The Milestone of Viability

The Milestone of Viability


“Fear is huge. Pain is constant. Still, as much as I wish this wasn’t happening, this is what we were given. We can only trust that God’s purpose will prevail. He knows what He’s doing. I pray for good outcomes, but it’s His desires that will be made reality. In the meantime, the battle is hard. Hopefully, it’s one of the hardest battles I’ll ever have to fight, because I’m not certain I’m strong enough for anything harder. Some days, I’m not certain I’m strong enough for this.”

Viability. We made it.

I cannot express to you the weight that comes off a parent’s shoulders when it is no longer their signature that would keep their struggling child alive despite any complications she might have forever because of that struggle. In Michigan, 24 weeks is deemed the milestone of viability.

We hit that milestone on the 3rd, celebrated with a wheelchair ride to Starbucks for frappacinos, and then I woke up the very next morning to severe abdominal pain. This spurred into motion trip 3 to Labor & Delivery. Having made it 8 days longer, baby girl’s chance of survival increased to somewhere around 40%.

While they did not put me back on mag during this trip, we did enter into the conversation of whether or not to use the repeat round, that is the final round, of steroids. The math breaks down like this: when given steroids to boost baby’s lung development, they’re most effective the sooner the baby is born after administration. After about two weeks, they lose their effect altogether.

Again, I asked the doctor, “What would you do if you were me?”

She replied, “I would take the steroids. If you make it another two weeks, you’ll be in an entirely different place with baby’s chances of survival.”

In other words, should we deliver, now is the time to do the repeat round. Should we hold off yet again, two weeks would put baby girl at 26 weeks and 1 day, a much better place to be than 24 weeks and 1 day.

I took the steroids.

Shot 1: I’m in Labor & Delivery.

Shot 2: I’m back up on the OB Special Care floor. We did not deliver.

What we did learn on the Labor & Delivery floor that day was this: L&D is not a place for visitors. My half naked, contracting, hungry, tired self did not tolerate well the two sets of visitors who showed up. After set two, I burst into tears and told my husband, “No more. From now on, this is not a place for visitors.” In fact, aside from the fruit snacks I had my husband sneak me, I didn’t even allow eating in the room when I was on that floor. It wasn’t exactly comforting to watch someone eat when you were denied food.

After being released back to OB Special Care, I ate my victory meal – chicken quesadillas – and we ventured outside despite how terrible I looked and felt. I needed the sun on my face like I needed the air in my lungs those days. Get me out of the sterile hospital and into the little bit of nature my wheelchair wheels can get me to.

wheelchair privileges

In the stats: 
Gestational Age: 24 weeks 1 day
Days of blood: 39
Days of bedrest: 60
Pre-Hospital Stay Doctor’s Appointments: 8
Ultrasounds: 4
Days in the hospital: 10
IV starts: 2
Magnesium drips: 2
Trips to Labor & Delivery: 3
Sets of visitors: 17

Sponsor Oaklee's March of Dimes team.