Sometimes, when it gets to be too much, I have to stop doing research.
My head aches from reading from a screen too long, and I’ve learned far more about pPROM, premature babies and the NICU experience than I ever thought I would know.
I now know what nasal cannulas, nitric oxide, CPAP, high frequency ventilators and pulmonary hypoplasia are. I know about cord prolapse and oligohydramnios and brain bleeds and chorioamnionitis and sepsis and limb deformities and Potter’s syndrome. I know about steroids and magnesium sulfate and broad spectrum antibiotics and amniofusion and cord compression and heart rate decels and placental abruption.
I learned the terrible word viability.
I know that you can “never trust a preemie” and all about the “NICU roller coaster” and how you should try to sweet talk a NICU nurse into taking on your baby as a primary patient. I know the difficulties surrounding breast milk feeding of a micropreemie who can’t suckle, especially with a complicated birth post Cesarean section. I know how to get every last drop with a hospital-grade electric double breast pump using breast massage and hand expression. I know what the “car seat test” is. I know about actual age versus adjusted age.
I know about all of the unknowns.
I also know that, 2 weeks after pPROM, we’ve defied statistics.
38- 50% of patients will deliver within 1 week of pPROM, with close to 75% delivered within 2 weeks. 86% will deliver within 21 days.
Which means it’s very possible, likely even, that I’ll have a baby in a week’s time, at the edge of viability, 24 weeks. And that at that point he will have a 39% chance of survival. At 25 weeks, it climbs to 50%. At 26 weeks, 80%.
Nobody can tell until baby is born how much of an impact having little to no amniotic fluid will affect his lung development. It’s nearly impossible for the doctors to say with any accuracy.