On World Prematurity Day, we wanted to share a story of bravery and strength. Beth felt on top of the world when she learned she was pregnant. However, nothing could have prepared her for going into early labor. Beth gave birth five weeks prematurely to daughter Theresa, which was extremely nerve-wracking. However, after a short time in the NICU, Theresa was sent home. Now, many years later, Theresa is thriving and works as the Financial and Events Coordinator for our Charity by Design division! We’re thrilled to know Beth’s story had a happy ending.
Read Beth’s account of courage in the face of adversity below.
When you learn that you have a little one on the way, there are lots of things you plan, yet no one ever plans to have a premature baby.
I did everything right – followed the rules, read the books, ate properly, exercised and made sure I was well rested. I even stopped working weeks before my due date to continue planning for the arrival.
I woke up in the middle of the night and knew something wasn’t right. I threw some things in a suitcase and my husband and I left for the hospital. Much of what happened in the next several hours remains a blur to this day. We called our parents and some close friends to alert them of what was happening.
By the time I asked for some medication to help me through the labor, it was too late. I was going to have a baby for sure – and very soon!
Instead of thinking of all the things we hadn’t planned, our focus shifted. What was God’s plan? Theresa Marie was born later that day at the hospital in Fort Polk, LA.
Doctors were using terms I had not found in the pages of my books I had been reading about having a healthy baby. After 24 hours, Theresa was taken by ambulance to a hospital with a NICU. I pleaded to be discharged and we followed in our car behind the ambulance. My second night of motherhood was spent in a hotel near the hospital since it wasn’t the norm to stay with premature babies in the hospital in the early ’80s. Theresa’s grandmother flew in to be with us and we had our friends to help us through those first weeks. My world was crashing around me, but somehow I managed to function. The medical staff was amazing and somehow we made it through. We were lucky.
We were fortunate to bring Theresa home after 9 long days of being hospitalized. I think of how other families endure the days after a premature birth until they can bring home their bundle of joy. The support systems that exist now for families and for NICU infants is vastly different than what we had. What a different world we live in now!
Theresa and her mother, Beth, on her wedding day.