Doctors Told Her to Abort When Her Water Broke at 21 Weeks—But This Mom Believed In Miracles

Mom Keri Barcellos-Putt already had two boys when she became pregnant with her third child—a girl. But her joy at her third pregnancy turned to fear and shock when her water broke at just 21 weeks. In a photo she posted to the Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook page, Barcellos-Putt explains the heart-wrenching circumstances surrounding her 3rd child as her life hung in the balance. She says:

“This was me and my girl today. Our first time as well! She is 4 weeks today. Born at 28 weeks. Water broke at 21 weeks and the only option doctors gave me was termination of the pregnancy. 2 weeks of home bedrest and 5 weeks of hospital bedrest later she was born via emergency c-section due to placental abruption. Doctors still thought she wouldn’t survive because she had no water for her lungs to develop. She’s here and so healthy. Never needed oxygen. 32 weeks gestation and trying to breastfeed even though they told me she wouldn’t be able to until 34-36 weeks gestation. She’s proving everyone one wrong!”

preemie nursing
Keri Barcellos-Putt via Breastfeeding Mama Talk on Facebook

Did you catch that? This darling girl you see here nursing from her mama’s breast? Doctors told her mom at 21 weeks that her only option was to abort her baby. But Keri was determined to give her daughter every chance she possible could. She started by doing research on the condition that caused her water to break, preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM).

“I did my own research and found a PPROM regimen that I followed to a T,” Keri told The Huffington Post. “On the first day of spring, they agreed to admit me for the duration of the pregnancy. I received two rounds of steroids to assist in lung development and two rounds of magnesium for neuro-protection.” Keri was able to prolong her pregnancy by 7 more weeks, 2 weeks of bedrest at home, and 5 more weeks of bedrest in the hospital. She gave birth to Dahlia via emergency C-section due to placental abruption at 28 weeks. Her darling girl weighed two pounds, five ounces—and HUGELY exceeded doctor’s expectations of her health. She NEVER even needed oxygen, which is truly miraculous for a baby in her situation.

Breastfeeding Dahlia has been a wonderful blessing to Keri. She says, “I knew it could only benefit her, so I pushed for it. On the four-week anniversary of her birth, I was allowed to put Dahlia to my breast for the first time and she did great.”

Dahlia
Keri Barcellos-Putt

She also says being able to nurse Dahlia has allayed some of that ever-present mom guilt over her premature birth. “Throughout this whole process I’ve blamed myself and felt like my body failed Dahlia, so although everything is still out of my hands, I feel like I have some control over her nutrition,” Keri explained.

Keri Barcellos-Putt
Keri Barcellos-Putt

Dahlia’s story is SO inspiring! I’m so thankful she held out hope and fought for LIFE for her miracle baby! I know God must have a truly amazing plan for little Dahlia’s life.


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.