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  • Writer's pictureKris Barling

What happened next and my final decision

When I suspected that my waters may have broken, I decided to go down to the hospital to make sure that everything was ok. I was very scared and waited for my partner to get home, I knew it was something that I didn't want to face on my own. The nurses at the Women's Assessment Unit were great. They got me through to see a Doctor very quickly and were very reassuring. I had my obs done and things looked relatively normal. I then saw the Doctor who explained to me that they would need to do a speculum swab to determine if it was the baby's waters or something else. I've unfortunately since had to become used to having these tests, it's hard to believe that once upon a time I was petrified of a simple pap smear!

At the time it was very uncomfortable and I also had a fair amount of bleeding. Something that I had noticed a few times earlier in the pregnancy. I'd had ultrasounds and been checked out with nothing sinister being found at the time. 

The Doctor went away to test the swabs while we waited patiently. My heart was pounding the entire time. 

When the Doctor returned with the verdict, I knew instantly. She actually had tears in her eyes when she told us that it was the baby's waters. I think back now and at the time she thought that she was telling us that our baby was going to die. It felt as though it just punched me in the stomach. The Nurse who was also in the room was clearly emotional too. At the time I didn't realise it but I don't think that they witness this situation very often and were hoping for a different outcome. I was told that we were going to have to make a decision regarding whether or not to terminate the pregnancy, but that we didn't have to make it that night. It felt as though my whole world had come crashing down. It was the last thing that I was expecting that day when I went to the shops. 

I was straight away put on IV and oral antibiotics. The biggest risks with waters breaking early are infection as the baby is no longer protected by the membrane from external infections and going into labour. An infection would also have the potential to start the labour process too. I was informed that the point of viability where the baby has any chance of survival was 23 weeks. At only 20 weeks, if I was to go into labour, she would not survive. 

I was admitted into hospital and also given an ultrasound which showed that although I had lost fluid, the baby still had a strong heartbeat and was doing ok. I think that was one of the strangest things throughout the entire experience. Her heartbeat remained strong, she kept moving about and she continued to measure four days ahead of her gestation the whole time. It was as though she was completely oblivious to everything that was going on and the heartache that we were going through. I wonder if that is how she might end up living her life.....just keeping her cool and doing her thing regardless of what crisis is going on around her. I like to think this. 

That night was possibly one of the hardest nights I have ever experienced. I would cry my eyes out, then pull myself together for when the nurses would come in. I would keep trying to tell myself that I had to have faith, that I needed to stay positive. Then I would start thinking about the fact that based on what the Doctor's were saying I was probably going to lose her. The Doctors were as informative as they could be. Each one that I saw encouraged termination. I know that they are required to do this but it was so hard to listen to. At the same time, I wanted to know all of the facts. I am a control freak at heart, and when a control freak doesn't have any control over a situation, the next best thing is knowing everything they can about the situation. I asked the Doctors about what would happen if I was to go into labour. I learned that they wouldn't be able to stop it, that it was not classed as a miscarriage anymore but would now be classed as a stillborn. I would then have to make the appropriate arrangements. Whenever I talked to the Doctors and the Nurses I was very calm. They possibly didn't really know how to take it. But as soon as they would leave my room I would burst into tears again. I had always thought that anyone who had to go through losing a baby or their child was the most devastating thing that someone could experience. I didn't know how I would possibly be ok if that was to happen to me. In one conversation with the Doctor that I am now dealing with exclusively, I asked her a question straight out. If I was to terminate, the end result would be that our baby would be dead right? If I decided to keep going and try and get to at least 23 weeks which was considered viable and I went into labour prior to that, she would also be dead right? The Doctor said yes. I asked what complications I would face with my own health. The main concern was the fact that she was transverse and the type of c-section that I would need would mean that I would probably not be able to fall pregnant again. This type of surgery would happen in both cases. I decided that both situations would have the same result, so I wasn't prepared to give up when there was a chance that we could make it to the 23 week mark and she could possibly survive. I knew that I could not give up on her. That was thankfully the last conversation that I had with a Doctor regarding terminating my pregnancy. 0 

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