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Lynn's PROM Story

By Lynn Frank, Indianapolis, Indiana USA
PROM at 13 weeks + 5 days. Delivery at 36 weeks.
Story added: 2004-01-31
I ruptured on December 1, 2002 when I was 13.5 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first pregnancy was textbook: a healthy pregnancy followed by a full term, healthy baby. This pregnancy proved to be different starting at 9 weeks when I began to spot blood. I continued to do so until I ruptured. I hadn't realized that I had ruptured--I thought it was just a weak bladder--so I didn't inform my doctor until my next appointment at 15 weeks. He did the strip test on me to see if it would show up positive for amniotic fluid and it came back negative. Of course, at this point it had been well over a week since I ruptured. I continued to leak so we scheduled an ultrasound which was to take place at 16.2 weeks. That appointment showed no amniotic fluid..which was the first time we realized what was going on. I was sent to see a Maternal Fetal Specialist for a high resolution ultrasound the following week, which ended up being the day after Christmas.

It was at this appointment that we learned the grim news that my AFI was 0 and our baby would have slim to no chance of survival if carried full term. The "IF" being a big "IF" since I would most likely miscarry any day. We were sent home in utter disbelief and told to either wait to miscarry or terminate the pregnancy. Our OB, a dear family friend, told us to sleep on our decision for a few days and to remember that "there is always room for a miracle." We chose to continue to live as normal as we could and put this in God's hands. At this point, we began to live day to day—each day waiting for the cramping and the bleeding. I continued to leak every day. Some days more than others, but still always present. Each week, I would visit my OB to hear the heartbeat and get my weekly hug and hear “So glad to see you again this week, Lynn.” Every other week I would go for an ultrasound with Dr. Doom and Gloom…the woman who gave us the very bad news on December 26th. Each ultrasound we would pray for a small pocket of fluid near the baby’s mouth but my AFI never got higher than 3cm by the time I hit 24 weeks. Around 21 weeks, both my doctors started talking about a long term hospital stay if I made it 24 weeks. It seemed impossible to get there at the time, but eventually we did. I started slowing down my lifestyle at home around 22 weeks. I had daily help with our son and I limited my trips up and down the stairs because I seemed to leak more after climbing them.

I was admitted into the hospital on February 10th, 2003. I was given bathroom privileges and allowed one 30 minute wheelchair ride a day. I had weekly ultrasounds to check on my AFI and we took the baby’s measurements every other week. He was growing just wonderfully and my AFI started to increase dramatically once I was on full bed rest in the hospital. After 4 weeks in the hospital, my AFI was up to 15cm!! It eventually came back down to 12cm where it stayed until I delivered. Again, I was still leaking fluid so I had to be cautious with my level of activity. More than one doctor told me that if I would stop leaking, I would be able to go home. But, that never happened. After my AFI seemed to be stable, I slowly increased my activity level around the floor. By the end of my pregnancy, I was walking down to the coffee shop to get a smoothie and sitting outside to drink it. Although, the doctors didn't like this very much, they understood my anxiety from being cooped up in a little room during spring. My advice: make it clear that YOU are still the person in charge of this pregnancy AND your sanity. Long term hospital stays aren't fun but there are ways to make them bearable.

We chose to induce the pregnancy at 36 weeks. I’m pretty sure none of us thought I would have stayed pregnant that long. I spoke to the neonatologist the day before my induction (who I had come to know pretty well in preparation for a potentially sick baby) and she told me that she still couldn’t tell me that she was hopefull our baby would survive. The bottom line was that our son was without fluid for up to 8 weeks. Those 8 weeks are a critical time for lung development. It was so frustrating to have put so much time, faith, love, and hope into something like this just to be told that it may not be enough to save our son.

The induction was started the morning of May 5, 2003 and our son was born 21 hours later on May 6, 2003. The moment I started pushing was one of the scariest of my life. At that point, I realized that this baby was alive as long as he was inside of me but as soon as he came out, I had no idea what was going to happen. The second our son was born was so different from our first son’s birth. My husband and I just sat up and quietly watched as he fought to cry while they sucked the mucus out of his mouth. Those first 10 seconds felt like forever. And then he let out the loudest, most beautiful cry ever. They rushed him over to the warmer where he was checked by the neonatologists from Riley Children’s Hospital and after a couple minutes I heard someone say “This baby is going to be just fine.” I almost didn't hear it so I asked "What did you just say? Are you serious?" The tears began to flow. I have never felt such relief. All the doctors agreed, what a miracle! He weighed 6lbs and was 18 inches long. He spent 2 days in the NICU to receive IV antibiotics just in case of infection. I agreed with this precaution but I had to laugh and remind the doctors that he avoided infection for over 150 days, why do they think he has one now? He only stayed one extra day and they ran a few other tests on him, all of which came back normal. The hospital allowed me to stay that extra day with him in my room that was my home for so long. On May 9, 89 days after I had arrived, Matthew and I went home… together.

Today, he's almost 9 months old. He weighs about 19lbs and is somewhere around 29 inches long. He is a big fan of food…especially whatever the rest of us are eating. He has one tooth but still manages to gum up corn, carrots, chicken, whatever we give him. He hasn't quite figured out crawling yet but he has a big interest in walking. I’m sure when he masters one skill, the rest will follow quickly.

The ladies on the PROM support group ran by this website were my rock during those 6 months. In the beginning, they answered my questions and listened to my fears and then at the end, they cried with me and thanked God with me. It was the most wonderful support I’ve ever felt. Someday, I hope to join the list again so I can be an inspiration to others who may not know how to feel during such an unsure time. Good luck to all you PROM queens out there. You too, must believe that there is always room for a miracle.