For the last 11 weeks, I’ve had a one-track mind. My baby is literally the only thing in the world that matters. Three weeks ago, that feeling intensified, and now I know with full certainty, that feeling will never go away.
On April 20 at 2 a.m., I got up to use the restroom. When I got back in bed, I noticed that my underwear were damp. I woke up my husband to tell him, and he advised me to change, and see what happened. I got up, changed and got back in bed. Same story– damp underwear.
We called our doctor who asked us to head to the hospital for tests. Shortly after arriving, it was discovered that I was leaking amniotic fluid. The hours that followed were some of the most terrifying and uncomfortable hours of my life. I was admitted to the hospital, given an IV with magnesium sulfate, IV antibiotics and a steroid injection. Doctors told me I would not be leaving until the baby arrived. I was certain that delivery wasn’t far away.
At this time, I was 26 weeks and 6 days along.
The next day, I felt like I had been hit by a train. The medicine made me feel like I had the flu and I was completely exhausted (both mentally and physically). But nurses said my contractions stopped and the signs of labor were gone.
My head was spinning, and all I could think about was my baby. “Will she come this week?” “How small will she be?” “Will she need to be intubated?” “How long will she be in the NICU?” “Will she live?”
That day, a doctor from the NICU came down to talk with us. He answered a lot of the questions that were still swarming through my head and confirmed several of my fears. At 27 weeks, our baby would have a fighting chance, and she had a better chance than babies born at 24, 25 or 26 weeks. However, doctors still wanted to get her to 28 weeks, with the ultimate goal of 34 weeks.
When I heard this goal, I felt completely helpless. How was this possible if I was leaking amniotic fluid? How could I possibly make it that much longer?
I had been on bed rest since 19 weeks. Doctors kept telling me that the goal was 26 weeks. I did everything in my power to make it that long, and I did! I even made it one week further than that goal. I knew I wasn’t out of the woods, but I figured doctors would be pleased with my progress and the baby would have a much better outlook. When I heard 34, I felt like my journey was starting all over again, and I didn’t know if I had the strength to carry on.
In the days that followed, I felt like a shell of my former self. I couldn’t stand the thought of being trapped in the hospital for 7 weeks, not knowing when labor would decide to start again. Deep down, I knew hospital bed rest would be best for the baby, but I wanted my life back. I felt like a prisoner with no escape. I looked out of my window and saw people coming and going: pregnant women walking to their doctor’s appointments, new dad’s carrying flowers and balloons into the hospital and families holding healthy babies. Seeing this was crippling. I cried. A lot. I couldn’t stand the thought of my baby girl, in the NICU, hooked up to machines with tubes coming out of her mouth. I thought back to the last 8 weeks of bed rest, and it felt like it was all for nothing.
Then, one day, I was talking to a nurse and she told me, “Bed rest isn’t fun, but you have one chance to sit here and grow that baby.” For some reason, that really sunk in. It didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing, my job was to grow this baby. I knew it would be hard to be stuck in the hospital, but I needed to set that aside and focus on what was important.
Three weeks have passed since that conversation, and I’m happy to report that I am now 30 weeks and 1 day. I still have one month ahead, and it still feels unattainable. Each day is a struggle, but I have a new attitude. Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days and the tears do come; however, my overall outlook is getting better each day.
I hope to be able to update you with more positive news as my journey continues, but for now, I just pray for four more weeks and a healthy baby.