"There it was. Two red lines, indicating that I was pregnant. For most people, this is nothing but good news. For me, someone who had just lost a baby 3 months prior, it was a bit more complicated.
Rewind to July 5th, 2018. I was 15 weeks pregnant with my first baby, and decided to fly to California to visit my parents for a few days. The morning started out like any other with my family; everyone wakes up, has a cup of coffee, then showers and gets on with their day. I followed the routine, and after I showered while drying myself off, I noticed my legs were still wet. Odd, but not anything to worry about. I continued to dry them off, but they kept getting wet over and over again. My stomach dropped as I realized something was wrong. I called my doctor’s office (back home in Kansas City) and they told me to go to the ER as soon as possible. While there, my worst fears came to life; I had suffered a preterm premature rupture of the membranes (pPROM). The amniotic sac had ruptured and all the fluid had leaked out, leaving my unborn baby unprotected. There was a minute chance of the sac repairing itself, so I opted to play the “wait and see” game.
Those two weeks were the longest of my life; doctor appointments almost every day, being told no, the fluid has not increased, but yes, baby is doing fine. On July 18th, 2018, everything changed. I went in for my usual checkup, but this time the doctor told me that my white blood cell count was elevated, indicating the onset of chorioamnionitis, an infection of the amniotic sac. This is a deadly bacterial infection if not treated, and the only treatment is delivery of the baby. Now that my life was at risk, we had no choice. I headed straight to the hospital and was induced. My sweet angel baby Benjamin was born July 19th in the early morning. We held him and cuddled his tiny body as we said our goodbyes. I mourned the baby that I never got to know; I still mourn him every day. That was easily the hardest day of my life.
Fast forward to October 27th, 2018; the day I found out I was pregnant again. This was the most bittersweet news I could ask for. I was being blessed with another baby, a sibling for our angel baby, Ben. I was thrilled, but at the same time was terrified. I knew my doctor was going to support me with every intervention possible to avoid another loss, but nothing in life is guaranteed. We never found out what the cause of the pPROM was. Sometimes, it is simply a random event. Never finding out what happened still haunts me.
At my first appointment, I got to see my sweet baby on ultrasound. Nothing brings more joy than that moment when you realize a tiny human is growing inside you, and it is your baby. My husband and I decided that night that we did not want to know the gender of the baby, because it did not matter to us if it was a boy or a girl, only that we got to meet this baby.
My pregnancy was tough. I had weekly doctor’s appointments from 12 weeks until the end of my pregnancy. I received weekly ultrasounds to check my cervix and progesterone shots to help keep this baby inside me. At 23 weeks, my cervix shortened from 3.5 cm the previous week, to 1.7 cm. I was checked into the hospital for overnight observation, and after not going into labor, I was allowed to go home. There was one catch, however. I was put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy, for fear that I could go into labor at any time. This basically meant I was at home, alone with my thoughts for 4 months.
Each week I remained pregnant felt like a victory; when I got to 28 weeks, I felt such immense relief because I knew the outcomes were so much better long term for babies born after that point. Throughout the whole process, my sweet baby kept kicking me, reminding me that they were there and they were healthy. You can’t possibly understand the power of a baby kick on a mother who has already lost a baby and was at risk to lose another. That simple reminder – “I’m here, and I’m okay!” – got me through those long months.
On June 24th, my 2nd wedding anniversary no less, my water broke. I was 38 weeks pregnant at that point. Twelve hours later I met the love of my life, Oliver. Seven pounds, eleven ounces, ten fingers and ten toes, a full head of hair, screaming loud to let me know again – “I’m here, and I’m okay!” My sweet rainbow baby was born. Ben has a baby brother now. Needless to say, that is the BEST anniversary present a mom could ask for.
Oliver is 3 months old now, and doing great. He loves smiling at mama, “talking” to his toy monkey, and tickle fights."
- Rachael M.