"Worry is a dome that has descended over you and trapped you. This is your life now. This is your world." Katherine Heiny was 26 weeks pregnant when the membranes holding her baby ruptured. Half of women with Heiny's condition—pPROM—go into labor within 48 hours; half of women who give birth at 26 weeks see their baby die. Only 1% of women with pPROM carry the baby to term. Heiny didn't want to hear the odds. "This baby was not coming early. I simply wouldn’t allow it," the author writes of her harrowing ordeal in the Guardian
. Heiny spent the next 88 days on bed rest—30 of them in the hospital—attempting to prevent labor, all the while knowing her unborn baby was at serious risk for an infection that could kill it or leave it with lifelong disabilities.
"The first night was longer than I would have believed possible," writes Heiny, who had to stay on her side with her head lower than her feet. She also discovered bedpans that first night. "Two hours ago you were an upright person with a little dignity, and now you’re not," she writes. Heiny read books endlessly to keep her panic at bay but didn't retain them for the most part and eventually stopped pretending to do even that. "I knew nothing but my belly and the endless waiting. Time had softened and stretched like taffy, pulling itself into long, gooey ribbons," she writes. After nearly three months in bed, Heiny gave birth to a healthy baby, who is now a teenage boy. She beat the odds. Read her full story here to find out why 88 days of bed rest was one of those rare experiences that "transform your view of the world and yourself"—and why she sometimes misses it. (Read more Longform stories.)