Monroe Dior Johnson -- This Is Your Birth Story (Part 1)


I wasn't sure if I would ever be ready to type out or tell this story because having to tell it makes me re-live it and my emotions are so fragile still from dealing with my very traumatic pregnancy/birth. I also knew this would probably be the longest blog post I have ever written. However, I think I am as ready as I am going to be and I'm hoping that by sharing my story it will help another Mom who may be going through a tough pregnancy, PPROM, or NICU journey. You are not alone. You are loved.


Let's start at the beginning. 

On June 13, 2021, my husband and I were flying back home to Nashville from our trip to Jamaica celebrating my 30th birthday. As soon as I got ready to sit down on the plane from our layover in New York, I had this strange "gush" feeling and I thought to myself, "did I just pee my pants?", however deep down, I knew it didn't feel like I had done that, but it felt totally different. I panicked and my husband immediately flagged down a flight attendant and told her I was pregnant and asked if I could go to the bathroom on the flight even though we hadn't taken off yet. I went to the bathroom and (sorry if this is TMI), but I was so confused because it was a strange liquid that did not look like urine. At that point, it didn't seem to still be happening so I chalked it up to "I must have peed my pants.. wow I'm that pregnant lady", I cleaned myself up, and went back to sit next to my husband.


I have a cousin that is an OBGYN, Dr. Sa Cara Pride (so thankful for her), so I immediately sent her a text message asking if she knew what could have happened. She said it's normal to have a weak bladder while pregnant and to not worry too much about it and just get home. Honestly, those words are the reason why I didn't get off the plane right then and I am SO glad I didn't. My story would be completely different if I had got off the plane. So about three more bathroom trips and a few hours later, we had finally landed in Nashville. All I could think about was how ready I was to be home. We walk off of the plane and as soon as I hit the ramp, I had another gush happen and this time, it keeps going and it's running down my legs, soaking my orange dress. Terrified, I start running to find the nearest airport bathroom and I start to cry because even though I have no idea what is happening, I DO know that whatever it is, can't be good. My Mom was there to pick us up from the airport (I texted her from the plane when it first happened when I texted my cousin as well), and so when we got to the car and she saw me crying, she knew I wasn't okay. We immediately drove to the hospital and checked into the OB ER.





This part of the story is still very surreal to me. By this point my gut told me that my water had broke, but because I had never heard of this happening so early, I just knew it had to be something else. Waiting to be seen in the ER felt like a nightmare. The nurse came in and was trying to find my baby's heartbeat on the monitor and she couldn't find it. I remember it just being so quiet in the room and my husband and I just looking at each other and then over at the screen and then back at each other. I was so afraid that I had lost my baby. This whole time was probably only about 6 minutes, but it felt like hours. She eventually went to get someone else to try and locate it using a different doppler and they found it. I was only 21 weeks pregnant, so it was just really hard to find the heart rate, but we didn't know that at the time. After that, I explained what happened and I remember everyone's face looked bleak. When you're experiencing something like this, I've learned that the doctors and everyone involved are very "matter of fact" and blunt. I know they probably have to be that way, but it doesn't make it any easier. They told me that they were pretty sure that my water had broken based off of my recollection of events, but they were going to run a test to be 100% sure.


I was crying and praying and praying and crying because it really just did not seem real to me at all. I couldn't believe this was happening! Up until this point, I had a very uneventful pregnancy. All of my doctor's appointments were good, my baby was healthy, and I was healthy. I was in such denial!


Surely, they are going to come back and say "false alarm", you can go home!


When they came back and confirmed that my water had indeed broken, I burst into hysterical tears. This was my first pregnancy and it was my understanding that once your water breaks, the baby is coming shortly after. At 21 weeks pregnant, I knew the odds of my sweet baby surviving were slim to none and of course, they confirmed that for me as well. The very thin silver lining in this situation was that I also found out that your water breaking did not necessarily mean you would also go into labor, but that you would need to be watched closely to make sure an infection doesn't set in.


At midnight on June 14, 2021, my bed rest journey began.


I was immediately admitted to the hospital and given antibiotics and fluids through an IV. I was told that I needed to stay on strict bed rest. This was the end of my "normal pregnancy". No baby shower. No nursery planning. No cute maternity shoot. None of it. I think this was the first time in life that I felt like I had zero control over my situation and it was really hard to accept. I knew God must have had a lesson for me in all of this, but I just couldn't really see it in this moment. I was so broken.

The correct term for what happened to me was Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membrane or PPROM. PPROM occurs when your amniotic sac that is surrounding and protecting your baby ruptures (or breaks open) before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It only occurs in 8-10% of pregnancies. Once the sac ruptures, you have an increased risk of infection and you have a higher chance of having your baby born early. This is why they made me go on bed rest. After three days in the hospital (receiving IV fluids and antibiotics), they sent me home to continue my bed rest there until I reached 24 weeks pregnant. This was because prior to reaching the "point of viability" (which is 24 weeks), if I had gone into labor, there wasn't really anything they could do to save my baby. I am so thankful for my husband and my Mom who made sure I stuck to my strict bed rest at home. It was around this time that I went to my Instagram and shared what was going on, but that was really hard for me to do honestly because I was so scared and honestly didn't know if I would have a healthy baby at the end of this journey or not. I also had some great friends come visit me at home during this time too and that helped to keep my spirits as high as I could get them.


When I was approaching viability, I went to my OBGYN and got two steroid shots (over two days). I was told this would help my baby's lungs to develop as she was at a disadvantage with the lack of amniotic fluid. After the first shot, I passed out in the elevator of my doctor's office, but I ended up being okay! If you ever have to get them or you find yourself in this situation, take my advice and EAT FIRST, lol.


I checked into the hospital for the long haul on June 28, 2021.


I went back to the hospital after reaching 24 weeks (I actually went back when I was like 23 weeks, 5 days) so that if anything were to go wrong, they could jump in and save me and my baby as quickly as possible. For the next six weeks, I laid in the hospital honestly terrified from one day to the next not knowing what was going to happen. It was possible that I could have went into labor at any given time. Before long, I got into a pretty solid routine.



Nurse wakes me up to check my vitals and to place me on the baby monitor to check her heartbeat.


Eat breakfast

8am - 10am

Watch TV/Color on my iPad (Marcus would usually leave for work around this time)


Nurse comes in to check my vitals.

10:30am - 2pm

Watch TV/Color on my iPad/Take a shower

(depending on the day, I'd have an ultrasound scheduled during this time and unlike most Moms, I was hardly ever looking forward to them because I knew they were going to tell me they couldn't really see her due to lack of fluid and that she was measuring small. It was always scary for me because I wanted her to be okay and I never knew if she was or not.)


Nurse comes in to check my vitals. Lunch usually happened around this time too.

2:30pm - 6pm

Watch TV/Color on my iPad (Sometimes I had a visitor or two! My Mom came daily and of course, Marcus came back after work but each day was different)

Between 6pm - 7pm

Visit with my Mom and Marcus, and some days, friends/family who came to see me.

6pm - Midnight

Watch TV/Color on my iPad/Eat Dinner. Nurse comes in to check my vitals, give me my prenatal vitamins, and place me on the baby monitor to check her heartbeat. After this, I'd usually watch a little more TV or just go to sleep.


Nurse comes in to check my vitals.

Midnight - 6am

Try and sleep through the beeping machines and frequent bathroom trips before the nurse comes back again to check my vitals.


Some days, I'd do more than watch TV and color on my iPad. Some days, I'd journal, have extra long talks with God, do crossword puzzles, get on social media, etc. However the point is my routine, for the most part, stayed the same each day and I was getting cabin fever. I got so used to my routine that it all started feeling like a weird normal. Each day that passed, I felt a little more confident that I was going to make it to 34 weeks. I had been told from day one that I would be induced at 34 weeks because at that point, doctors felt it was safer for the baby to continue growing on the outside. So that was my goal! I had a pink board that I updated every week and a calendar that we checked off each day.


One day I looked up, and we had made it to 29 weeks. I couldn't stop thanking God because the growth and development that my baby had done from 21 weeks up to 29 was huge. However, I was praying so hard that she would hold on just 5 more weeks. My friends surprised me with a drive-by baby shower around this time and it honestly was the best thing they could have done for me. I can never express how thankful I am for the tribe of friends/family that supported me during this time and that shower was literally so so so appreciated. Having that made me feel almost ready for a baby! At this point, I started to relax a little bit and felt that we just may make it to the goal the doctors set for me. I remember I posted on Instagram the night before Monroe was born saying how I couldn't believe I was going to meet her next month with such confidence! HA! More like the next day!

(Stay Tuned for Part Two)

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Through Jam's Eyes