Cally PPROM at 18weeks gestation and birth at 28weeks
Getting pregnant has always been easy for me, but being able to carry a successful pregnancy is not.
After my 5th loss in late 2015 we decided to try once more for our 3rd child, and come January I was pregnant again, I had such a good feeling about this little life growing inside me. Classed as a high-risk pregnancy straight away I was put on aspirin and progesterone pessaries daily.
At 6 weeks, I was booked in for a reassurance scan and everything looked great, I was feeling so optimistic, scans at 7 and 8 weeks showed my body and baby were doing exactly what they should be doing.
One morning though at around 9 weeks pregnant our world came crashing down around us, I was bleeding heavily; I thought it was all over but a scan revealed our perfect baby wiggling away. The left side of the membranes had a subchorionic hematoma – a collection of blood between the membranes and uterine wall – doctors told me baby had a 50/50 chance of either the haematoma resolving or the pregnancy ending in miscarriage.
I was to be on moderate bed rest for the foreseeable.
The next 3 weeks were spent with trips in and out of hospital due to more bleeding, baby was still clinging to life but the haematoma was growing. At 13 weeks I had a huge gush of blood and was admitted to hospital I lost over 2 pints of blood in less than an hour along with huge blood clots , surely this was the end, but yet again a scan revealed our strong little baby carrying on as if nothing was happening, "I bet it's a boy" my consultant said "boys always cause the most trouble" it was decided I would be on complete bed rest with only toilet and shower privileges for the rest of the pregnancy with 2 other children aged 7 and 3 this would be difficult but I was lucky to have my amazing partner and mum on hand to help.
Everything was going great, I was still lightly bleeding every day but I got used to it. We had a 3D scan and found out we would be having our 2nd baby boy, we even moved into our dream home and my bleeding eventually stopped at 18 weeks.
At 18weeks and one day, the day after we moved in; I woke up feeling strange I felt flustered and suddenly felt a painful twinge low down in my stomach. I got up to go to the bathroom and felt a small gush, initially I expected it to be blood but it wasn't … I just knew something was wrong I walked to the antenatal unit to get checked out.
Sitting on the bed waiting to be examined, the midwife and doctor were making small talk and asking about the fluid I had lost and I might have just wet myself, it was at that point my waters fully broke.
I knew for sure that this time we would lose our little man.
We were left to have a little time alone whilst they arranged for me to be taken to the maternity ward as they expected baby to arrive within 24 hours. We had never cried so much. By the time I was settled into a room I was just numb; they allowed my partner Jason to stay with me overnight. Morning came and I had no signs of labour so I was taken for a scan and warned that there would probably be no heartbeat, but there it was again our little fighter with a strong heartbeat, I was offered a choice to continue the pregnancy with less than a 1% chance of survival for our baby, or termination.
We had spent the previous evening frantically searching for stories of hope from parents in the same situation and was directed to a Facebook page of a charity Little Heartbeats - Making PPROM Awareness, their motto being “Where there are heartbeats there is hope”, our little boy had a heartbeat so we had hope and chose to continue with the pregnancy.
I was kept in hospital for 3 days on antibiotics and discharged with the plan of weekly scans and blood tests and to try to get to viability (24 weeks). I got talking to Ciara who started Little Heartbeats and she gave me some really good information and was so supportive. A week or so later we received our PPROM Pack with Heartbeat Bear and just felt like we weren't alone in this.
6 weeks were spent in and out of hospital sometimes staying for days. At best fluid levels reached 3cm.
At long last we reached 24 weeks!
I received steroid injections to help develop baby's lungs. He had fought so hard we decided to give him a real warrior's name and decided on Leo after King Leonidas of Sparta. I began bleeding again and at 26 weeks started having contractions, I was told that doctors would not try to stop the labour and was admitted to the maternity ward again. Luckily the contractions stopped and Leo was still doing great. I spent the next week in hospital and was finally allowed back home. Within a day I was back on the ward with suspected infection, my consultant arranged a tour of NICU for the following week and I was to stay in hospital until delivery.
I had more steroids and antibiotics and a week later things were looking good but Leo's heart rate kept dipping and there were talks of a c section if they continued. 28 weeks pregnant and I had a sore stomach and felt very flustered the sore stomach turned to cramps, the cramps became regular, the regular cramps became painful – too painful to ignore. This time our baby was coming.
Midwives tried to tell me I had a water infection but my consultant took one look and knew this was labour, there would be no stopping it. I was pumped full of Magnesium Sulphate – which I can only describe as feeling like I was on fire. Jason was soaking blue paper towels and using them as a rudimentary cooling method.
I was blue-lighted in an ambulance to a hospital with a level 3 NICU where I was once again told I wasn't in labour. By 3am the next morning contractions were every 4 minutes and I was 4cm dilated.
Leo was on his way.
5 hours later … Leo arrived, into a room filled with people he was whisked away before I could even see him. 3 hours later doctors called us to nicu to see our boy for the first time. His little body was purple and grey, doctors said his lungs were so poor they didn't think he would make it and asked us if we wanted them to continue to try and save him. The paediatricians prescribed Leo with Nitric Oxide, he made a turnaround overnight and was transferred back to our local hospital in just under 2 weeks.
A 75 day nicu stay involving intubation, oscillating ventilation, BiPAP, CPAP, Optiflo, Nasal Cannula, NG tube, Long lines, countless x rays, heel pricks, IVs, cannula, antibiotics, brain scans, eye tests, 2 lumbar punctures and a run in with sepsis, Leo came home 11 days before his due date and all without needing oxygen.
He is just perfect.
If I hadn't had the support and information from little heartbeats I wonder if Leo would be here today. Thank you Little Heartbeat.
#pprom #ppromaware #pprommiracles #weAreAllowedHope #MiraclesDoHappen #TrueLifeStories