Tomorrow I am 25 weeks pregnant. At this time during my first pregnancy I was on bed rest at home with high hopes that I would return to work in two weeks after a follow up appointment. Although no tests could confirm it, I was clearly leaking amniotic fluid. I wasn’t officially diagnosed until 27 weeks with PPROM—Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes.
No known cause, which is frequently the case.
Thus far I have had a pretty straightforward pregnancy. I count with joy each week that is normal. For a few months I was having intermittent panic attacks (no doubt driven by raging hormones, fatigue and nausea). When will the other shoe drop?
Hubby gives me injections of progesterone with the hopes it will prevent another premature labor. I have sharps containers, syringes, alcohol swabs and bandaids weekly at the ready.
Pregnancy is something we very much take for granted in the United States. Yet, according to the CDC, 1.5 million married women ages 15-44 are infertile and 7.4 million women in this age range seek out fertility treatments. Unless one has had fertility issues themselves or know family or friends with fertility issues, they are largely unaware.
Women who are fortunate enough to become pregnant through whatever means have nine months ahead of them that can be peaceful and straight forward or tumultuous, stressful, uneasy.
150,000 women a year suffer from PPROM with the most serious outcome being premature birth. Preemie survival rates vary based on age of gestation at birth, medical complications unique to the babe itself and various other factors. (American Alliance for PPROM support).
Other serious complications include placenta previa, preeclampsia, and various infections during and after childbirth. Per the CIA website, maternal mortality rates in the United States in 2010 were 21 per 100,000. Lowest rates throughout the world were Estonia with 2 per 100,000 and Greece and Singapore close with 3 per 100,000.
Consider that maternal mortality rates in developing countries range from 300 to 2,054.
I count myself to be very fortunate. Even with the complications, I now have a healthy little boy and, if all goes well, another healthy baby on the way. But I can’t forget the anxiety, the statistics, the unpredictable thing that is pregnancy.