Photo Credit: Jenny Albers
It sounds naïve now, but I’d never even heard of preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) until I experienced it.
I was seventeen weeks, six days pregnant, when I simultaneously rolled over in bed and felt a gush of fluid that soaked my underwear. It was very early in the morning, maybe 3:00 a.m. I went to the bathroom, put on dry underwear—sure that my water had broken, but afraid to admit it—and returned to bed.
The day before, I’d been in the ER due to bleeding, where I was told that there was nothing to be concerned about; that my baby appeared to be doing well.
But I’d known something wasn’t right.
Hours after I’d felt that gush of fluid, when the sun was up and work hours had begun, my doctor called me to ask if I was still bleeding. I told her the bleeding had slowed, but that a gush had soaked my underwear in the middle of the night and that I was continuing to leak. It felt as if my body were forcing fluid out of me.
My doctor sent me to a specialist, who performed an ultrasound and told me there was no amniotic fluid surrounding my baby. That indeed my water had broken. He advised that I terminate the pregnancy, but I refused. My baby had a strong heartbeat. His growth was on-target. He was still alive, though I knew that wouldn’t be the case for long.
For nearly three weeks, I continued to bleed. I continued to attend appointments in which I heard my baby’s heartbeat. I continued to wait to go into labor, to deliver a baby who was sure to die. My water had broken, and without amniotic fluid, my baby could not survive.
On January 31, 2015, after slight cramping progressed to excruciating pain, I knew I was in labor. My husband rushed me to the hospital where I was admitted to Labor & Delivery.
My doctor checked my status and informed me she could feel my baby’s head and that I was undoubtedly in labor.
A short time later, one small push was all it took for my body to deliver a tiny baby who had no heartbeat. I was twenty-weeks, three-days pregnant when my baby, Micah, was born. I marveled at his ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. There were the tiny arms and tiny legs. A nose. Two eyes. A mouth that never opened.
Photo Credit: Jenny Albers
I’d heard Micah’s heartbeat just two days before, but now his heart was still. Silent.
The next day, my nurse sent me home with photos of Micah, along with a care package that contained books, a tiny, knitted blanket, an angel pin with the January birthstone, and a prayer shawl.
I was empty. Broken. And there were no definitive answers as to what had caused my membranes to rupture.
This was my second loss, my first being an ectopic pregnancy. And I left the hospital longing for the child I would never hold on this earth again.
As the years have passed, I’ve gained a sense of peace surrounding both of my losses. No longer do I sob uncontrollably. No longer is it impossible for me to be around babies, though the sight of them still sometimes hurts. No longer do I find that I need to shield myself from a world where babies and pregnant women are everywhere, though I will never forget what those dark days felt like.
I know that heaven awaits and that God has brought me out of the deep darkness I experienced for months after my loss.
But I will always wonder who Micah would have been, and why his life had to end so early.
We know that losing a child is the most heartbreaking thing a parent can experience. Loved Baby is a beautiful resource to help grieving parents of faith through their darkest days.
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