My last post, was rather scary. I went over in detail what it was like for me to hemorrhage during pregnancy and endure the scare of thinking you might be miscarrying, dying or in between either of those results.
After which incident, I was advised full bed rest to slow the bleed… which worked. I know it doesn’t always work, and I am so grateful that for me, this was the case. 10 days later I had a visit and ultrasound with my OB, and he said things are healing, placenta looks well attached, but we need to schedule a visit with a maternal internal specialist to check for a condition called “accreta” (ah-kreet-ah). Knowing that my placenta was attached firmly to my previous (4x) c-section scar, which is a thinner tissue than the rest of the uterus, there is a high possibility that the placenta could actually grow past the uterine wall and invade other organs, attaching itself to anything it can.
If this accreta happens, it causes major complications at delivery. The baby will continue to grow fine, and chances your placenta will detach are actually smaller when this happens, simply because it has become attached to your BODY. But—- you can see how at delivery, the placenta cannot simply detach and be delivered normally. When accreta goes undetected/diagnosed, and delivery occurs with all the other stresses of labor, the doctors will try to deliver the placenta and if they try to force it at all, you can see, how if its attached to the woman’s body- not just the uterine lining like normal, it causes hemorrhages and internal bleeding that can be very bad.
So we agreed to have this appointment. They also said that at this appointment with the specialist, we’d be able to see the baby more clearly and really find if the baby has any issues of the brain/heart/structures of healthy living.
The time in between the ER bleeding moments of deep emotional distress and finding out the baby was ok and looking forward to this appointment, were some of the longest days of my life.
I had many friends and family offering help. So many coming into my home to clean, make meals, entertain my toddler, help with homework for the older ones, and just chat with me to keep my mind off the scenarios that would often creep into my thinking. “Is my baby really ok? What if the placenta is ripping and I don’t even know it?! Is the hemorrhage healing or spreading? How much did that ER visit cost? What is the specialist going to cost? I still have so far to go before this baby can even be born if I bleed bad again………” etc etc etc. ALL the efforts to help were SO appreciated and meant very much to me and my husband.
THANK YOU to all who have helped so far and are offering prayers for our family and baby!
I am so grateful to my kids’ teachers. My wise mother advised me to email all my kids’ teachers and explain what is going on. Best idea ever! And they all emailed me back with supportive responses and I have seen the evidence that they are getting the support they need at school as well as mercy for a few unsigned papers or assignments that needed parental support that went partially undone or was a little late. THANK YOU to those teachers who are willing to help out from the outside! That alone was a HUGE burden and guilt lifted off of me.
Before I go on- I have to make this point:
THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD IN THIS WORLD.
So much. People are inherently GOOD. People WANT to do good. People desire to LIVE and to thrive, and to make some sort of impact in the lives of others. There ARE some evil people out there, and many of the things they do affect families and large numbers of people. But the majority? Are GOOD, and helpful, and compassionate souls. People who DO want to help where they can.
Ok- back to the progress.
After that appointment with my OB where I learned the bed rest did its job, and the baby was thriving and my body was healing and I could jump to modified bed rest I was ELATED! So much had happened in just 10 days! I KNOW without a doubt that it was the prayers and faith and help that allowed all of that to happen SO fast. And I was able to stay upbeat and positive and feel supported through it all. I was reminded by a friend I’ve never met (technology is so cool- yes- I’ll say it over and over again) who is following me and my posts and blog, that I went into this pregnancy, which has proved to be miraculous from conception, with faith that God knows what I can handle and knows this baby. And He knows what we will go through. It is all in His hands. Thank you dear friend!! (See that post here)
4 days later we met with the internal specialist.
My husband and I went in with full confidence that this would be a positive experience, and that the chances of accreta would likely be slim, since the other 4 ultrasounds we’ve had didn’t show any glaring signs of it, according to the ultrasound techs we’ve seen who we mentioned it to.
Well…. they told us that the equipment that this particular office has procured was better than what “regular” OB ultrasound techs use. And they were RIGHT. That picture of inside my uterus was so clear is was a bit startling. (Sh… don’t tell… but my medically sensitive (is that a thing?) spouse was rather pale the entire visit as we talked about what was going on inside of me, seeing it, and discussing it…. and then talking surgery, etc I almost asked the nurse for some juice for him…..)
Even *I* could see that the uterine lining looked different at the c-section scar site, and basically was non-existent. We could zoom in and SEE as I breathed, where the uterine lining would not move with the outer lining of my stomach skin/muscle. We could SEE that there were blood vessels starting to cross the uterine lining at the scar site where the placenta was growing thickly. It was crazy.
Before the doctor even mentioned our options, I knew. I knew I had accreta of the placenta. And my hopes of just really not having more complications with this pregnancy quickly dissolved. I had read up on accreta and its no joke. It is a life threatening, many times life altering condition. I’m not sugar coating anything. The survival rate is not 100%. The rate of having complications from the surgery after delivering a baby and detaching the placenta from the body carefully isn’t way way low. The rate of carrying your baby past 34 weeks is slim. Any pre-term labor, without a good accreta team on hand is life threatening. Any large bleeding or hemorrhaging threatening the mother’s life, that causes the baby to need to be delivered quickly, without an accreta team on hand is extremely life threatening for both mom and baby.
Our doctor was fabulous.
He could see my mind working and picked up on it, and asked me point blank, “What do you know about accreta already? What have you googled and read up on?”
He is by FAR the best doctor I have ever dealt with for such a serious and crazy diagnoses.
He just listened patiently, validating my efforts, and agreeing with my correct assessments, and asking me intelligent questions about it without any hint of condescension or sarcasm. (I’ve had both from doctors in my past, when I try to explain what I know about something…)
Then the bomb came.
“Well, you do indeed have some accreta going on here. Since you are barely half way in your pregnancy, this is a good thing and a complicated thing. Good because we are way ahead of the game. We can plan and document, and have you monitored closely so that when delivery comes, we will be uber prepared for worst case scenarios. This is SO good. The complicated part…. is that you are barely half way, and the placenta has lots of time to continue to grow. We HOPE it doesn’t invade other organs of your body and complicate the surgery at delivery more. BUT—– that is completely unknown, and may or may not happen. I can see some placental blood vessels already incredibly close to your bladder wall, so we will watch that closely. Will you be open to the idea of a hysterectomy? (When I said, yes to that, you could see the relief in his eyes…. experienced eyes…..I could sense that saving the uterus is a laborious process in and of itself and that a hysterectomy simplifies things a bit.)
“I also suggest that you meet with the accreta team closest to you, which is the University of Utah Hospital team in Salt Lake City. They have trained people HERE, in Idaho, but they are not a dedicated team. So if you go into a pre-term labor either from early labor or from a bad bleed again, they would have to scramble to get everyone needed in the room at the right time to successfully delivery you and detach the placenta and do any reconstructive surgery. If you had time- they would most likely life flight you down to the UofU hospital ANYWAY, with known accreta.
“The last thing we want to have happen, is a scramble. Thats when success ratios plummet. When we can PLAN, have ongoing monitoring, and a team is ready, and the delivery is PLANNED, I happen to know that the UofU team has a 100% success rate with planned accreta deliveries. You see, in this situation, we like to PLAN for the worst case scenario… that way, if things just keep looking good- and it all goes down without a hitch, then high fives all around!
Since you have an ongoing bleed, I would highly suggest you plan to relocate to Salt Lake City after about 28 weeks and stay there until you deliver around 32-34 weeks. Then you’ll be right there for your premie baby to have excellent care as well.”
——————-eeertttttt——— “WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA————–> (I actually held up my finger and SAID that word 4-5 times…) You mean, like MOVE? Like LIVE there? Like for 2 months? Do people really DO THAT?”
And the rest of the visit was talking through my sudden realization of the seriousness of this. Talking through WHY people do in fact, most of the time, DO THAT and how to go about it. Talking options and finances and wow.
My husband I could tell… was blown away. Far away.
The appointment ended with us making arrangements to meet with the accreta team in SLC and having them do an ultrasound and consultation to see if they feel they need to take over my care now, or later. But inevitably, I should plan to deliver in Utah, and stay there to recover and nurture my NICU baby.
I was given thumbs up for my personal health. My blood work is perfect, my body is strong, and my baby is also strong- showing perfect growth patterns and a fighting spirit.
Cue the tears.
As I came home and tried to further process all of this…… I cried, and tried to decompress. My poor husband went to a full day of work- heavily distracted. After the elation from our visit just 4 days earlier, learning we’d likely NOT be at risk to lose the pregnancy—- to learning that I wouldn’t be home for the Holidays…. and that I wouldn’t even be home to have this baby…. and that I should PLAN for a NICU baby…. I was overwhelmed. My husband even more so I believe. Wondering about the money, insurance changes coming at the new year, and most of all worried for me and my safety and the stability of our family for the next 4 months.
I don’t know what will play out in the end.
I have our appointment set to meet the UofU accreta team doctor early in November, once the baby is at an age of viability, to have them assess me and we’ll go from there.
Until then, I am pleased to know that the hemorrhage from just 2 weeks ago is healing – slow bleeding still- and even modified bed rest is HARD…. so hard mentally to not be able to just go to the store, or travel for that important family thing, or pick up my toddler when he scrapes his knees or scrub the freaking toilets when they stink! And also I rest easier knowing that the risk that I’ll lose the baby is more and more slim as the days go on.
Of course…. my brain wants to try and dwell on the %ages that DON’T come out of this well….. but I can’t. I KNOW that no matter what happens, we’ve made with this far and we’ll fight for and PLAN for a good outcome.
It was a joy to see the 3D images of our little girl… she is perfect. All her toes… fingers…. eye lids… ears. So CLEAR! Her cute profile and button nose…
I’ll repeat myself from that earlier post when we first set eyes on the little bouncing gummy bear at 11 weeks (so much has happened in the last 10 weeks!):
“I feel a deep sense of gratitude that I get to experience pregnancy this last time. With a different perspective.
I get to be WITNESS—– in the most REAL way—– of a literal MIRACLE.
I KNOW that God is REAL. I know He knows me. I KNOW He knows this baby. I KNOW that He knows my family and our needs and our struggles. And through Him whatever happens, will be for our good.”
Onward and upward! You CAN change your thoughts, your life, your habits, your dreams. ALWAYS. There is ALWAYS hope for joy and happiness in your life if you believe it.