At 20 weeks pregnant, Krista was diagnosed with oligohydramnios, or low amniotic fluid, a rare condition that happens in only 4% of pregnancies. Here is her story.
What were the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth?
When I was 20 weeks pregnant with Nina we went in for a routine ultrasound and it was discovered that my amniotic fluid was very low, measuring at a three when it should have been somewhere between 8 and 10. My doctor sent me to the maternal fetal medicine doctors, since I was now considered a high risk pregnancy. I had no idea that this could even be a problem; it was only mentioned in small paragraphs in my pregnancy books. Nobody in my family had ever had major complications in pregnancy, so this was all new to me.
When we went to MFM, my doctor explained that this condition, called oligohydramnios, could restrict Nina’s growth and development, but worst of all could cause her lungs to not develop properly. We were told that I may need to deliver as early as 25 weeks. It all depended on how Nina was developing in the womb. The hardest part was nobody could tell me for sure, so I lived in constant fear that it would happen at any second.
We were given three options: 1) do nothing and let the pregnancy continue as it was; 2) do everything and be admitted to the hospital until I deliver; or 3) terminate the pregnancy. We choose to do everything possible.
I was given steroid shots to help with Nina’s lung development, and at 24 weeks I was admitted to the hospital in hopes to make it to 34 weeks. As the days went on, we saw good growth for Nina and lung tissue developing, making the doctors hopeful they could get me to 36 or 37 weeks.
At 30 weeks and 4 days, my water broke, but I was told as long as I wasn’t in active labor, I could keep Nina in until 34 weeks. About 12 hours later, I went into labor. I was wheeled in for a C-section due to Nina being breech, and within 5 minutes, she was out and crying.
What complications, diagnoses or surgeries did you or your child face?
Nina was born with underdeveloped lungs so she received surfactant to help her with breathing. She was on oxygen for the first 4 days of her life, and then she was breathing all on her own. We are truly blessed that she only needed a little help in the beginning, especially since we had no idea if she would even have lungs. She truly is a miracle. She spent 33 days in the nicu and came home a month before her due date.
How old is your child or children now and how are they doing?
Nina is now 1 year old and doing great. She is thriving and growing well. And we definitely know she has good lungs, she doesn’t let us forget!
How did your whole family cope with this experience? How are you all doing now?
Our family was amazing. Being in the hospital for 6 weeks was not easy. I gave everything up: my home life, work, all the simple things you take for granted. I gave up having a normal pregnancy and I still feel guilty that I couldn’t make it to the end, and I feel envious of other women that can.
My husband was my hero. He came to see me everyday and was there whenever I needed him. I think it was hard for my family to see me in the hospital for so long, but I kept reminding them it was all for a good reason. I had such a great support system, and its nice to have a normal life again.
What did you learn about this experience that you’d like to pass on to others?
Being positive and keeping faith that everything will turn out for the best can go a long way. And when you do go through something like this it makes you a different person. All the little things you used to worry about just don’t matter anymore.
What else would you like to share?
To this day we don’t know why I had low fluid. I was never leaking any fluid, and there was nothing wrong with Nina that would have caused it. All I can say is that if this happens to you, it’s not your fault. There is nothing you could have done to prevent it. I like to think now that it all happened to us for a reason and that I was meant to go on this journey with Nina.
If you have a story to share about your NICU journey, submit it in our Share Your Story section, and we may publish it on Preemie Babies 101! Stories are subject to editing for length and clarity.