Friday, November 5, 2010


Heather
Mom to Stellan Gregory
May 18, 2010
Columbus, OH
 
There are some who say that I had a miscarriage. In no way would I ever want to downplay how horrible a miscarriage is, but I'm telling you, I didn't have a miscarriage.

I found out on my birthday, March 1st, that I was pregnant. My husband and I had been trying for 3-4 months, and at age 34, I was a little worried that it wouldn't be easy. But, we surprised ourselves, and here I was, happily pregnant for the first time! I immediately starting worrying about the chances of miscarriage; I learned all the signs and symptoms, but, to my relief, everything was going great. At the 12 week mark, I finally stopped worrying, and thought, "Wow, this is really going to happen."
 
At 15 weeks, I suddenly didn't feel well. I started getting diarrhea and brushed it off as a stomach flu that had been going around. Then, on the evening of May 11, I felt a warm gush that wet my underwear and shorts. I went to the bathroom, and I swear, it felt like urine was coming out of me. I thought, "Oh, great. Now I'm incontinent!" I knew that I could be leaking fluid, but I was in denial. Well, this "leaking" didn't stop, and I became worried. I went to work (I work at a hospital), and by the middle of my shift, I knew that something was very wrong. I felt empty...not pregnant anymore. I knew that a part of the baby had already left me.
I went to the ER and was then admitted to L&D.

After an ultrasound, my husband and I learned that my membranes had ruptured, and there was very little amniotic fluid left. The baby's chances of surviving were pretty much zero--there was too much development left to do, and that can't happen without adequate fluid. The baby was still moving and had a strong heartbeat, but they said it was only a matter of time until that stopped, but they didn't know how long it would be. I was then told that with my membranes ruptured, I was at very high risk for a potentially deadly infection. In the meantime, this was a catholic hospital, and they refused to induce me until the baby's heart beat stopped or I was showing signs of advanced infection.
 
So...I spent a week in the hospital on IV antibiotics. They took my vital signs constantly, and they checked the baby's heart rate twice a day (still strong!). It was heartbreaking to know that it could be the last time, each time that we heard it. It was an absolute nightmare, sitting around and waiting for our baby to die!
Finally, at 16 weeks along, my temp and WBC's were up, and the doctors were worried about infection. They began the process to get me induced (which would involve a transfer to another, non-catholic hospital--don't even get me started about that!). But, I soon started having strong contractions on my own. The changes in my vital signs were probably from the onset of labor. Yes, the contractions were horrible, but, with the baby being so small, it went fairly quickly. The IV painkillers helped, but it all happened too fast for an epidural.
 
Stellan Gregory was born, asleep at 7:24 pm at 16 weeks and 1 day old on May 18th, 2010. He was a beautiful boy, and he was perfect in every way. My heart breaks for him because I know he was growing and thriving, but something suddenly happened to change that. My husband and I held him, took pictures, etc. There is nothing worse than going through labor and then leaving the hospital empty-handed. I will never be the same, that's for sure.
 
What happened to me was PPROM--Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes. Often, this is caused by infection, but many times the cause is unknown. It looks like my case was caused by infection, most likely from a bacteria called Listeria. Listeria can be acquired from eating lunch meat, hot dogs, soft cheese, etc. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to contract Listeriosis than the rest of the adult population (now they tell me!). While it kills me to know that this could have easily been prevented, it does help me to realize that there's no reason to think I can't have a normal pregnancy in the future.
 
I write this story on Stellan's due date, Nov 1, 2010. My heart is breaking, and I will never forget my sweet, beautiful boy that I had the privilege of carrying for 16 weeks. Please, learn about Listeria if you get pregnant again. If it happened to me, someone who works in health care, it can happen to anyone.Here's hoping we'll all be reunited with our special angels one day.
 
Heather can be contacted at: heather6910@yahoo.com

4 comments:

Brandi said...

(((HUGS))) My sweet baby girl was born sleeping on May 18, 2010 at 17 weeks. Our angels share a birthday. It also makes me so angry to hear people say that I had a miscarriage! I was in labor for 14 hours, held my sweet baby and counted her fingers and toes. I have also had two miscarriages so I also know how heartbreaking it is to lose a baby that you don't know at all.

erika said...

Hi Heather. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my baby boy to PPROM at 19 weeks gestation. They tell me also that I miscarried but I had to deliver a beautiful baby boy.

Jan said...

I lost my sweet angel Brendan at 23w3d, also due to PPROM. I managed to hold onto him for 6 weeks after my rupture. It's so strange to read everyone's PPROM story, because there really is no standard. No hospital would admit me until I hit the magic 24 weeks; unfortunately I delivered 4 days too soon. PPROM is such a rollercoaster nightmare- even my friends whose babies have survived PPROM are traumatized so much by it. I am so sorry for the loss of your dear baby boy.

Cynthia said...

Oh, Heather. My heart is broken with yours. My Nara was due Oct 29, 2010. I experienced pPROM at 17 weeks gestation. I spent the first 4 days at a hospital waiting for what they said was inevitable. I then transferred home on complete bedpan bedrest until 24 weeks. At that time, I transferred to a large hospital 4 hrs away. Her chord prolapsed at 25 weeks 2 days. She was alive for 28 hours. Her lungs were stunted at 20 weeks due to the lack of fluid, but everything else seemed so perfect. I had no infection. WIC had informed me of the lunch meat issue, but I found I had to inform our local hospital (they served me lunch meat) and Mom's not on WIC seem not to know. My family doctor never mentioned it. Even when WIC told me, they just said a baby can be born very, very ill with it. I didn't know pregnant moms could get sick from it and go through pPROM. I am so very sorry for your loss. It's not fair. Nor was it fair to be treated how you were at the hospital due to politics. Sending Love.

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