The Rory Story

It wasn’t until they were loading me into the ambulance that I truly believed I was having a baby. Up until that point I had believed they could do something, anything, to stop the labor. But now the contractions melded into one another, filling my body with pain and my heart with fear. It’s too soon, much too soon.

I suppose it all started three weeks when I began having Braxton Hicks. As time progressed I had more through-out the day and they began to feel decidedly uncomfortable. I had a doctor appointment on a Wednesday of the following week and mentioned it to the doctor.

My doctor had been on holidays for two months and so I was seeing another doctor. We shall call him Dr. Nobody to protect the not-so-innocent.

Upon telling him I had uncomfortable Braxton Hicks, especially when I was doing any sort of activity, Dr. Nobody's reply was to mumble something like, “Well then lie down.”

Ok then.

“I feel like I’m running out of room.” I told him, referring to my bicornuate uterus and the resulting cramped housing for Bean.

“Shit happens.”

His reply shocked me into silence. I didn’t say anything else. I didn’t even want to know what he would say if I said I was feeling strange.

The following day Sheldon was going with his parents to tour the countryside and look at some pieces of equipment. I decided to tag along. Through-out the day I was feeling crampy and uncomfortable, but that was nothing new, so I basically just ignored it. Well, I ignored it until I could ignore it no more.

As the afternoon progressed I started feeling it more and more. Sheldon kept looking at me and asking me if I was ok.

“Of course I’m ok. I’m only 30 ½ weeks along. Everything is fine. Braxton Hicks are normal.”

Before long it became apparent to my in-laws that I was in a considerable amount of pain. Mom Blum kept asking me if I needed to go to the hospital.

“No, I don’t need to go to the hospital because I am not in labor.” I insisted, as if sheer stubbornness could stop what was about to happen.

By seven o’clock we were almost in Westlock I finally decided that maybe, just maybe I should be timing these cramps. To my dismay, I discovered they were seven minutes apart.
“If these things are practice contractions, I’m going to flippin’ die.”

We pass by the hospital in Westlock and Dad Blum glances in the rearview mirror, “Do I need to pull in?”

“No, no. I’ll just keep counting and see if they really are coming at regular intervals.”

We stopped at Boston Pizza and sat down to order. I was still counting and the contractions were still coming right on time. I’m fighting another contraction along with a wave of panic and I burst into tears. Before I know it, keys are being shoved into Sheldon’s hands and I’m being escorted to the hospital.

“This is not happening.” I inform Sheldon.

He says nothing.

It’s around 8:30 by the time we are seen at the hospital. I’m hooked up to a stress test and a doctor comes in to run a test to see if I’m in preterm labor and to check me.

“Your cervix is opening a little.” The doctor says. “We just have to wait to get the results back from the test then we will see what we have to do.”

I already know what they have to do. They have to stop whatever is happening. I refuse to call them contractions and I refuse to say the word labor. I am not having this baby right now.

From nine until ten, my contractions are coming every five minutes. Sheldon stays by my side offering to let me squeeze his hand. I don’t. All I can do is lie there and try to breath. I’m getting tired of the pain. I want to ask for drugs, for an epidural, but who needs an epidural if they aren’t in labor?

The nurse comes to check on me. She sees the contractions are more intense and coming closer together. “We’re just waiting on the test…”

Finally, around 10:30, the doctor comes in.

“The test came back positive. You are at high risk of preterm delivery.”

I say nothing. I can’t. I’ve just had two contractions back-to-back. I squeeze my eyes shut, forbidding the tears. Maybe they can still stop it.

“We’re calling the ambulance. We don’t have the facilities to take care of your baby. We are going to take you to the Royal Alexander Hospital.”

The one doctor leaves to make the phone call.

We wait for the ambulance. I call my Mom. Sheldon calls his parents.

“I don’t want to do this anymore.” I whisper in between contractions.

Sheldon looks helplessly at me.

The ambulance arrives and two paramedics come in. The are talking to me, asking questions about my pain level and if I feel pressure. I ignore them and their stupid questions and concentrate on breathing through another contraction.

When I get to the Royal Alex maybe I can have an epidural. Epidurals sometimes slow down labor, right? Maybe they can stop this.

A different doctor comes in. He checks me again as a contraction subsides.

“She’s six centimeters dilated. I can feel the head.”

The head?! Oh no. Oh no, no, no. This is not happening.

I manage to scoot myself on to their stretcher. It is decided that Sheldon will follow behind in the truck and meet us at the Royal Alex so he has a vehicle.

They load me up into the ambulance and the doctor hops in.

“Coming along, doc?” asks the paramedic.

The doctor just nods and grabs a bag with the words “Emergency Delivery” on it.


It’s hard to panic and breath at the same time, so I opt for breathing. The paramedic stands by my head and tells me I’m doing good, just keep breathing.

I am not doing good. Apparently I am having a baby at 30 weeks. That is not good.

“Let us know if you have to push.” The paramedic says.

Push. I am not going to push. We are not at a hospital that can help my baby. I am definitely not going to…

“I think I have to push!” I suddenly cry out and panic wins.

“Keep breathing, keep breathing.” The paramedic says.

“Try not to push.” Says the doctor.

Ok. Ok. Try not to push. Try not to push?! I didn’t even know I knew how to push!

Breath, breath, breath.

“I think I’m gonna – ” I’m interrupted by my body taking over. I struggle to stop pushing but as the contraction eases I realize I have no control.

The doctor straddles my bed and unstraps me, checking me again.

I can hear myself saying “No, no, no.” and struggle against him.

With a tone of resignation the doctor tells the paramedic, “She’s fully dilated. I can see the head.”

No, no, no.

“Try to get us to the Sturgeon in St. Albert. We aren’t going to make it to the Royal Alex.

Seriously? Sheldon is most definitely heading towards the Royal Alex. The paramedic tries to get a hold of him.

I’m pushing because I can’t help it. After every push I’m whispering, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

I can’t have this baby yet. This baby needs medical help this ambulance doesn’t have. I can’t push. I can’t.

My body isn’t listening.

Suddenly my water breaks and with one last push it’s over. There is micro second of instant relief. The pain is gone. But almost instantly waves of panic wash over me. I am acutely aware of the silence, of the harried movements of both the paramedic and the doctor as they murmur to one another.

How could I? How could I push the baby out before we got to the hospital.

“God please save my baby. God please save my baby.” I repeat this over and over out loud as fear and shock wash over me.

I refuse to look over at what they are doing. I don’t know what I’ll see.

The paramedic leans over me, “I know we’re ignoring you right now. We’re just working on your baby.”

I look straight into his eyes. “Is it alive?”

He looks surprised, “Yes.”

I shudder with relief and get the courage to look over. I see the tiniest little ear. The doctor has a mask over the face and is pumping air.

“What is it?”

“Let me check.”

The paramedic leans over to see and I fully expect in that moment to hear it is a boy.

“It’s a little girl!” he says.

Surprise and then joy fill my heart.

A little girl. I hear a small mewling sound. She is crying. I’m filled with wonder. I know her crying is a good sign.

They decide the time of birth was 12:05am. I find myself wondering what the date is.

All at once we are there and the doctor is jumping out of the ambulance. The paramedics are unloading me and wheeling me through the corridors of the hospital.

“Massage your tummy.” The paramedics encourage, “The placenta needs to come out.”

Right. The placenta. Because I just had a baby.

Wait a minute. Where is Sheldon?

“I haven’t got a hold of him yet. I left a message.” The paramedic says.

A message. How bizarre.

I’m transferred into a bed and a young nurse comes in. She’s kind and gentle and within moments the placenta in delivered and I’m waiting for Sheldon to make an appearance. A nurse pokes her head in, “Your little girl is doing good.”

My little girl.

Finally Sheldon arrives and a doctor comes in to take a look at me and stitch up a small tear.

I learn they are taking my little girl to the Royal Alex and they probably won’t bring her up before they go. I plead with the nurses to let me see her before she goes and since I’m feeling so good, not bleeding much and rather chipper, they bundle me in blankets, get me a wheelchair and wheel me down to meet my daughter.

Sheldon met her when he arrived. The nurses from the Royal Alex were there, getting ready to transfer her.
My eyes fill with tears as I look at her.

Is she really mine?

“She’s so small.” I say, feeling as if I’m in a dream

“Yep! 2 lbs 14 oz!” they reply

“I wanted to see her before she went. All I saw in the ambulance was her ear.”

Such a tiny, tiny ear.

Before I knew it they were loading her up and I was taken back to my room. I took a quick shower and started the rather daunting task of becoming friendly with a breast pump.

The doctor came in and upon discovering how well I was feeling, informed me that he was discharging me at 5:00am so that I could follow my baby over to the Royal Alex. At that time it was 3:00am on August 26th. .

I love that doctor.

I try to rest. Sheldon zonks out in the chair. I can’t sleep. I feel like I’m already dreaming. Nothing seems real.

At 5:30am we are discharged and on our way to the Royal Alex.

“Her name is Rory, isn’t it?” I ask Sheldon

He smiles and nods.

Rory Rose Blum.

So that is the Rory Story! Rory is doing amazing. They took out her intubation tube the same day she was born. She is only on a CPAP machine and when we hold her she goes on low-flow oxygen. All the nurses call her the feisty one. She has no trouble letting people know when she is unhappy.

We are doing lots of kangaroo care and taking one day at a time. We are hoping to be home by Thanksgiving.


  1. I'm now crying :) I can't wait to meet her <3

  2. Katie, I bawled the whole time I was reading this. I am still praying for you and your miracle baby!
    At the foot of the cross,
    Mrs. Burns

  3. Your story is completely wild, and I cannot believe you delivered in an ambulance. Not really sure why they did not just send you to the RAH immeditely instead of waiting for the darn tests! "High Risk of Pre-term Labour". Thanks, tips. You were already in labour!

  4. Dear NICU Mommy,
    I am crying as I read this. A friend of mine sent me to your blog, as my daughter was born at 25 weeks, a 1lb 14oz. She spent 95 days in the NICU and she went through everything - almost everything possible up there. It was a battle and a half, but God got her through. Sarah just messaged me that little Rory took a turn for the worse last night. I'm praying for you. And Rory, and your husband. I know exactly what it is like to have the doctor tell you that your teeny baby is not going to see the morning. I heard it every night for a week when Shyla was 20 days old. I am ever so sorry that you have to experience this. I am ever so sorry that God is trusting you with this. Please remember...His grace is sufficient. He will never trust you with more than you can handle. Your strength will come from reserves that you don't even know yet are there. You have survived the surprise and the delivery of a preemie. You are an awesome woman! You have held a tiny miracle in your arms, on your chest, and you have seen the hand of God touch that little angel. On Shyla's third day in the NICU, a little boy, a 29 weeker with a 95% change of survival did not survive the first 6 hours of life. I sat at Shyla's bedside and cried for hours. She had a 25% chance and I did not see how she could make it with those odds if the little one could not survive with such high odds. The nurse practioner (you may know her - Barb), came and hugged me. She told me that some of God's angels were only here for a short visit. That stopped my tears. I believe that for all of our children - even the healthy ones. They are gifts to us. God gave them to us. I pray that you will have the strength to endure all the blessings He has in store for you, remembering that He has a purpose. And His will be done. If you need someone to talk to, someone who has been in the NICU, please call me. I would love to talk to you, to answer any questions and to help encourage you. You and Rory are in the best possible place. The Alex is one of the best NICUs in North America. Ask all the questions you can, learn everything you can about Rory's care and conditions, and trust the doctors.

    Love and prayers,
    Mae (780-624-3107)


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