Today is the 25 week mark in my pregnancy. And that is cause for celebration! In fact, every day that my precious little baby stays healthy and inside is cause for celebration. I'm in a bit of a unique situation this time around - my water broke when I was just about 21 weeks along.
[25 weeks pregnant with baby #2]
With my first pregnancy, I did go into labor early, but it was a completely different situation from the one I'm in now - my water didn't even break until I was in the full forces of labor. In fact, my water didn't break until about two pushes before we welcomed our first baby into this world. I had started spotting on a Sunday and this continued on and off. On Tuesday evening, I was back to being on with the spotting and also had a somewhat intense backache. My midwife recommended that I go see the doctor, so at 11:00 at night we headed in for a little check up. My husband was trying to pack a bag and grab a few things while I was just laughing at him - I was only 35 week along - in my mind, there was no way that this was labor! However, we got to the hospital, and sure enough, I was having contractions. They sent me home and told me to come back when things started going more. We headed back in around 5 am and welcomed our son just minutes before 8:00 that Wednesday morning. Our son was completely healthy. He was tiny - weighing in at 5 pounds and 3 ounces - but there was nothing to be concerned about and he hasn't had any health issues since then. We left the hospital with him the day after he was born.
[Our first photo as a family of three.]
This time around, my water broke towards the end of March (March 28 to be exact - I thought I was about 19 weeks along, but in reality I was more like 21 weeks). I was exercising - as I tried to do several times as week - and all of the sudden my pants were becoming wet. Now everyone knows that pregnant women have the stereotype of having bladder accidents - especially while exercising, sneezing, laughing, etc. So I stopped exercising, took a bathroom break and changed my clothes. I was a little concerned because it did seem to be quite a lot for a bladder leak. The thought of my water breaking did cross my mind - but again - it wasn't time for baby to come so I was convinced that I was just a 27 year old woman who couldn't control her bladder. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry and throughout the day, I did a little bit of both. I had a few small "issues" throughout that day and another bigger one that night, but after that - the problem seemed to have stopped for the most part and you better believe that I was doing my kegel exercises!
Besides that first day, my little "bladder" issues seemed to be under control. I had a few instances here and there. Of course I was Googling things like "leaking amniotic fluid," but I was also convincing myself that I was just peeing myself every now and then. (Those of you that know my mother, Vicki, can only imagine her concern - she's the type of mom that wants you to rush your child to the emergency room for every little concern. I love you Mom!) I had my routine prenatal appointment and baby sounded good, I didn't have a bladder infection and I was fully convinced that it was just bladder control issues.
This is the point of my story where things get a tad bit crazy. So, March 28th was when I first started having these leaking episodes. And we had a family vacation to the Cayman Islands scheduled for April 4th. This was a vacation that we had been looking forward to for a long time. My husband's parents had so graciously offered to take us on this vacation, this would be the first time my two and a half year old son flew on an airplane (talk about an excited little boy!), and really...it's a vacation - what's there to not be excited about, especially when it means 85 degree weather at the end of a Michigan winter?!?
When it came time to leave for vacation, I wasn't having these leaking issues often at all, and it HAD been over a week. In my mind, if it had been a serious situation, something would have happened by then. So off we headed to Chicago to catch our Sunday flight to the Cayman Islands.
[Our first night. We made it to the island in time to catch a sunset]
The first few days of vacation were uneventful (in terms of my pregnancy - not in terms of being in a new place, on a new adventure with gorgeous weather!). As the vacation days passed, I did start to have these leaking incidents more and more often. And then Tuesday happened.
[My little family enjoying some of the beautiful Cayman scenery]
[Enjoying some beach time. This little boy had so much fun!]
Tuesday afternoon/early evening everyone else was down at the pool and I was relaxing in the condo. I started doing some of the prep for dinner that night. I felt a little leak coming on - so I took a bathroom break. I didn't turn the lights on in the bathroom - and I didn't flush the toilet (yes, I do not flush after every bathroom trip because let's face it - I pee a lot. And I try to be as least wasteful as possible - it drives my husband crazy). When I went back to the bathroom for my next bathroom break - I turned the light on and was horrified to see that the water in the toilet was red, and I realized that I was still bleeding. I immediately texted my midwife and my older sister. Communication was a little limited being on the island - but thank goodness for iMessages on wifi! At this point, I thought that I was about 20 weeks along. Since I was so early, there wasn't much that could be done at the hospital for me, so we decided to wait it out. Thankfully, most of the bleeding was done on Tuesday and I could still feel my baby moving around a lot.
From that point on, my vacation pretty much consisted of me sitting with my feet up reading a good book. Let's be honest - if you're supposed to just be sitting around, resting, not doing much of anything, and keeping your stress levels down - a beautiful, warm island is a pretty good place to do so (minus the worry of being so far from home, of course). I had my family set me up with an ultrasound appointment for when I returned from vacation and it was a waiting game from there to see what in the world was going on.
The Monday after vacation was a whirlwind. I went to my doctor's appointment and he sent me to maternity triage. I had a spec exam done to do some ferning to see if it was amniotic fluid - and that came back negative (good news - the thought was that my water had NOT broken). I then went in for an ultrasound to see if there was anything strange going on with my placenta. I had my ultrasound and then went back to my room to wait for the results. Prior to my ultrasound, I thought I was a tad over 21 weeks along, but Praise the Lord, the baby measured at exactly 23 weeks. I was so sure that nothing serious was going on that I sent my husband back to work and then home to pick up our son. So I was shocked when the doctor came in and said that my fluid levels were low and that my membranes had in fact ruptured. I was told a bunch of information - too much to absorb - but one thing that I did hear was that they wanted to admit me and keep me there until my baby arrived! (Side note: the standard for the hospital that I am staying at is to not keep anyone until 23 weeks. So even if I had gone in when the bleeding started, or had an ultrasound when I had my first leaking issue, the outcome still would have been to wait until I was 23 weeks. I have been amazed by the perfect timing for everything in this imperfect situation.)
So here I am now, at 25 weeks pregnant, spending my days in a hospital room. I have been upgraded to a corner room with a nice view and lots of natural light. I have been in awe of all the love and support (and flowers!) that people have surrounded us with. I'm two weeks in now, with hopefully many more to go.
[Just one of the MANY beautiful flowers that I have received. My nurses are always commenting on my flowers and how my room smells like a florist shop.]
Of course these last two weeks have been FAR from the easiest weeks of my life. There is fear and uncertainty and worry. I am not the only one affected by this situation - it's hard on my whole family. I have a 2 year old at home who is usually my little side kick for everything I do. One of the hardest adjustments was the separation from him and the worry of how he would handle it - but we have an AMAZING family and he's been blessed with amazing grandparents and aunts who have taken good care of him (although I'm fairly certain that he's not eating as much broccoli as he should be!). Everyone has stepped up to help us in any way that they are able to, big or small, and nothing goes unnoticed.
[My sweet boy collecting seashells on the beach. Can't you see how hard it would be to not get to hug and kiss and love on this munchkin everyday?]
The goal is to keep me pregnant until I'm 34 weeks along - which is June 29. There are a lot of hard realities that we will most likely have to face in the near future, including NICU time. I'm two weeks into this long journey, but I know that everything will work out. Not every day is easy, but I have a huge support system, lots of friends and family to come keep me company, and I've been blessed with a job that I am still able to complete remotely (and trust me - Marissa and Vicki are definitely keeping me busy!).
There are some details, statistics, conversations and decisions that I have left out of my story. Those of you that have been in my shoes before, know all too well the pain and heartache of it all. And those of you that haven't - I hope that you will never see the day where you share in this experience.
So I just want to thank all of you for all of the love, prayers and support that you have shown me and my family. We are all adjusting and handling this the best that we know how. Hopefully there will be no news to share for several more weeks!
To read more of Meghan's blog posts about her pregnancy and NICU journey, click HERE