Friday, 19 September 2014

Counting My Blessings

Christine’s Story
It was a sunny warm spring day.  The birds were chirping and the sun was shining on my face.  As I sat on my porch with my feet up, life seemed so good, but in reality, fear and concern took over any feelings of joy I had over the precious baby that was growing inside me.  At this point, I was home on bedrest after a 24 week major hemorrhage which caused me to almost deliver my son and require the first of several blood transfusions.  The fear was like something I’ve never felt before.  I knew if my baby was born this early his chances of survival were minimal and if he did survive, he would likely have serious complications and I would be left without a uterus since I was diagnosed with Placenta Accreta, never to bear a child again.  Luckily the bleeding subsided and I was sent home on bedrest with a goal of 34 weeks.

This was my third pregnancy and my husband and I both wanted a big family and always talked about having 4 children.  With this pregnancy, I began to experience light bleeding at 6wks.  The bleeding never stopped for the entire pregnancy.  It wasn’t until around my 16th week that they told me I had Complete Placenta Previa.  And during a 20wk ultrasound, I was given the news that I also had a suspected Accreta.  The MFM doctor at that moment looked at me and said “I am very worried about you”.  He went on to explain that I may need a hysterectomy at delivery.  I remember leaving there that day, crying, very emotional over the news that I may need a hysterectomy.  Those feelings quickly diminished after what the next few weeks had in store for me.

Being at home on bedrest didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped.  After 3 more big bleeds at home, my doctor advised me I was at high risk for having a bleed that might not stop the next time. That was enough to scare my husband and me. We immediately made arrangements that I would check into the hospital 2 days later after my MRI apt to confirm the Accreta. I was admitted into the hospital at 27 weeks pregnant on April 17th. My mother took me and I cried the whole time while getting admitted. The day was a beautiful 70 degree sunny day. I dreaded going into the hospital, I just wanted to be home on bedrest so I can enjoy eating dinner with my 2 kids and just being home and sitting outside. I felt like I was turning myself into jail by admitting myself into the hospital. But the very next day of being there, I had another bleed which required another unit of blood. I then felt our decision was the best thing we did.

Around this time, my feelings quickly changed, I no longer was upset about a possible hysterectomy at delivery, I was now praying and hoping I would remain pregnant as long as I could.  Everyday was another milestone for me.  My doctor would often remind me that after this baby, I would have three children and that I needed to be alive for them so they would have a mother.  I needed to do whatever it was even if it meant taking my uterus out to save my life.

After 4 weeks of hospital bedrest and 13 major hemorrhages, doctors feared I would be faced with an emergency surgery possibly in the middle of the night (since most of my bleeds occurred then) and the proper people would not be available.  So, the decision to move my surgery up to 31 weeks 6 days was made.  The date was May 17th 2013 at 1:30pm.  They decided to schedule my c section in the Main OR of the hospital instead of Labor and Delivery.  They knew my surgery was going to be complicated and would rather the surgery take place there.  I was suppose to have balloon catheters put in to control bleeding but, we never got a chance to do that. The morning of May 17th, I experienced some mild contractions.  Looking back, I am wondering if these were caused by my nerves or anxiousness about surgery.  It just seems so coincidental that my body would start laboring the morning of my planned surgery.  After a few hours passed, I began to hemorrhage.  I buzzed the nurse call button and within minutes we had a full blown emergency in my room.  I was able to call my hubby and parents to have them come to the hospital immediately.  My exact words were ”Come now, I’m bleeding and it’s not stopping” and I hung up on them.  My mother who worked on the maternity unit for 28 years at a hospital knew how dangerous my situation was and prayed the rosary the whole way to the hospital.

I began to hemorrhage profusely and the blood was not stopping.  My nurses and Doctor ran my bed from the High Risk unit all the way down the hall to Labor and Delivery unit as I was starting to get very lightheaded.  They immediately started to transfuse me.   During surgery, my body temperature dropped to 94 degrees and blood pressure dropped to 34/16.  My uterus was ruptured and surgery went on for 4 hours in which I had my uterus and cervix removed, bladder repaired and 22 units of blood administered. My estimated blood loss was 4.5 liters. 
After surgery, I awoke in the ICU unit.  I remained there for the next 24hrs.

I quickly started to recover and was released from the hospital 5 days later.Baby Joey remained in the NICU for another 6 wks.  He was discharged June 28th, 2013 weighing 4lbs 9oz.

Everything I went thru really made me realize that life can be short and just enjoy life’s little blessings.  Everyday, I Count those Blessings.  Although, I can never bear another child, I am so grateful I am here today to be a “mom” to my 3 precious children.
During this pregnancy, I kept an online journal capturing my journey thru this stressful, fearful, hopeful and all worth it pregnancy.

Our Blessing Baby Joey, 3lbs 10oz
Joey 16 months

Joey now 16 Months on.

Johnny 5, Joey 16mths, Laci 6
Below is a link to the article written by Saint Peter's University Hospital.

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