Written by: guest blogger Marcy Chambers

I have been blessed with two beautiful, healthy children, with another one on the way. Unfortunately though, my little blessings did not start out as healthy.  My daughter was born prematurely, when I was only 30 weeks pregnant.  Because I’m generally a pretty healthy person, the doctors had no idea why I went into preterm labor.  Finding the answer didn’t matter though, as I sat next to my 3.5-pound baby in the NICU, watching her frequently turn blue from lack of oxygen.  All that mattered to me was getting my baby girl healthy.

Being in the NICU is a horrible roller coaster ride.  One minute, with assistance from the nurses, I was able remove my tiny baby, attached to countless cords, from her isolette, and hold her in my arms.  The next minute, the nurses were gripping her from my hold, in order to coax her into breathing again.  As horrible as those moments were, the worst was hearing that I could finally take my lovely child home with me, only to be later informed that she had had such a rough night, that an IV had been inserted into her head.  She would have to stay at least four more days, they told me.

I clung to my husband, cried, and prayed.

But once my baby was stable enough for me to look around the room, and actually take in my surroundings, I realized that she was not the unhealthiest one in the NICU.  This realization made me feel guilty, but when I saw a young couple crying, while packing up their things, I realized I was one of the lucky ones.  Their first-born son never made it home with them.

After 6 long weeks in the hospital, my beautiful baby girl was permitted to come home with me. Still shy of 5 pounds, she came home on an apnea monitor.  During her second day at home, I had to give her two rescue breaths because she stopped breathing.  Before she even turned one year old, she had gone through physical therapy and occupational therapy.  But after that scary, stressful year, she was great.  Nobody would ever guess she had been born prematurely.

When she was 14 months old, we decided to try for our second, hoping my preterm labor was just a one-time thing.  To play it safe, the doctors issued weekly progesterone shots to help keep my baby from making an early appearance.

My son was born at 36 weeks.  Although he was still a preemie, it was nothing like my first-born.  He did have to stay in the NICU for 9 days, but I knew he would be fine.  Being in the NICU again brought back difficult memories, and I hated being in there, and away from my daughter, despite the much more optimistic outlook this time around.

Now I am pregnant with my third child, and I hope I never have to see that place again.