By Dave Andrusko
The outcome represents one of those really feel-good stories. Rachel Whitchurch’s water broke at 28 weeks. When this had happened with her older child (when she was at 35 weeks), she was told it was a “fluke.”
Now, five years later (and after three miscarriages), it happened again, and a full seven weeks earlier in her pregnancy. She thought, “This can’t be happening,” Rachel told Good Morning America.
Rachel and Jeff Whitchurch rushed to Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem, Utah. She was told that the baby could be born at any moment.
“We had multiple doctors, nurses, and specialists talk to us and warn us of the risks and problems that we should expect if our baby was born that day or the next,” Rachel told KSL Television. Rachel was put on immediate bed rest and given drugs to stop the contractions and help the baby’s lungs to grow.
“After two days we were told that the longest we could hope for would be a week and if we lasted 10 days it would be a miracle,” she said.
“The Number One concern is infection,” explained Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC Senior Medical contributor. “It is literally a race against time.”
Indeed, time was of the utmost importance. The neonatal staff told the family that every day the baby could stay inside Rachel meant three days less the baby would have to spend in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit.
And, amazingly, the days turned into weeks, and miraculously, the weeks turned into a month—and beyond!
“She was probably in the five percent of women who are able to keep the baby in the womb past seven days of the sack of waters breaking,” said her physician, Mark Saunders.
In the end Rachel held on “for a jaw-dropping 39 days,” as Good Morning America’s Amy Robach described it, before delivering Gideon via C-Section. He then spent five weeks in NICU and is now a healthy seven-month-old.
“With faith and prayers and amazing medical staff, our sweet little boy was born at 33 weeks instead of 28 weeks,” Rachel told KSL TV. “He was only 3 pounds when he was born, but he was healthy, breathing, and fighting from the beginning. My doctors called me and our little Gideon both miracles.”