).

But as someone so wonderfully put it, this way we get to spend an extra 2 months with him!

Seeing your wife give birth naturally (or even cesarean I would imagine) is not an experience for the faint hearted, government hospitals no longer let the fathers be present during birth as they just don’t have enough resources to deal with all the fainting/puking etc.

Thankfully my constitution is ok I think as I managed to stay concious through-out the entire thing, and didn’t puke and even took some pictures of ‘that’ moment. Although I wasn’t exactly looking directly, so I think they are blur/overexposed haha.

This is how he looked when he was born, covered in the waxy vernix layer, goo and blood having any residual amniotic fluid/gunk sucked out of his nose/mouth with a tube wrapped in a plastic bag to keep him warm. The first thing he did? Peed on the nurse – good lad! Not exactly cute at this stage tho.

32 Week Old Premature Baby

Kim was fine afterwards just tired, she had a sleep and I went to see baby Liam in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) where we spent many hours for the next 3 and a half weeks. More about that later, I took her up to see him the same day so they could meet the day he was born. We couldn’t hold him yet though as he was still on the CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) as he did have some respiratory distress.

So the first time mommy and me could hold him was the first day after his birth. He even opened his eyes a bit and grabbed my finger like a little boss, we were so proud that he was already off the CPAP and onto the regular nasal prongs. Far cuter, like a little wrinkly old man.

32 Week Preemie

So yah, that’s the story of our pregnancy and birth from my perspective, and the first thoughts/feeling of being the father of a premature baby. My #32weeker 🙂

If you want to see far too much of him, just follow me on Instagram @ShaolinTiger and his Mommy at @Kimberzilla.




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2 Responses to What It’s Like To Be The Father Of A Premature Baby (Premie)

  1. KY September 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    what a journey!

    • ShaolinTiger October 3, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      Indeed, quite an adventure!