The morning of September 10, 2010, I woke to something no pregnant woman in her second trimester wants to discover: my waters had broken at 22 weeks gestation.
I had previously had no complications whatsoever and all of my pregnancies had been absolutely textbook. Finding my pajamas wet was a complete, and totally unwanted, surprise.
I got up, in a bit of a daze, about 6am and walked into the bathroom and sat down on the toilet. When I confirmed what happened, I screamed a primal sound that brought my husband racing to the bathroom. Through my tears I told him what I suspected had happened. He and I both knew what this meant: our unborn baby boy was in grave danger.
I got dressed, he had a shower, and we called a friend to come watch our three children so we could go to the hospital. As I waited to leave, I sat at the kitchen counter with my laptop and sent an email to a friend, asking her to pray. I also posted this message to Facebook:
Our friend arrived, we walked out the door and drove to the hospital just two miles away. I had no idea that it would be weeks before I would come home again, with no baby in my arms.
When we arrived at the hospital I was taken to the room where at-risk pregnant women go for weekly stress tests. I got asked the normal 537 questions and was told that the on-call OB doctor was busy with other patients and would be in just as soon as she could. The nurse did test the fluid to see if it was amniotic fluid. The test showed that the pH level was inconsistent with amniotic fluid and I was no longer leaking. This calmed me down a bit, the nursing staff obviously weren’t in a rush, so I relaxed. The nurse said oh, it could be this, it could be that, never really saying one way or the other. I was starting to think that maybe it was okay after all. I even sent my husband off to work since he was only a ten minute drive away. I told him I’d call if anything changed. Not my smartest move ever.
I rested on the bed, trying to calm my racing my mind. At some point I turned over onto my side and WHOOSH! The fluid surged out. I frantically called out “It’s gushing! It’s gushing!” The noise in the room silenced. Nothing like a pregnancy crisis in a room full of pregnant women to bring a hush to the room. The nurse rushed over and quickly tested the fluid again and I watched her face fall. I knew what that meant. This was amniotic fluid and my life would never be the same.
The staff paged the doctor again, more urgently, and she came shortly afterwards. She was a kind doctor, who gently talked with me to make sure that I understood what was going on and what it all meant. She told me that if my baby was born at 22 weeks gestation he would have no chance of survival. She offered me the opportunity to go home and just let nature takes its course. At this point, she was assuming that I would soon be starting labor since 95% of women give birth within a week of waters breaking. I chose to stay in the hospital, knowing I would be there until our baby was born.
Soon after I was admitted to the hospital, a technician came in to do an ultrasound of my uterus to find out exactly how much fluid was left. She was very kind, but very silent. I read over her shoulder as she typed a quick report and I saw her type “1.4 AFI”.
I found out later that 1.4 AFI (Amniotic Fluid Index) was the amount of fluid left for my son to breathe. Normal for that gestation period is 14. It was equivalent to a couple tablespoons of fluid.
At the end of the day, September 10, I was lying in a hospital bed, flat on my back with a monitor on my belly, listening to the heartbeat of my unborn son, praying that I would stay pregnant for the next 10 weeks. I prayed like I had never prayed before in my life.
In the past, in Bible studies or Sunday School, I had been asked to think about how I would respond to a crisis in my life. I always hoped that I would respond in a Godly way, that I would trust God because He loves me. I knew that believers in Christ are not promised an easy life. But I hadn’t really ever been tested that way. Well, that night, I was definitely being tested.
As I stared at the ceiling and prayed, I begged God that He would use this horrible, tragic event to bring Himself glory. That if this had to happen, it happened for an eternal reason. That people would KNOW GOD. That my son’s life, however short or long, would be used by God to help other people know Him better and deeper and stronger.
I cried. Tears for our son. Tears for myself. Tears for my family.
As I went to sleep that night, I was quoting scripture in my head.
“Do not be anxious for anything, but in all things, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
God’s peace swept over me and I slept to the sound of my son’s heartbeat on the hospital monitor, not knowing if it would be there when I woke.