Sixteen years ago today my daughter, Kaitlin Elizabeth, made her first appearance into this world two months earlier than anticipated weighing 3 lbs. 13 ounces. I’d always thought that the birth of my first child would be one of the most exciting days of my life, yet it was one of the most frightening.
Being the planner and organizer that I am, I had been reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” I was healthy and took care of myself so when I came upon the chapter about preterm labor I skipped right over it. That wasn’t going to happen to me. I had been having lower back pains and a slight tightening in my abdomen however I just contributed the back pain to being pregnant and the tightening to harmless Braxton Hicks contractions.
I was working as a business reporter for a daily newspaper at the time. The night of Feb. 3 I had to attend a Chamber of Commerce banquet for an assignment and I remember it being a late night and a long day. When I crawled into bed that night, liquid gushed out of me and I asked my husband, “What do you think that is?” He asked me, “Was that your water?” I remember telling him I didn’t know but I surely hoped not.
We called my doctor who told us to head to the hospital to check things out. Once there, the doctor on call told me my water had broken so they were going to monitor me. He explained that sometimes this happens and mothers are still able to carry the baby to term. He added that it may require me staying in the hospital until that time but it was too early to determine what would happen.
We didn’t get much sleep that night – I was uncomfortable and fearful of the unknown. I remember being thankful for the light of day. For some reason things seem less scary to me in the daytime than the night. I was hooked up to a monitor to determine whether or not I was having contractions and so far nothing was happening. Slowly, I began to feel dull pains that gradually increased in intensity. Still nothing was showing up on the monitors. Finally, my doctor came in, examined me and said, “We’re about to have a baby.” Thirty minutes later, Kaitlin was born.
She spent a month in the NICU and was able to come home weighing four pounds. By the time she was six months old, she was bigger than other babies her age. If you see her today, you would never guess the 5′ 9″ teenager was once a preemie.
I guess you could say she had a mind of her own being born two months early and that trait is still with her today. She doesn’t follow the crowd just to fit in and stands true to her beliefs. I’m proud of the fact that she makes great choices when it comes to friends and peer pressure. She is a talented dancer and manages to keep her grades up and stay committed to making all of her dance practices and competitions. She aspires to be a professional dancer and I think with her talent, determination, hard work and commitment, she can do whatever she puts her mind to.
I am proud to be her mother and I love her.