Saturday, May 25, 2013

PPROM

If you know what that post title means, look away or grab a box of tissues.

I don't really know where to begin. I can tell you that I've been having the worst week of my life, bar none. Let me just put it out there, we lost our baby this week. My wife was 17 weeks pregnant. PPROM stands for Pre-term Premature Rupture Of the Membrane. Basically, her water broke and she lost all but a few teaspoons of amniotic fluid. At 17 weeks, the baby had fully developed many things, lungs were not one of them. With no amniotic fluid, the baby could not continue to breath in the fluid to continue to develop lungs inside the womb, and with no lungs, the baby would not be able to breath outside of the womb. We were told that the baby had a near zero chance to survive. We were also told that the baby had a strong, normal heartbeat. I don't expect anyone to really know what it feels like to be told your baby is perfect in every way except that it cannot survive inside or outside the womb. And to hear this happens frequently (at least once a week we are told) but science has not figured out a way to address it seems unreal and it makes a father to be pretty angry.

Needless to say, I've been a bit of a basket case this past week. Any hope we had been hanging onto was officially ripped away from us at 1:50 AM early Wednesday morning. My wife's body had naturally gone into labor, meaning there was absolutely nothing we could do. There was a 1 in a trillion shot that the baby might make it to 24 weeks where the lungs would have grown to the point where they could accept oxygen on their own, but that would have required several miracles. And even after that, it was another 1 in a trillion shot that the baby would grow up to be completely healthy.

When we first learned about what kind of a situation our baby was in, we were given two choices. 1. We could roll the dice on that 1 in a trillion shot while hoping that no infection occurred, putting my wife's life in danger, the baby's life in danger, and our future ability to have children at serious risk. Or 2. induce while everything was infection free, cut our losses and move on. Every doctor we spoke to told us that #2 was our only real option, but they also said it was our choice. I don't know how well you know me and my wife, but quitting is not in our blood, and every 12 hours, a strong heartbeat in the baby said they weren't quitting either. I would never judge someone else's decision, but I personally do not understand how you could choose anything other than option #1. Of course, every 12 hours, when they roll in the machine that listens for the baby's heartbeat, well, that's about the most gut wrenching feeling I think a person can ever experience.

To be perfectly honest with you, given our situation, we were lucky, if you can even call it that. We could not make the choice to quit, so nature intervened on our behalf. For two and a half days, I sat by my wife's side hoping for a miracle. It didn't come. But we were told that it could have gone on like this for weeks with the same outcome, only maybe my wife would have gotten an infection or worse, lost her life as well. We do not have to live with any decisions we regret and my wife still has her health.

What we have learned over the last couple of days has been somewhat encouraging. We have no shortage of friends and family that will do anything for us. For all the terrible things that can happen during a pregnancy, we won the shittiest lottery ever! PPROM happens in less than 2% of all pregnancies. Most couples go on to have successful, full term pregnancies after. There is often no cause for PPROM. While that may not sound great, it kind of is. See, in this type of a situation, guilt and blame are flying all over the place, but this means that it doesn't need to. Turns out, there's not a damn thing we could have done differently to prevent this. There's also a chance that there was something seriously wrong with the baby that had yet to manifest itself and this was nature's way of sparing us from a more painful future. Of course, that still doesn't make us feel any better.

One thing we are both sure of though, it has been wonderful to see our friends babies/kids. It makes us happy that there are lots of healthy kids out there. We do not need to be protected from them, they are not a reminder of what we lost, they are a reminder of what a true blessing it is to have children.

I feel like I'm kind of just rambling here. Not sure what my next few posts will look like. We both need time to recover from this, but that doesn't completely mean we need to be left alone. As we are both sadly finding out, we are not alone in losing our baby. We have friends and family who have experienced this as well. I don't want to be quiet about it. If you have questions, please ask them. Talking about it is oddly comforting to me. When they first told us the baby would not likely make it, they also asked us if we did/did not want to see/ hold the baby. At first I wasn't sure. I immediately remembered holding my pet hamster as a kid and watching him die in my arms. That ruined me for a week as a kid, there's no way this wouldn't damn near kill me. But in the end, we did see our baby and I did hold him/her (they weren't able to tell the sex yet, but they are doing a chromosome test, so we will know for sure eventually) for several hours. Saying goodbye for the last time hurt more than when the doctor first told us the baby would likely not make it. We had the baby cremated and when we are ready, we will spread the ashes somewhere special to us.

I'm still trying to get past the idea that on Sunday, I was having lunch with my 8 month old nephew and my cousin with her 6 month old son, getting advice on what to expect in the next few months, to Wednesday, where I'm being handed brochures for funeral homes and signing release forms for them to pick up the body...

Life, am I right guys?


6 comments:

Jillien Minera said...

Hi there.

I'm a stranger to you. I started following your blog years ago; I found it somehow in the blogosphere, and every now and again I've clicked on your link and read some funny/quirky/random post you'd written.

But tonight was different, and I struggled with whether I should comment on such a personal post.

Anyhow, I felt compelled to tell you that I'm astounded and humbled by you and your wife's strength and truly magnanimous decision to give your child the 1 in 1trillion chance of living--even at the risk of losing the life of your wife.

I'm grateful to the Lord for your wife's continued health. I pray for your healing and renewal, and I hope that you are blessed with another child.

Thank you for sharing your story. I spend a lot of my time advocating the right to life, but you are real life heroes-- standing in defiance of the doctors and standing in faith before seemingly insurmountable odds. I can't put into words how incredible I think you two are....

God bless you and may the Lord grant you peace.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Jon, I've seen my brothers' pain as fathers-to-be, one almost lost his child, and the wife of the other had a miscarriage. I just wish to say that one day, it will get better.

This is such a beautiful thing to say, "We do not need to be protected from them, they are not a reminder of what we lost, they are a reminder of what a true blessing it is to have children."



Lia said...

I'm usually pretty silent here, since I found you through Cadiz all that time ago. But I just have to tell you that I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I've never heard of PPROM, and it sounds devastating.

Your whole post is beautiful, and I am stunned by your ability to write something so beautiful about something so difficult. That spirit will make you a wonderful father, G-d willing.

I'm so sorry to burden you with my clumsy words, but I do care, and I hope you both know that.

Zinta said...

jon and cadiz, i am so sorry to hear about your baby and admire our courage (both of you) for sharing your life with us. i am sending you two warm hugs !

Anonymous said...

I too experienced pprom at 17 weeks. I held on for 3 days, but my body had other thoughts. Sadly I gave birth to my angel boy. It is a very trying time of why, why why?!?!?!? I delivered 4 weeks ago. Just devastated. I stumbled across your blog because of course I am so info hungry about this nightmare called pprom. I want to have another baby very badly, but am terrified to try again. I hope you and your wife tremendous strength and healing, and a future that fulfills your dreams to have a family too.

Jon said...

Wow, I can't believe I never responded to anyone in these comments!! I think I responded a million times in my head, but I guess I never really put anything down in here.

Quick update: For the most part, time did its thing and helped us heal. Friends and family were great. Then November 1st came and that was the hardest day since this happened. That was the due date in case you were wondering. But time still helps the most. If you read my wife's blog over at www.jugglethis.blogspot.com you'll know a little bit more about what we've been going through lately, so I won't spend any more time on that. On to the comments!!

Jillian: Very nice to meet a lurker! And thank you for your kind thoughts. It really is amazing how a person you've never met or know anything about can still make you feel better. There are two major reasons I wrote this post. I broke a rule of mine that pretty much no one knows about and that is to never post anything sad. That's not what I wanted this blog to be. It's a place to goof, but this was just too much, so I wanted to post this because A: It was disturbing to me how not rare this situation is and how little people discuss it and B: I wanted to write down exactly what was going through my head. I don't ever want to forget. Memory is not always as trustworthy as you would like.

GG: Thank you so much. It really makes me sad to hear about how common this all is.

Lia: Your words aren't as clumsy as you think and I can't tell you how much it helped to receive these comment notifications. It sounds dumb, but it's the truth.

Zinta: I really think sharing is the best. I know I googled the hell out of PPROM and there's some info out there, but not enough.

Anonymous: All I can tell you is that you just need time. There's no book for how to deal with this. But when your body is ready, make sure your mind is ready to try again. It's not fun. Just a heads up. I will say that living in fear isn't much fun, and I'd like to think I have a say in that, but it's all talk. There's no way to describe it. If you want to talk about it more with someone that knows, feel free to let me know in the comments. Unfortunately, I have a friend that had gone through this a few months before us. She was devastated for weeks, but then, about a month ago, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.