Keep ‘Em Cookin’ is an educational organization that gives pregnant women the greatest opportunity to prevent preterm birth by providing them with current information on high-risk pregnancy and by connecting them with other women on bed rest.
Keep 'Em Cookin'
On June 23, 1950, a baby girl was born without a name.
She was born two months early, quickly and with little warning. Like many parents of preterm babies, her mother and father wondered, “Will she survive? Will she grow up healthy? Will she be as smart as the other kids?” Her parents hesitated for weeks to name her.
She did survive, and with no long-term effects to her health, intelligence, or general well-being. She’s one of the lucky few—and she’s my mom.
I’d like to share my pregnancy stories with you — not because they are so unusual, but because people don’t realize how common they are.
At 29 weeks into my pregnancy with my daughter, I had just a handful of very painful cramps, but I knew something just wasn’t right.
The pain felt like menstrual cramps, but why would I feel like I was getting my period now? I went to the Labor and Delivery department, where doctors examined me and found that my cervix had started to soften and dilate. “You’ll probably deliver at 36 weeks,” the doctor guessed. He didn’t appear concerned or offer any steps I could take to prolong my pregnancy. I went home, feeling relieved.
Then at 33 weeks into my pregnancy, as I stepped off the elevator to meet with one of my clients, I suddenly had the feeling that the baby could just drop right out. I had been having contractions all night, but I figured they were just those Braxton Hicks contractions you always hear about. I called my doctor’s office, while I felt my belly becoming solid then soft, solid then soft. “Do you feel pressure?” the nurse asked. “I feel like she’s pushing on me, like she’s right there.” With alarm in her voice, Nurse Paula replied, “Get to Labor and Delivery now.”
Indeed, I was in labor. The baby was still high in the birth canal, fortunately, but I was having contractions three to five minutes apart. I was admitted to the hospital and given magnesium sulfate intravenously for nearly 48 hours to stop the contractions. The “mag,” as they call it, made me feel like I was burning up, like my skin was on fire. And it made me hallucinate. Because of the side effects to the mother and a lack of proven effectiveness in halting labor, many obstetricians no longer use magnesium sulfate to stop labor. I learned this first-hand in April 2008 with my second fight against preterm labor…
This time it was my son, just 24 weeks along, who was threatening to make his grand entrance into the world. I’d been contracting throughout the day and was waiting for my husband to get home. By evening it seemed like the contractions had stopped, but I wasn’t taking any chances. We had found out at 19 weeks into the pregnancy that one of our twins had died in utero, and I was afraid we were about to lose another baby.
At the hospital, a nurse hooked me up to a monitor to time my contractions, which were about five minutes apart. The contractions were painless, but we could see on the transvaginal ultrasound that they were causing my cervix to shorten. I requested the ultrasound because I knew that a short cervix is the most accurate predictor of preterm labor.
“You’re not getting out of bed,” my doctor said. “You’re at 1.5 centimeters.”
I couldn’t believe this was happening again. I began taking nifedipine, was observed in the hospital for two days, and sent home to remain on bed rest for the next three months. I would continue the nifedipine, and the weekly progesterone injections I had been getting since 16 weeks into the pregnancy. My OB planned to stop the progesterone injections and bed rest at 36 weeks and go off the nifedipine at 37 weeks, as long as “Mr. Brother” stayed put until then. Just like my grandparents with their premature baby, my husband and I were afraid to give our son a name until we knew he was safe.
Like many women on extended bed rest, I experienced boredom and sadness, and multiple health issues, including gestational diabetes, severe preeclampsia and acute kidney failure. It was one of the longest and most stressful stretches of time I have ever been through, but today it’s a fading memory. (I promise!)
I experienced four more preterm labor episodes and hospitalizations over those three months on bedrest with my son, but our little guy kept cookin’. He was born at 39 weeks and three days, just 90 minutes after my water broke. (Three years earlier, my daughter was born at 39 weeks exactly, following six weeks of bed rest and several hospital visits.)
I couldn’t believe I beat preterm labor! Twice! It was difficult, both physically and emotionally, but I did it. That is what inspired me to create a community for all women at risk of preterm birth, with the hope that together we can prevent as many preterm births as possible by sharing our experiences and giving one another support.
Keep ’Em Cookin’ is an educational organization that gives pregnant women the greatest opportunity to prevent preterm birth by providing them with current information on high-risk pregnancy and by connecting them with other women on bed rest.
Services we provide
Keep ‘Em Cookin’ helps families find support and help during pregnancy bed rest in the resource section of their website.
Your chances of delivering your baby safely at term are highest when you know your options for preventing preterm birth. Keep ‘Em Cookin’ provides mothers on bedrest with information pertaining to symptoms, causes and treatment options.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, you will find questions that are frequently asked about Keep ‘Em Cookin’. If you have a question about Keep ‘Em Cookin’, their mission, or want to know more, please feel free to contact Preemie Parent Alliance and we will make sure your question is answered promptly.
What kind of families do you work with?
Keep ‘Em Cookin’ created a community for all women at risk of preterm birth, with the hope that together we can prevent as many preterm births as possible by sharing our experiences and giving one another support.
What year were you established?
Keep ‘Em Cookin’ was started in 2008
What is your organization classification?
We are a for-profit organization
What is the geographical reach of your organization?
Keep ‘Em Cookin’ supports families Internationally.
Drop us a line anytime, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.