Where We Are Now

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your thoughts and comments and prayers.  They are appreciated beyond anything I can possibly verbalize. 

When the doctors came to see us on Jan. 23 after I was transferred to a larger hospital by ambulance due to suspected preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), there were only a couple things to really say. First, the OB who was on call over that weekend told me that the priority was going to be my life. If it was a question between my life and the baby’s life, he said, he would do what it took to save mine. This wasn’t up for dispute, he told us.

The second came from the high risk OB/maternal fetal medicine specialist (MFM). I was definitely ruptured, there was very little fluid, and I would go into labor or get infected within around 48 hours. 75-90% of women go into labor within 48 hours of rupture, and the rest generally within a week. The baby would not make it. We needed to get ready.

It was, without any exaggeration, one of the worst moments of my entire life. We talked with various people, trying to make some semblance of order out of the chaos. Did we want to bury our child or cremate? Where would we inter the remains? We hadn’t decided on names. What did we want to call him or her? Were we far enough along that we would need a death certificate in our state? Was there someone who could come baptize our baby when he/she was born? What about photographs?

Nightmare. Total, complete, and utter nightmare.

My parents came. Arthur’s parents were already there. We all waited. Prayed. Tried to find ways to say our good-byes.

No labor. No infection.

48 hours passed, then 72, then a full week, then a week and a half. Every day, the doctors told us to prepare to go into labor.  The baby maintained a heartbeat. A small pocket of fluid formed around the umbilical cord.

As of today, I’m 23 weeks. Still in the hospital. The MFM said today, I get steroids to try to mature the baby’s lungs. Technically, 24 weeks is viability, but at 23 weeks, NICU starts to attend births to make an evaluation of whether or not to intervene.

On the one hand, we now have a slender chance of a live baby that will rise if I can stay pregnant for at least one more week and continue to go up if I can stay pregnant longer.

On the other, our best hope is for an extremely premature birth. About the longest I can hope to stay ruptured, out of labor, and uninfected is probably to around 28-30 weeks. More likely, I will give birth between 23-26 weeks gestational age. If, by some miracle, I stay pregnant to 34 weeks, the doctors will induce me because at that point, the risk of infection outweighs any benefit the baby might get from staying in the womb longer.

I hear people talk a lot about 24 weeks as a sort of magic line in the sand, and in one way, it is the general dividing line between viability and not. However, at 24 weeks, the best statistic I’ve seen for a live baby is around 50/50. While it’s certainly far better than a zero percent chance, it’s not a terribly reassuring number, and it does not take into account the number of those babies who survive with long-term issues.

So now we have discussions about resuscitation, ventilators, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, hypoplastic lungs, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and retinopathy. And we still have to consider all of the earlier questions about what we do if our baby does not make it.

No parent should ever have to make these decisions or have these discussions about their child.

My emotions rollercoaster constantly. Some days a miracle – and right now, we need a bonafide, capital-M Miracle on the blind-shall-see-deaf-shall-hear sort of scale for our baby to come out of this alive and healthy for the circumstances – seems almost within the bounds of possibility. Other days, I am barely able to stop crying because there is still such a long way to go and we have no idea what kind of damage may have been done to the baby’s lung development with so little amniotic fluid.

Mostly, I try to focus on the moment. I love this baby so fiercely it is almost painful. I’m grateful for every heartbeat and every tiny flutter of movement. I sing to the baby, often Stevie Wonder’s song “You Are The Sunshine of My Life”. Arthur comes and kisses my belly and tells the baby how much he loves him/her. We hope that somehow, the baby hears and knows all this.

We don’t know what is going to happen. We don’t know if we will have only minutes – if that – with our baby or days or years or a lifetime.

All we do know is how much we love this child, no matter what happens.

So we wait, watch, pray, and hope.

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24 thoughts on “Where We Are Now

  1. I am saying every prayer imaginable for you and your family. I will hope that you stay pregnant to 34 weeks with a healthy baby.

  2. I know this is still such an insane situation to be in, but I just cried tears of…hope, some small relief that there’s still this chance. Pocket of fluid, holy shit. I am pulling for your miracle with everything I’ve got!

  3. Praying for you and your Miracle…and my cousin had a preemie at 22.5 weeks, and that baby, he is almost 20 years old now and a healthy young man! Don’t lose hope, and fight for your baby!! Miracles happen, so why can’t it happen for you??

  4. Oh thank God ! You have been in my thoughts and prayers all these days !!! Keep hope Katherine. If I may volunteer a data point that is close to my heart, my 17-years old niece was born at 23 weeks and despite the highly assisted start she has become a beautiful and bright young lady. So hang in there and take good care of yourself. You three will be in my prayers. Sending you every ounce of positive thoughts I have.

  5. I’m sending positive vibes, prayers and all things good your way. I’m so sorry you’re going through this and I am so intensely wishing for a good outcome. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  6. You don’t know me, and I’ve never commented before. But I’ve read every word you’ve written on this blog, and I cried after reading your previous post. Tonight….I know the odds, and yet still I am filled with a wild hope that all will turn out well. Wishing so hard that you and Arthur will have a long and happy life with this baby, your child.

    • I came to your blog searching for pools of light – making my own. II love your necklace – so beautiful and sure to bring you clarity and luck. If you might consider selling your clamp and drill, I’m so very interested.

      Mainly though, I have to say, I am so touched by your struggle. Many prayers coming your way.

      Paula
      magicbypaula@comcast.net

  7. Hoping, hoping so hard for that miracle for you. I am thinking of you and hoping that you have a positive outcome. This baby is a fighter, and you are, too. So much hope for peace and a good end to this rollercoaster you’ve been on.

  8. I am so glad to hear that baby is still in and you all have a fighting chance. I was hoping and praying that this might be the case, but was afraid to mention it. Thinking of you and hoping you can keep baby in for at least another week with no complications. ❤ I know all the preemie statistics well. And while at 24w it is only 50/50, it goes up 2-3% per day. So every day is a HUGE victory. Hoping for continued good news.

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