I’m honored to share with you Caroline’s moving narrative of the wonders God worked in this special premie’s story. I just know you’ll be inspired to look for God in every detail!
by Caroline Hultgren
I was 29 weeks pregnant. So far, pregnancy had not been good to me. I didn’t have morning sickness; I had all day nausea. I ended up in the hospital three times due to gallbladder attacks which I never experienced before pregnancy. The first one at 13 weeks I thought for sure I was having a miscarriage. Overall, I was just all overtired and not feeling well most days. But I was growing my baby, so it was ok! It all started going downhill the weekend before Canadian Thanksgiving.
I ended up in the hospital again with what we assumed was another gallbladder attack. It felt exactly the same as the previous two I had experienced that landed me in the hospital. They were doing their regular checks; blood pressure, temperature, etc. My blood pressure reading was high. That should have set off a red flag for me as both my sisters had high blood pressure later in pregnancy and, the last time I was in the hospital they told me they usually send pregnant ladies over 20 weeks with abdominal pain up to the maternity ward. But I just shrugged it off as being in pain. I’ve written about the guilt I still feel with this sometimes in my blog post Overcoming Mom Guilt.
They sent me home with some pain killers, but I felt like garbage for the next couple of days and pretty much just stayed in bed. The first wonder God did in this story was that I had a scheduled prenatal visit four days after I was at the hospital.
I don’t even want to think about what would have happened had I not had that appointment.
I went in and everything was normal. They had me pee in a cup, got me into the room and the nurse took my blood pressure. Then she took it again. She told me it was high, but she’d get my doctor in to check it and maybe it would be lower by then. My doctor checked it and it was still high, like really high. They had also found protein in my urine. I would learn later that everything I was feeling was all signs of Pre-eclampsia.
Another God thing, my doctor’s office is right next to the hospital. So, he sent me over to the hospital for some more testing. At this point, I really wasn’t that worried yet. I mean, I was a little scared, but I never imagined what would happen next. I phoned my husband to let him know what was going on and told him not to bother coming. They were just going to run some more tests at the hospital. I got there and they hooked me up to all sorts of monitors and started an IV. Then the doctor who was working on the maternity ward that day came in and started telling me all these things about pre-eclampsia and premature birth. My head was spinning. I called my husband back and told him, “You need to come now!”
A Premie Delivered
They arranged a transfer for me to another hospital that was better equipped for premature births. The NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at the hospital I was at could only handle babies born after 32 weeks, I was only 29 weeks. I had to go in an ambulance, still hooked up to all my monitors and they drove me about 30 minutes to the other hospital. My husband and parents were close behind. We did a lot of crying and praying in those next hours. I was seen by multiple doctors and was under 24-hour watch by a nurse as they were concerned that I might start having seizures. I was on numerous medications to try get my blood pressure down and they gave me a steroid shot to help speed up my little girl’s lung growth in case she had to be delivered that day.
12 hours after I had seen my own doctor, our sweet little girl was born by emergence caesarean section on October 16, 2014. Our little Lily weighed 991grams (2lbs 3oz). I didn’t even get to see her when she was first born, they whisked her away to the NICU. My husband got to go with them, though. I had to wait another 24 hours before I could see her, I was still under constant care by a nurse and they wouldn’t let me leave the maternity ward. Finally, the next night I got to see her and I got to hold her. She was this tiny little thing, I thought I was going to break her! It was so surreal.
The Wonders God Worked
Now, I would never ever wish this journey on anyone, but I will say we saw God do many wonderous things through our NICU stay. My sister in law and I were actually due one day apart, but with Lily coming so early, we got to see her develop on the outside. It was incredible to think that these same changes were going on with her cousin still in my sister in law’s womb. Lily needed to be on a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine when she was born to assist her breathing. We got to see her struggle and then grow out of needing this machine.
She was also born with a hole in her heart between her heart and lungs. This hole normally closes up by the time the baby is born, but because she was early, hers had not closed up. They used Advil (ibuprofen) to help close it up! How crazy that a regular, everyday medication can also close up a hole in a baby’s heart! Medical advances are amazing.
They also suspected that Lily had some brain damage as the ventricles in her head were larger than “normal”. After her two year check up with the neurologist, we were told there was nothing to worry about and we didn’t have to follow up with them anymore unless something else changed. Now, I don’t know why the first MRI showed damage and why the second they thought it did, but then upon review decided her brain was actually fine. Did God heal her? Did He change the MRI? Was there nothing there to start with? I don’t know, but I do know that no matter what happened, it’s still a miracle.
This Premie’s Story Proof of God
Watching your baby grow when she should still be in your stomach makes you just stand in wonder. I remember looking at her numerous times and just thinking “How can people believe there is no God! Just look at her!!!”
Another wondrous thing God did during our journey was to give us this peace the surpasses all understanding. I have anxiety and sometimes I struggle with it more than others. But this whole time, during the most stressful time of my entire life, I just felt this deep peace that could only come from God. My husband and I both felt it. We had such a great community around us supporting us and praying for us and we could just feel the peace that comes from that. Isaiah 26:3 says:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
When something like this happens that is so completely out of your control, what else can you do but trust in God! And He surely gave us peace.
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”Proverbs 16:9
God Guides Every Step
He guided us every single step of the way even though none of this had gone as we planned it to!
We got to take Lily home on Christmas Eve 2014. She wasn’t even due to be born until the next week! It is, and will always be, the best Christmas present we have ever received. I bawled my eyes out on the way out of the NICU. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the wondrous things God had done. Well that, and frankly I was a little terrified taking her home on our own when we’d always had 24-hour nurse support, but mostly they were tears of gratitude.
Hi! I’m Caroline… spelled CaroLINE, pronounced CaroLYN. I know, confusing, right… I blame my parents. I’m wife to one amazing husband, Pete; and momma to two preemie girls, Lily and Maggie (29 weeks and 36 weeks). My family is my world, I started blogging as a way to share my journey through all the ups and downs of motherhood as well as be able to spend more time at home with my 2 little monkeys. You can check out my blog at www.lilymags.com