My name is Colleen Burkhart. I live in Milton, WI with my loving boyfriend of nearly 3 years. I am a student, currently taking classes online. My boyfriend, Derek, goes to school full time and works part time. We just moved into our first apartment and we are on the adventure of a lifetime.
On July 21, my life changed forever. It was the day I learned I was pregnant.
I found out when I was 6 weeks along. My first OB appointment was scheduled for 9 weeks, however I did not make it that far before I was taken to the hospital.
From the beginning, it was a hard pregnancy. I had an extreme case of hyperemesis gravidarum. Until I was about 14 weeks along, I required intermittent hospitalization and frequent IV treatment. We knew it would be a tough pregnancy, but around 18 weeks the sickness started to lessen and I got some control of my life back.
At our 20 week ultrasound, the baby was breech so we couldn't determine a gender. One week later at my OB examine, it was the same scenario. Baby was proving to be a feisty little one.
For 4 weeks, I had such a great time being pregnant. Baby was very active, loved to play games with me as I pushed on my tummy, I'd get tiny little kicks back.
However, my life changed forever once more on Monday, November 30. I went in to see my OB for unusual vaginal discharge, thinking that I probably had a bladder infection or UTI. Unfortunately, this was not the case. My doctor determined that my water bag was dropping, cervix was thinning out and I was dilating. The unusual discharge was my mucous plug; my body was going into pre-term labor.
As the hospital I frequent does not have a NICU, they transferred me by ambulance to the closest Stage 3 hospital: one hour away in Rockford, IL.
We finally learned the gender of our precious little one on Tuesday; A GIRL!!! Throughout the week, I was continously monitored and kept on bedrest. Thursday, December 3rd came and they decided that my labor had not progressed further. I was sent home with strict orders to remain on bed and pelvic rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.
When I went to sleep that night, I was so relieved to finally be in my own bed, and I was hopeful that my pregnancy would continue on with no further complications.
Friday, December 4th a strange cramping pain awoke me at 7am. I climbed out of bed to use the bathroom, and had the shock of a lifetime. I was bleeding.
I immediately woke my boyfriend and called my OB. She told me to come in right away. We hurried to the Women's Health clinic, and within the hour we learned my cervix had thinned out almost completely and I was dilated to 6cm. My waterbag was showing about 3cm. The cramping I had been experiencing since I awoke was contractions, approx 15-20 mins apart.
My OB had me transferred to Rockford Memorial once more, this time by helicopter. After that, everything started happening an overwhelming rate. They checked on the baby; luckily, my feisty little girl had moved from breech position into birthing position, approximately 7 cm above my cervix. Throughout the day, my contractions got closer together and my waterbag continued to drop. The doctors decided that as long my water didn't break, we would keep my baby inside for as long as possible. I was surrounded by loving family and my boyfriend. Things seemed to be looking up.
Saturday, December 5th came and at 9AM, my OB at Rockford came in for the first check-up of the day. I prayed so hard that things had slowed down and my baby girl hadn't moved out of birthing position; sadly, that was not the case. I was completely dilated, my waterbag had dropped even more. Our sweet little one had flipped into pike position (bent over at the waist, her arms curled into her chest with her feet and face next to eachother), her feet were partially sticking out into my vagina. If my bag of waters broke, she could get stuck in that position and the results could be fatal. A plan for an immediate emergency cesarean section was put into motion.
My boyfriend Derek was with me during the surgery. I was awake and aware. At 10:12 AM December 5th, when she was 24 weeks and 6 days gestation, our daughter Payton Kay Singkofer was brought into the world. She weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces and was approximately 12 3/4 inches long. Tears came to my eyes when I heard her cry. She is the most beautiful human on this planet.
Payton has done extremely well during her first days of life. With no major setbacks, she is proving to be strong, stubborn and feisty. She will be in the hospital at least until her due date: March 20, 2016.
I was discharged on Tuesday, December 8th. We live a little over an hour away from Rockford, IL. Traveling there & back is going to be expensive, and hard. Leaving her there and coming home is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I would give anything to be by her side 24/7, however financially it is just not possible. I treasure every second I get with her; visits are never long enough.
There are a couple reasons I've decided to share our story. First, I want to become involved in raising awareness for premature birth. Support is so important during this difficult time, and I've had so much of it. I want to provide others with the comfort of knowing they aren't alone.
Second, I'm hoping sharing our story will help us financially. As I mentioned above, we live an hour away from the hospital where our daughter is. Between rent/utilities at home and paying for gas and nightly housing at the hospital, it's more than we can afford. We hardly have any baby necessities either, so we will have to begin stocking up on supplies for when Payton comes home. Finally, funding will also go towards medical bills. I have state insurance, however it only covers so much. The bills are starting to pile up already, and Payton will be hospitalized for quite some time. Any money we can raise will be used to help us with these expenses.
While it isn't necessary for us to receive funding immediately, as soon as possible is preferred. We hope to start staying overnight in Rockford as soon as next week, and until then we try to visit every day, or at least every other.
It's incredibly difficult leaving our fragile daughter so far away. Any and all support-well wishes, funding, etc-would mean the world to us, as this is not only financially draining, but emotionally as well. So many care for Payton, and that in itself means the world to me. We will take all the help we can get as this is so hard for us, and already we are so greatful for what people have already done, and hopefully will continue to do. Our immense gratitude can not be measured by words.