Sunday, 29 June 2014

Nicole's Story - Accreta Took My Baby and My Fertility.

This is my story. I have two beautiful children, Tenley 6, Jagger 1 and an angel baby that I have never met physically but I am emotionally bonded to. My two previous pregnancies were normal; I didn’t have any complications but knowing what I know now I wouldn’t have had C-sections. With my first baby I wanted an all natural birth but my amniotic fluid was low and that was a risk, my second baby was a scheduled section because of concern for a rupture. Where I live there is a high percentage of sections as opposed to vaginal births and my practice also doesn’t do a lot of VBAC’s unfortunately.

The morning this nightmare began my daughter woke me up feeling ill, I will say the night before I had some cramping but I figured it was perfectly normal so I went to bed. When I got up to take care of my Tenley she is the one that saw the blood running down my legs. I immediately called my husband which works third shift and he came home. I honestly thought it was a miscarriage. I went in to see my OB that morning and of course he was on call so I couldn’t see him, they gave me a sonogram and said the baby had implanted low and that the heart rate was low. I was probably about six weeks pregnant at this point. I was told that I would probably miscarry and that if I started bleeding anymore that I should go to the ER. I was told to keep my first prenatal appointment that following Tuesday and at that appointment I would see my regular doctor. Of course all weekend long I was nervous that something was going to happen.

That following Tuesday we met with our doctor, I had more blood work and another sonogram. The heart rate was higher so my husband and I were optimistic. Then our world crashed. The doctor came in and gave us the news. He told us I had placenta accreta of course neither one of us ever heard of it. Unfortunately, we were told by every doctor we met with that termination was really the only option, because the baby wouldn’t survive and neither would I. That news was just devastating to us. Then trying to explain it to my six year old was even more difficult. He suggested to us that we meet with a specialist here in our hometown that comes up from Pittsburgh. That appointment of course was a week later so again I fretted all week long.

On that Monday we met with the specialist and he didn’t have anything good to say about our situation. He too said we needed to terminate, he suggested Methotrexate, a cancer drug. I wish I could go back and redo all of this again. At this point I’m about 7 to 8 weeks pregnant and that if I was going to do the injections it needed to be done immediately for it to be effective. Well of course another week goes by and I didn’t get in to the Pittsburgh office until the following week. My husband and I go down that following Monday, and go through the process again, blood work, sonogram, the doctors appointment. When they gave me the sonogram I had the sonographer and a doctor tell me that I wasn’t going to be able to keep this baby. The next doctor I met with was very convincing that the pregnancy wasn’t viable and that I needed to terminate ASAP. She was also very nonchalant about the whole thing and believe me, I asked my questions to her. Those two weeks of hell were exactly that….HELL. My husband I and talked and cried and cried and talked about this and we both decided that we really didn’t have any other choice other then to put our faith in the doctors. The crazy thing I told Jason was that I never felt pregnant like I had previously. I knew exactly when I was pregnant before. I never had a symptom this time.

As those days went by I figured everything was status quo. I never had imagined what would happen next. On March 12, 2014, I left for work like any other day did my kid duties; daycare and school kissed them and figured I would see them later that night. I went to work and it was a horrible fluke snow storm that day. I began bleeding uncontrollably and had to go to the hospital here in my hometown. What I find ironic is that my OB that couldn’t treat my condition is the one that inevitably saved my life that day. I immediately had a sonogram when I got there and I knew something was wrong because the sonographers were being very quiet and talking amongst themselves so I couldn’t hear. So when my doctor came in to see me he was shocked that I was still “pregnant” he immediately called the specialist in Pittsburgh and talked to her about what needed to be done, they decided on a D&C a noninvasive treatment to clean out the tissue. My husband and I decided that was the best treatment for me. I was prepped ready to go and figured I would be waking up and heading home that evening to be with my kids. Now what I heard is obviously coming from my husband but I do remember waking up briefly and hearing my doctor saying she’s bleeding too much we have to go back in. The doctor went rushing out to my husband to sign the consent forms because at that point in a matter of minutes I had lost half my blood volume and was dying on the table. I feel bad that my husband had to make such a hard to decision but it was the only decision he could make. I had to make it for my kids.

I remember waking up and wondering what had happened and that is when Jason told me I needed to have a hysterectomy because it was a matter of life and death. Of course I was so out of it I had no idea how serious it was. I needed a blood transfusion and was in the ICU. To this day I still can’t believe all of this happened. It has been a struggle to deal with all of these emotions, but I am thankful for my husband, my kids, family and friends. I am sad that we will never have any more children but I am beyond blessed with the family that I have today. I hope from my story women with Accreta will do their research and make the best decisions for them and their families. I know I may have not made the right choice but at the time it was the best I could do at the time. Peace & Love.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Tine's story of Percreta and Placenta Previa

 Unbeknownst to me, my third welcomed but unexpected pregnancy would become my last. I had no idea that I was pregnant until the end of July 2013. I had been experiencing many common symptoms of pregnancy that prompted me to take a home pregnancy test, sure enough the results were positive, looking back I was already 14 weeks at this point and was absolutely clueless. A few weeks had passed and I finally was going to my first appointment with a new gynecologist to confirm the pregnancy, I was in for a quite a surprise! 

The doctor initially began by performing a vaginal ultrasound she quickly switched to an abdominal ultrasound after we had seen the size of the fetus. After all measurements were taken the doctor confirmed I was already 18 weeks along. This took me by complete surprise as I only expected to be around ten weeks.   Looking at me with a puzzled look on her face I will never forget her asking "How could you have missed this many periods and not known it?" I replied “I haven't missed any; as a matter of fact I have been bleeding more than usual." This confusion in time would all start to make sense.

Three days after my appointment while working night shift in the ICU as a Registered Nurse I began bleeding heavily. I left work and drove straight to the Emergency Room at the hospital in my hometown. I was absolutely devastated, that 30 minute drive was filled with tears as I was sure I was losing the baby that I had already grown to love. The doctors where able to reassure me that the baby appeared to be just fine, however while checking the condition of the baby they also informed me I had Placenta Previa.

Being that this was my third pregnancy I really wanted to keep the baby’s gender a surprise.  Dealing with the diagnoses of Placenta Previa changed that, knowing I would need a third cesarean, I just wanted to know. I anxiously awaited my 20 week scan; I was scared and excited all at the same time, as I had only began taking prenatal vitamins two weeks prior and was concerned about the baby’s health.
It's a Girl! 

The day was finally here! The sonographer completed the ultrasound, and then asked me to undress further so she could also perform a vaginal exam; this really worried me since I never had to have one with my other pregnancies.

The doctor came in and told us what I was hoping to hear "It's a girl" after which she proceeded to ask how many kids I wanted.
It was right after this question that I was told of what else they had seen on the ultrasound. The doctor also diagnosed me with Placenta Percreta. The next words to come from her "I expect you will survive this but you will need a hysterectomy and will lose part of your bladder." would resonate in my head over the next few days. My husband and I were completely shell shocked!

Even with being a Registered Nurse, I had never heard of this condition, and it was the last thing I could have imagined. In hindsight I am grateful that I didn't find out I was pregnant until 18 weeks, I would have been scarred to death and constantly worrying for my baby.

After the diagnoses of Percreta I had two major bleeds. I was about 21 weeks along when the first happened, I was getting my 3yr old and 2yr old ready for the day and all of a sudden I had the strangest sensation. Blood began gushing out of me and I was immediately admitted to the hospital. This was by far one of the hardest days I have ever been through.
My doctors where frank with me and told me that I was their top priority, if the bleeding would not stop soon they would have to take me to the OR and deliver this baby knowing that they wouldn't be able to save her at only 22 weeks. That thought terrified me, thankfully the bleeding stopped and I was discharged home 4 days later on strict bed rest.

I began to bleed again at 23 weeks and went straight to the hospital. I was then admitted for the duration of my pregnancy, as my doctor put it "Three times and you’re out, or in your case you are in the hospital for good." This was in late September and I would now be calling the hospital home until mid-December. The next 86 days in my home away from home were among what seemed to be the longest days ever. I would spend my sons 2nd birthday and my 34th, as well as Thanksgiving in the hospital.

I had multiple bleeding episodes during my time at the hospital and was placed on a Magnesium drip as well as Nicadapine to stop the contractions; thankfully I never did require any transfusions.

My doctors finally scheduled my delivery for December 12th at 35 weeks. Three days prior to the scheduled delivery date I began bleeding heavily, later that evening around 7p.m. my doctor decided it was time to deliver before I lost any more blood. My husband rushed to the hospital to say goodbye to me. I will never forget the moment when they wheeled me down the hallway away from him; I was terrified to think that I would never see him or my children again.

Lying in the cold trauma operating room didn't help alleviate my fears, my body was shaking while they placed a central line (which they had a hard time placing), an arterial line and the Foley catheter. I was beginning to panic and that’s when they placed the mask over my face and I was out.
Alexis Grace Valkyrie was born after about 30 minutes later. She was whisked away to the NICU and I wouldn't get to see her until almost 24 hours later.

 My surgery lasted about 4 hours. I lost approximately 4.5 liters of blood and required a 15 unit blood transfusion. A hysterectomy was necessary to control the bleeding, while performing the surgery there was accidental damage to my left ureter which needed surgical repair eight weeks later.

This picture was taken in the OR right after they extubated me, I have no memory of this! I would spend the next day and a half in the ICU before I would finally meet my little girl. I am forever grateful that I made it far enough in the pregnancy to have my baby girl survive. I can't even begin to imagine how I would have felt if I had lost her and the ability to have another child.

Christmas all together at last. 
I was discharged one week postpartum with a Nephrostomy tube. Alexis finally came home after 14 days in the NICU right before Christmas. The best gift I could have ever hoped for came true; I was here with my children! It was truly a sight and blessing to see my children gathered under the Christmas tree!

6 Months
Alexis is now 6 months old, happy and healthy as can be. She's grown quite a bit since her initial 5 lbs.

While things most certainly haven't been easy I do appreciate the fact that I was put on this path, it has taught me some important things I hope I will always remember. The things that truly matter: love and the family I have been blessed with no matter how imperfect we may be at times.