*In which I try to fill in some medical details I left out of the posts regarding London’s birth.
The doctors never exactly figured out why London was born early. London’s premature birth may or may not have been related to a very small blood clot seen in one ultrasound quite a few weeks before London was born, but the doctors never seemed overly concerned with what they saw.
We don’t know why Kate started to have contractions, but we were very thankful we went to the hospital when they started. As noted in an older post, once Kate’s water broke we knew things were very serious, but we learned shortly after her water broke that doctors can successfully put fluid back into the uterus so the baby is once again protected. They tried this for Kate and, obviously, it didn’t work.
The next option the doctors had was to simply stabilize London and Kate so they could theoretically rest for a week, hopefully, until London was delivered. This would have given London a huge boost. She could have received all the benefits of betamethasone, which would have drastically strengthened her for the outside world and would have better protected her from the stresses of delivery.
London’s heart rate kept dropping due to her funic presentation, this is “where the umbilical cord points toward the internal cervical os or lower uterine segment.” In the most serious cases, this can lead to an umbilical cord prolapse. This is when the umbilical cord “protrudes into the cervical canal,” and why London’s heart rate would occasionally drop due to Kate’s contracting cervix. A medical website describes the situation as “an obstetric emergency that in a viable fetus necessitates an expeditious delivery.” The same medical website, radiopaedia.org, reports that umbilical cord prolapse occurs in 0.2 to 0.5% of all pregnancies.
So we will never know what set this all in motion, but we do have a clear reason why London needed to come out as quickly as possible. On January 30th, had we not been near a hospital that could perform an “expeditious delivery,” I would not be here today writing about raising London. Kate and London’s treatment in the hospital was miraculous, a true marvel, but it was just as miraculous to us that we were a ten-minute drive from a top-of-the-line NICU.