*This is the eighth piece in my surrogacy story. Thanks for following along!
When I was sent home from the hospital (just one day shy of 20 weeks along), the only plan was for me to be on strict bedrest, complete my prescription of antibiotics, and to come back to the hospital if I started contracting or bleeding. There was a chance the tear would repair itself, but that was unlikely. Most often with PPROM, the sac completely breaks open, labor begins or an infection develops.
I had asked every nurse that came into my hospital room for advice. They were all so positive and told me uplifting stories of patients who had made it to 28 weeks and even farther! They told me to keep drinking water (to replenish the fluid I was losing), to lie flat (one even suggested lowering my head) and to try to stay calm. One even closed her eyes and prayed along when my daddy visited and was praying with me. 🙂
So, my personal plan as I started bedrest was to stay flat in bed as much as possible and do everything I could to keep my body from developing an infection. I knew if that happened, the doctors would immediately induce labor or perform a C-section.
I took my prenatal every day, ate tons of fruits and veggies, and drank more water than I have in my entire life. I also drank coconut water for added hydration and electrolytes, ate yogurt for probiotic protection and drank cranberry juice for urinary tract health. Watermelon and celery gave me even more water intake (and the natural vitamins they have), and a cold quinoa salad from the Publix deli became my obsession. Several friends had suggested quinoa for its antioxidant and repairing properties, so my family stocked up on it for me. My dad even drove across town to several Publixes when the one near my house didn’t have any left.
A huge challenge was keeping my bladder empty (to prevent the onset of contractions) because I was supposed to lie on my back as much as possible. But, I was drinking so much water that I needed to pee all the time! And every time I tried to get out of bed, I felt a fluid leak. Ugh. So scary (and gross) and I cringed every time it happened. I was terrified that was going to be the big one that meant baby was on his way.
I desperately tried to stay calm and positive. We were referred to a specialist and had an appointment with her the following week, if the baby didn’t arrive before then. So, I celebrated each day that got us closer to the appointment.
My regular OB/GYN, Dr. Werner, called and texted several times to check in on me. She knows me so well, and knew I was staying positive and doing exactly what I was told, but I was still scared. And I was sad to be moving to a new doctor because I have such a great relationship with her (and to me, feeling comfortable with and having trust in your OB/GYN is super important). But, in this case, I needed to be with a high-risk doctor for the rest of the pregnancy.
*Not the best picture, but this is what Jeff did before he left for work every day. I had yogurt, veggies and hummus, fruit, a sandwich, extra juice, coconut water and quinoa in my cooler so I didn’t have to go downstairs or ask the babysitter to get me anything.
WE MADE IT TO APPOINTMENT DAY…
We met with the perinatologist (fetal medicine specialist) with such anticipation (and almost an excitement) for what she’d say. We had made it another week and she was a “specialist,” so we thought she would know what we needed to do to keep me from going into labor and save this sweet boy.
The appointment was similar to other prenatal appointments–weight and urine check, questions about my overall health, and an ultrasound. It was SO wonderful to see him in there moving and kicking, even with very low fluid levels. We were all smiling and feeling so positive watching him. He didn’t know anything was wrong.
The tech never cracked a smile … we weren’t sure if she wasn’t supposed to show emotion or she was just having a really bad day. Very different than the friendly, sweet techs I’d seen while being under Dr. Werner’s care. We knew techs weren’t supposed to tell us the details that the doctor needed to explain, but a bit of warmth wouldn’t have hurt anybody. My positive attitude started to wane.
The doctor came in and solemnly looked at the ultrasound and proceeded to tell us that the fluid level was low (we knew this) and more leaking would mean major issues or death for the baby. We all asked questions (we’d been researching PPROM extensively and wanted to know details about our situation compared to others). Every single thing we asked about or suggested was shot down. There was a quiet sadness filling the room. She made a few jokes, I guess to lift our spirits, and I’m not sure but I think my mouth dropped open as I listened to her callous comments. This didn’t feel anything like I’d imagined.
She left the room and I immediately fell into the bio mom’s arms and bawled. When I looked up, I saw tears coming down Jeff’s cheeks. We all stood in the room for several minutes and cried. It felt like everyone we spoke with, including this specialist in high-risk pregnancies, just assumed that I was going to lose the baby. And in that moment, I questioned my optimism and gut. Was I just being ridiculous to think I could make my body hold onto this child, and ignore what we were being told? I really, really, really felt like I could do SOMETHING … that it wasn’t a wasted effort. He was still ALIVE in my tummy.
We walked quietly down the hall and into the elevators; I’m sure our minds were all reliving what had just happened. I could feel baby boy kicking as I walked and I rubbed my belly and silently talked to him/prayed to God. We sat in the waiting area and tried to construe our own plan. We knew our hope had just been crushed in a matter of minutes, and it shouldn’t have been. No matter what was “inevitable,” a specialist should know that if someone comes to her, they are in a scary, emotional situation and she should understand them wanting to TRY whatever they can to save their little one. She should not be crass and sarcastic, making us feel like this was just another day at the office.
The bio dad suggested we get another opinion, from another high-risk doctor, and we agreed. Jeff took me home to get in bed, I made a few phone calls and within hours we had scheduled an appointment for the next week and gotten my records transferred.
We were relieved to be DOING SOMETHING. None of us wanted to just accept that the baby was going to be born too early and there was nothing to do but wait for it to happen. And we needed to find a high-risk doctor who thought like we did. Someone who knew what “usually happens” with PPROM, but who also knew that it WAS possible to make it far enough for this baby to survive. Someone who would let us have hope.
We couldn’t wait to meet with the new doctor. We had a new plan and renewed positive vibes!
In the meantime, more coconut water. 🙂
Love (and hydrate) more,