In her third trimester, Suzanne Schnoor was diagnosed with preeclampsia. In many cases, an early delivery is needed to keep both mom and baby safe. This was the case for the Schnoors. After being induced at 34 weeks, Mom Suzanne needed a C-section and daughter Rosella required a short stay in St. Luke’s Specialized Care Nursery. Together, they braved this journey, navigating the complexities of an early arrival and the emotions that accompanied it. Here is their story.
My husband Peter and I went to a routine clinic appointment at 33 weeks. With preeclampsia, my blood pressure had been slowly elevating. My OB-GYN wanted me to briefly go to St. Luke’s Birthing Center so I could get monitored. However, when I got there, my blood pressure was so high that I was admitted.
The only cure for preeclampsia is for baby to be delivered. But we wanted to wait until baby was 34 weeks for me to be induced. Compared to 33 weeks, 34 weeks is a big milestone for baby’s maturity. So, I hung out at the hospital for a week.
I used to work as a labor and delivery nurse, so I felt comfortable being in a hospital setting. The nurses were fantastic. They did a great job making sure I was being monitored appropriately, while still giving me as much independence as possible.
On Friday at midnight, I was ready to be induced.
Dealing with a dropping heart rate
It was a slow process. It took a while for my body to get ready. I’ve seen people in that case have to go through long labors and induction, and I was mentally prepared for that.
Finally, in the middle of the night on Saturday, I got to the point where I had to breathe through contractions. Around 3:30 am, my water broke naturally. However, baby wasn’t a big fan of this. Her heart rate started to drop.
We made the decision to deliver via C-section. I didn’t care how she came out, as long as she was safe. I knew a C-section was the healthiest option for her.
Welcome to the world, Rosella May!
When she was born, they peeked her over the drape so I could get a quick look at her. She was 4 pounds, 14.4 ounces and beautiful!
However, I wasn’t able to hold her right away. She needed a little help to start breathing, which we had expected since she was only 34 weeks. They brought her to St. Luke’s Specialized Care Nursery and my husband accompanied her while the doctors finished up with me.
Working through some difficult emotions
For the first few days, she needed breathing support from a CPAP machine. It was hard initially to see her struggling to breathe. I felt like it was my fault that my daughter was struggling.
Getting pregnant had been difficult, so we had used in vitro fertilization. Part of me felt like we forced the process in doing that. I also felt like my body had failed me with preeclampsia and her coming early. All these things combined left me feeling guilty and I had to work through that.
I had to keeping telling myself that she was going to pull through, she was going to be fine, and that her struggle wasn’t my fault. My husband was a huge support, and we have a good network of friends and family who were so supportive through all of it.
Eventually, I was able to move past these feelings and just appreciate that we had both come through everything together.
In the Specialized Care Nursery
One of my favorite moments was when she was on the CPAP and they had to change her bedding. Typically, one of the nurses would hold her, but they got me instead.
At that point, I hadn’t really been able to even really see her face except for a few seconds after she was first born. They took all her gear off so I could see her face and hold her close. I so appreciated that they gave us that opportunity.
After the CPAP, she moved to high flow oxygen. She was under bilirubin lights, which is not uncommon when they’re that little. She was also on an IV for nutrition.
After 13 days, she was finally ready to come home.
Grateful for friendly, compassionate care
Altogether, we were at St. Luke’s about a month from the time I was admitted to the time Rosie was discharged. In that time, the nurses were like a second family to us. I’m so grateful for them.
Everyone was so easy to talk to and welcoming. All the staff – residents, doctors, people at the front desk – were great. They made St. Luke’s feel like home.
The pediatric hospitalists were also wonderful. They often asked us how we felt Rosie was doing, before discussing what they thought. They were all so respectful and inclusive.
Overall, it was a great experience. We were so thankful to go home, but also a little sad to leave!
Read more birth stories from moms like Suzanne.