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.

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