How My Wife Overcame Low Amniotic Fluids for Childbirth

How My Wife Overcame Low Amniotic Fluids for Childbirth

“I strongly suggest that you terminate this pregnancy right away.” These words are forever burned into my mind and we will get to that a little bit later on.

It was close to seven years ago that I found myself lucky enough to meet a beautiful, intelligent and charming woman who is now my fiancee. When Elaine and I had first learned that we were pregnant our thoughts immediately turned to fear, but it wasn’t long before our fear turned to excitement and thoughts of what the future had in store for us. Initially, we were terrified at the prospect of raising a child together, after a mere one and a half years together. After missing her period, Elaine, my fiancee, thought it would be a good idea to try a home pregnancy test, or three, which all came up positive.

Ever since I was a BMX racer, I always said that I would name my first born son Aiden. I had a good friend named Aiden when I was younger and I really liked that name ever since then. Elaine had agreed that if he were to be a boy, we would name him Aiden. Now of course this could only happen to us, but thinking that we had given our son an original name was not very common at the time, it just so happened that Aiden was the most popular name for boys born the same year as Aiden. Needless to say that the name doesn’t make the person, because unlike his name, he definitely is an original.

It was roughly 16 weeks into the pregnancy and Elaine felt what she described as a “gush”. She then noticed a bit of leakage. Concerned for the baby, we rushed to the hospital ER, where the tests began. First the nurses thoroughly checked the stability of Elaine’s vital signs, after which they performed a speculum test. This is a test where the doctors draw a small amount of fluid from the vagina and test it for the presence of amniotic fluid, the theory being, that the baby’s amniotic sack was ruptured and leaking. The tests came back inconclusive. Needless to say, we went back home knowing no more than what we did before we left our home that day. Almost a month later, at our previously scheduled appointment for the baby’s 20 week ultrasound, it was obvious by reading the radiology tech’s body language and facial expressions, that something that she saw was amiss, however, as it is a regular hospital policy for an employee who has not had the proper training to read the images to inform the patient of what they see, she didn’t want to inform my fiancee of what she had found in the images. After she completed her exam she printed out some of the images of the baby for my fiancee and I to keep. Shortly after the radiology tech left the room, the doctor came in. As much as I would have liked to, I was unable to get off of work, so that I could accompany Elaine to the ultrasound appointment. The doctor, who was a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, came in to deliver the bad news, but not before he performed a second ultrasound, to confirm his suspicions. Upon completion of his second ultrasound, he began to fill Elaine in on what he had found.

About 1:30 in the afternoon my phone rang, it was Elaine. She had called to fill me in on the latest information about the pregnancy. As the foreman of a small concrete company, I can pretty much do what I want, so I took a short break to hear what she had to say. The Maternal Fetal Medical Specialist had told Elaine that her amniotic fluid was low. There is a medical term for this, it’s called Oligohydramnios (try to say that a few times real quickly). Although the tests never actually confirmed it, the consensus was that the amniotic sack was leaking. Now, if the amniotic sack continued to leak or even if it stopped, if the fluid level did not replenish itself Aiden’s kidneys and lungs would not continue to develop. The hope was that the (non existent) tear in the amniotic sack would mend, on its own and the fluid would return to its normal level, however, this was not the case.

By now we had a team of doctors, as well as nurses working on our case around the clock. Given this new information, the doctors had recommended that Elaine come in to the hospital for weekly ultrasounds. This would allow our team of doctors to monitor Aiden and Elaine’s condition extremely closely. One thing that I have neglected to mention thus far, is that Elaine was and still is a Patient Care Assistant or a PCA in the NICU of the hospital where this whole episode is taking place. It was now time for the first round of weekly ultrasounds and I wasn’t going to miss it. So, I took off of work to accompany Elaine to this appointment. It was at this appointment that the urgency of the situation really set in for us. Up until this point, I’m not sure if the doctors had made it seem as if this was all somewhat routine for them and we didn’t need to worry too much, or if that is just the way that I was understanding it. They had never verbally told us this, it was just more the way that they talked and acted that gave me this impression. However, all that changed in just this one visit.

After we went in for our scheduled ultrasound we were brought into a separate room to wait for the doctor, in itself this wasn’t out of the norm until this man came into the room and just laid it all out on the table. “You have got a choice to make. You can go on with this pregnancy and just hope for the impossible, that the fluid level will come back to a normal level and your son will be born healthy. This, however, is very highly unlikely, borderline impossible”. He then went on to tell us that the most likely result of this choice would be, that the fluid level would stay the same or even get lower and our son would probably be still born or at least be born without lungs or kidneys and be on machines to keep him alive until we decide to “pull the plug” and let him go. The alternative or second choice, terminate the pregnancy with a late term abortion.

However, it wouldn’t be just that simple. With this decision we would be facing another hurdle. Not only was an abortion in this state illegal at that point in time, but the hospital that we were in, Christ Advocate Medical Center, Christ being the key word here. Being a Christian hospital, posed an ethical issue for the hospital. This hospital does not perform abortions after a certain point in the pregnancy, which we had passed by a few days already. So, if we were to choose this option, we would have to not only travel to the nearest state where this procedure was legal, but then find a hospital that would do it. If I live to be 150 years old, I will never forget what this “man” said next and not only that but the way that he said it. It was as if he were telling me that the cafeteria was out of Pepsi. If you don’t terminate this pregnancy, your son will not survive. When he told us this, our jaws just dropped as we starred blankly at each other, not able to find the words to comfort her, I just held Elaine as closely as I possibly could. When we got home and all that we could do was cry.

It wasn’t long before Elaine started experiencing severe pains and cramps. Once they reached the point where the pain became unbearable for her, we made our way to the emergency room to try and find out what the problem was. As usual, the doctors had to run a marathon of tests on her before they finally told her that what she was experiencing was false labor pains. So, we ended up going home. This happened a few more times before it happened. We went in for Elaine’s usual round of tests, only this time she was actually contracting.

At this point we were 25 and 5/7 weeks into the pregnancy. Elaine was given magnesium to stop the contractions and then admitted to the hospital for observation. It was the doctor’s belief that by administering magnesium, Elaine’s contractions would hold off for at least a couple of more weeks, buying Aiden more time inside the womb to develop. As fate would have it, the magnesium only slowed the contractions for the time being. I spent the night in the hospital at Elaine’s bedside, thinking that we would be returning home in the morning, this simply wasn’t the case. I was awakened the next morning at around 4 A.M. The contractions had returned and they were coming on stronger than before. Aiden was not going to wait any longer, we were about to have a baby. We were now at 25 6/7 weeks gestation and Aiden was coming right now.

The doctor who was going to deliver Aiden found that he was in the breach position, which would not allow for a normal vaginal delivery. He told us that he was going to have to perform a Cesarean delivery. (When a baby is in the breach position, what this means is that he is coming out butt first.) This didn’t seem to even phase Elaine in the least. I on the other hand, can’t stand the though of surgery or needles, I get very queasy right away. They rolled her into the delivery room, gave me a set of scrubs and told me to scrub up and get ready. Now, I had every intention of seeing my son be born, however, that was before I found out that he would be delivered by Cesarean. I couldn’t chicken out now though, Elaine needed me there. After nearly hitting the floor numerous times throughout the procedure, I witnessed what could only be described as nothing short of a miracle. I saw the doctor pull this tiny purple child from my wife and it seemed as if every single one of my emotions let loose at the exact same time. The best part of all…..he was breathing on his own and he was healthy. We were ecstatic, Elaine never looked so beautiful to me. In any case, they whisked my son off right away, before I even got to get a good look at him. They had to get him under what is called a billy light. This light is to help premature babies who are born with jaundice (not a big deal).

With our son born nearly four months premature, we were not really surprised when the doctors told us that Aiden would need to spend a little time in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Once Elaine was released from the hospital and we were able to visit Aiden in the NICU for the first time, I can’t even begin to explain the deep feelings of love that I felt for this little child. When I say little I mean Tiny at 12 inches long and weighing only 1 lb 15 ounces, he could quite literally lay in the palm of my hand. Seeing him laying there helpless really made me realize that it was completely up to me to keep him safe and protect him from all of the evil in this world. There is nothing that could have prepared me for this moment. So, we spent the first few days of Aiden’s life at the hospital just watching over him. It didn’t seem like leaving him there was an option. When we finally did leave, it was only to go home and shower. Eventually we started going home to sleep, but we would be back early in the morning just to watch him sleep.

As happy as we were, we knew that it was too easy. That’s when the doctors noticed a discoloration in Aiden’s abdomen. This discoloration was stool leaking into his body cavity. If it wasn’t caught right away, the toxicity of his stool would have lead to an infection that would have killed him. The doctors also told us that he had a perforated bowel and would need surgery to have a stoma to allow him to poop outside of his body, as well as numerous surgeries to correct this problem. After a couple of weeks the doctors were able to reconnect Aiden’s bowel and close up the hole in his side where his stoma was.

As difficult as it was, eventually we had to both return to work. It wasn’t long before I got a call at work Aiden had a slight flutter in his heart, but for such a small baby who is so premature, even a small issue could prove to be a major issue. Needless to say I left work and flew to the hospital. By the time I arrived, however, they had told me that the issue had fixed itself.

Aiden will be five years old in July. He loves preschool and can’t wait to start kindergarten next year. He came home on a monitor for a short time, but is now a happy healthy little boy with the friendliest disposition that you could ever imagine. Right now Elaine is pregnant again and we recently found out that it is a girl.

This article is written by Edward Micknius on 14 April 2012 for Mind Power World: http://www.MindPowerWorld.com