the 22 week gestation baby : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

Alright, now Im nervous...I hope to God Im posting this in the right spot!!!here goes....

The 22 gestation baby..#1 delivered in the ER..yes..followed in the ER ...I doubt it ( perhaps Labour and Delivery/ post partum would be a more appropriate spot?

#2- 22 week gest lasting plus 5 hours??? doubtfull...gasping respirations are about all one could expect without ventilatory support... 30 min at best AND has anyone ever actually seen the skin of a 22 weeker??? gelatenous/thin/messy...

#3- okay.. we are all now pretty worried that we will be donning our outdoor apparall as we "go outside" for the subsequent baptisms/deaths of Very Low Birth Weight Babies...shiver shiver

-- Heather Swann (, October 21, 2000


Obviously some dramatic license has been taken with what would have really occured. There would have only been a very limited storyline if the baby had died only a few minutes after being born. Personally I think the point of the story wasn't about the actual baby, rather it was used for character development with both Abby and Chen. I take the birth of a premie with the same grain of salt that I take everything else that occurs on ER(i.e. like the ER gets its labs and X-rays back almost immediately).

-- Emma (, October 21, 2000.

Point #1: In most hospitals yes, a newborn and the parents would have been shipped to L&D but Abby did not allow that. She was right to do so. Think about those poor parents, surrounded by happy families and newborns? I have always thought that hospitals should have a few rooms for situations like this so grieving parents could be alone. I have first hand experience in this area. Being with the new moms when you are going home without a baby HURTS!

Point #2: It is possible that a baby could breathe on his/her own for several hours after birth. Remember, they gave Regina meds to mature her babies lungs. Not as far fetched as they made it out to be. Also, the "baby" they used was probably as close as they dared come on TV to a preemie. The skin did look abnormal, the face was small, the eyes were closed; close enough for me.

Point #3: I can totatlly understand why those parents would want to baptize their baby outside. Their son died! They should be allowed to baptize him wherever they want. Your ignorant and callous remarks about that hurt all bereaved parents who have to live without their children.

As a bereaved parent, I can honestly say that this show as least portrayed the birth and what followed pretty honestly. Some details may be incorrect, but the overall idea was to make the characters review their lives and change some. I think the show did that, especially Chen.

-- Sarah W. (, October 21, 2000.

The writers took a lot of dramatic license with this storyline. The doll used for the baby was very much "prettied up" and did not at all resemble a 22 week fetus. As far as the steroids to mature the lungs, they take a minimum of 12-24 hours to work and have no value in babies at 22 weeks. Children born at this gestational age live less than an hour, this one lived for 9 because it suited the storyline, the steroids had nothing to do with it. Sarah, I am so sorry for your experience and the callous way you were treated. I can only speak for the places I have practiced. Moms and Dads in this situation are placed in private rooms as far away from the other patients as is feasible. The door to their room is kept closed with a sign requesting visitors to knock. This is the way I have seen this difficult situation handled in hospitals both large and small. I find it hard to believe that a trauma room in a noisy ER with all the traffic that we see each week would have been a better setting for these parents. And remember where Abby got her training in grief support. She's an OB nurse and a more compassionate, caring bunch would be tough to find. Her behavior was typical of that of most of the OB nurses I've worked with. As far as going outside with the baby, it struck me as a litte odd, but if they'd been my patients; I'd have done my damnedest to make it happen for them. It's disconcerting to me to see OB consistently presented as unavailable and uncaring on ER. It's done for dramatic purposes, so we need to take it with a grain of salt. BTW I guess I should mention that I'm a Board certified OB/GYN in practice for 14 years.

-- Sharon Mikol (, October 21, 2000.

I agree that the writers took dramatic license with this story. all shows do that. I stick with my idea that the "baby" used was portrayed the way it was because a 22 week old baby might be tough for many viewers to handle. No, it may not have resembled a 22 week old child, but it did not look like a full term baby either, and that was the effect they wanted.

I am glad to hear that things are handled differently at your hospital. My experience, and those of others I speak too, was not so positive. I would much rather have stayed in the busy ER room with Abby than gone upstairs with those med students and that doctor who came in! I agree that the OB is portrayed in a negative light on ER, but sadly, their are many OB doctors who are not as sensitive as you seem to be. I do agree that OB nurses are caring and committed, both of mine were saints.

My own situation must be abnormal, because my 21 week old baby lived for over three hours on her own. Miracles can happen, the mother on ER pointed that out. Nine is too long, but we cannot disregard a child's will to live when surrounded by loving family.

Thanks for your input and concern. I was (and am not) looking for sympathy, just clarity.

-- Sarah W. (, October 21, 2000.

obviously I didnt put a lot of thought into the post I made a few days did not occur to me that parents who have experienced a loss would be reading them ( duh ) So please accept my apologies for my "callous and ignorant" remarks.

I can understand Sara's concern that parents who are not going to take home a baby are in the same place as parents who are having a happier the hospital where I work there are 2 separate ob units..and if the mom has to go to the "baby" unit she is given a private room. This is the first ( and last ) time I have posted and I guess rather than viewing ER as entertainment I was caught up in the moment. I actually work in an NICU and the night ER was aired was looking after a 23 week gest infant...not an uncomman occurance in my hospital. So I was experiencing the skin/respiratory support first hand.

In retrospect, my comment about the baptism was way out of line. As I explained personally to Sara we work in a very high stress environment and often make those kinds of remarks as an outlet for our stress and the horror we often see....and an ER dicussion forum was a totally inappropriate place for such comment.

So to all I offended , both those who replyed and those who did not, please accpet my sincere apologies...

-- Heather S (, October 23, 2000.

Just fyi for those of you that are so certain that a 22 week fetus could not survive past a few minutes let alone hours. It is possible, my youngest sister was a 22 week fetus and wieghed in at a little over 1 pound at birth, she survived and now has 3 children of her own and yes that was about 25 years ago. If it could happen then I don't see that it is far fetched that such a preemie could survive now!

-- Rose Hemmelgarn (, October 23, 2000.

For the record I accepted Heather's apology. I hope, Heather, that this will not be your last post! I am sorry if you feel that you have to leave, although I am glad that we came to a private understanding.


-- Sarah W. (, October 23, 2000.

I usually don't miss new episodes of ER, but I knew when I saw the previews for this one that I wouldn't be able to watch. Last month my husband and I buried our baby boy. He died in utero at 25 wks. gestation and I spent most of Labor Day (!!) weekend in the hospital waiting for the labor induction drugs to take effect. All the L&D staff (and I had five different nurses) were wonderful, very compassionate. I also had a private room away from other moms and newborns. I know what Sarah means - it was cruel enough having to leave without my son, especially when my discharge checklist included an item that said "Mother is wheeled out of hospital, carrying baby." It must have been tough having to be around other moms & babies the whole time. Also, Heather's right about the baby's can even tear very easily at that stage. sounds like a good episode. I wish I could have watched it but I'm glad for things like summaries/reviews and discussion groups so I can catch up.

-- Shannon M. (, October 24, 2000.

Shannon I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I'll pray for you and your family.

-- Cammie (, October 24, 2000.

I was a premature baby born at 21 weeks, weighed 2 lbs 6 oz and was a little over 6 inches in length when I was born... and from what my mother has told me, my ears and fingernails, among other things :) weren't fully formed when I was delivered, I too wasn't expected to live and wasn't even given a birth certificate with my name on it...I am 28 now, have a daughter of my own (who is almost as tall as I am at 5 years old! haha) besides being a little on the short side, I'm as healthy as any other person. Just thought I'd put my 2 cents in on this subject. :)

-- Joy (, October 25, 2000.

Joy, you may want to take another look at your birth certificate, the weight and length you give do not mesh. Before 24 weeks gestation, babies are remarkably similar in weight and length, which is why ultrasound is so good at predicting the due date when done before that time. You state you were 6 inches long, a fetus is this long before 16 weeks gestation, and no 16 week fetus has ever survived. A baby weighing 2 lbs. 6 oz. is about 29 weeks gestation, not 21 and is about 14 inches long. A 21 weeker is about 12-14 ounces and measures about 10 inches in length. Since you were born 28 years ago, it is unlikely your mother had an ultrasound. I'd guess she was a couple months farther along than they thought. However, survival for 29 weekers at that time was very poor, probably around 10%, so you are still a winner in the numbers game. Congratulations.

-- Sharon Mikol (, October 25, 2000.

When I hear these "miracle stories" of 21 and 22 weekers alive and well and writing notes what comes to mind is perhaps their due dates were incorrect. Often women get a "pseudo" period about 4 weeks after conception and they think this is in fact a when the baby shows up 4 weeks early they think the baby is premature. There are scales to assist in determining gestational age called Ballards or Dubowitz's . They look at things like palmer and planter creases, ear formation, flextion and posture, skin condition, reflexes etc etc... often small babies are not as premature as they are growth restricted ( for a number reasons including maternal hypertension/ infection) leading people to believe they are less mature, when in fact they are simply small for gestational age. Anyways it makes for a great story and regardless of the "accuracy" of the actual gestational age it is truly wonderfull considering that 25 years ago the statistics for small babies were poor.

-- Heather (, October 25, 2000.

I don't understand the meaning of this website,It is very scary for expectant mothers I am 4 months pregant and i was just looking for some information on the baby and i came across this website, Although i am very sorry for the lady that lost her baby, that fear is in the back of my mind every day. And my anwser is if god wants me to have this child then he will send me a healthy angel. TO the lady that had to go through this you are in my thought and i hope you never have to experience something like this again

-- Stephanie Griffis (, November 20, 2000.

Stephanie, this website discusses ER, the television show. A few weeks ago a main storyline was about the birth of a 22-week baby, who was born and died in the same epi. The site isn't meant to be scary for anyone but to discuss the show and to sometimes share personal stories. As mentioned above, there are sometimes storylines that keep people from watching due to personal reasons. The people who visit this site are devoted fans to the show. Hope you have a wonderful pregnancy and a beautiful, healthy baby.

-- Diana (, November 21, 2000.

I do wish I had seen this episode. However, I did not. I am here to say though after reading the posts that I have 6 children the youngest of which is a 23 week preemie. Yes 23 weeks exactly, we know the day I got pregnant. The first children were all born in two hours or less. She took me two days to have at 1 lb 6 oz. I can't tell you much about what happened after she got here in the delivery room as Nubane made that impossible. However, she will be a year old on 3/29/01 and weighs over 14 lbs and is the joy of my life.

-- Christy Ford (, March 22, 2001.

Not sure exactly what anyone here is trying to say are a few thoughts from the 50 y.o. mom of a 13 y.o. 22 weeker(actually 21wk 3 days and I know for sure because he was out of town and I only flew in for one day) Maybe soon you can read the whole story in my book "IS THERE LIFE AFTER NICU " Or the followup "One NICU IN A LIFETIME IS ENOUGH"

Chory was 22 weeks, 550 grams (LB 3OZ) Lost down to 370 Grams (13 OZ) and was 11 inches long. Her eyes were still fused and we were lucky enough to be vacationing near one of 12 hospitals in the world testing EXOSURF. SHe did cry, was ventoliated immediately, and remained that way (ORAL)from July 8 until December 1989. She also had NEC an ilestomy, colostomy, PDA Ligation double and triple pneumothoraxes, Grade IV brain bleed etc, etc, etc,,,, Skin wa fragile but God Bless that Eucerine cream!!

At thirteen , I am convinced she is the prettiest in her class, although not the smartest. She does not wear glasses although her O2 demand was very high for a long time.

I was threatened by nurses, discouraged from touching her, labled a MAJOR problem parent (that was the nicest remark anyone ever said) and even kicked out of NICU by security for intervening in my childs care when I came in one morning to find her restrained because the nurse had too many patients, and was "doing the best she could".

Oh! We found out after the two year study was broken that Chory DID NOT receive surfactant.

Now Although I believe God picked me for this childs mom, I am not sure why, except that maybe he knew I was one that would not take no for an answer, and was able to respectfully disagree with the neonatologists,,,after all I was under contract to the BIG Doctor...the one who really rules the universe!! Thank you Lord...and if any moms are reading this, go back to that hospital, ask questions again and again until you understand, and check every medication, ask what every test is for. Insist on being the mother to that child for how ever long you can. That is why GOD choose YOU> YOY not someone else...YOU. Step up, put your fears aside and pray...he will not let you down. Instead of asking "why me" think that the God of the universe could have choosen anyone for this kid's mom....anyone....but he didn't...he choose YOU!!! Like any father bringing up a child to be responsible, to to great things with his adult life it is the same with you. You are being refined for a bigger better task one day... God Bless all!!! Above all remember...the nurses need you and you need them, too. Find a way to work together.

-- Dianne Sexton (, October 16, 2002.

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