I left off in THIS POST from the End of November 2016–
Our story continues with our anticipation for our next appointment down in Salt Lake City, at the UofUHospital with the Accreta team on Dec 21st.
December was a rather emotional month… honestly, thats how I think of it.
It was LONG, and the weather didn’t help at all. It was snowy and overcast and very cold. We had the coldest December we’ve had in 10 years. We had more snow than we’ve had in 8 years. And I missed all the family parties, and our traditions had to be put on hold as well. I was getting bigger, and the pressure in my pelvis was very apparent with each move.
Thank goodness for online Shopping! 🙂 Amazon Prime and my Target RedCard were by best friends! I got our Christmas shopping done early- told the kids that every box that came to the door from Amazon or Target was part of the “Expedited Gifts club” that Santa had started to save time. 😀 They were SO excited that I was part of this club, so they could see how big their presents were before Christmas. lol! I love kids.
One thing I learned through these long months… was the absolute magic of childhood, and how being a mother keeps magic in your life. Watching my kids more closely than I had in years was a blessing in the midst of all of this. See? More answered prayers. I had been praying BEFORE all of this drama to be able to connect with my kids more…well… this was definitely a way to do that!
I had time to watch them interact with each other (and gain insight into what I needed to do better as a parent) and how they played alone, and to sit and do homework without any agenda. I had no where to go, and it became fun to read a lot more together and to have little chats a various times in the week. The kids also learned to serve more. They helped with dinners. They helped with the shopping. They helped keep the house clean. They rubbed my feet. They tried their hardest to be good and stay healthy. I treasure the emptiness of my schedule during this time. I didn’t like it at first- but as the time went on, I learned to like it. 😀
The day of the appointment arrived, and as before, I was a ball of nerves going down. This time, we decided to take the kids to my mom’s house to stay for the day of our Appointment. They were out of school, and needing some fun in their lives, and my mom offered to take them for a day of fun while we spend time alone in Salt Lake City. SHE IS AN ABSOLUTE GEM that woman. The kids had a blast!
Meanwhile, my hubs and I drove to our appointment. We got there early, so we decided to go and tour the NICU unit. Those ladies…. are GEMS. Wow. If you want to be impressed with nurses and a NICU unit- go to the UofUHospital. I told the ladies I was an Accreta patient- and they all knew EXACTLY what I was talking about. (the nurses in Idaho were always like, “whats that??” ya… it was very refreshing and confidence building to know my baby’s care providers KNEW what was goin’ on!) We talked about what to expect, how the delivery would go and it was GREAT to do that. We learned that almost all Accreta babies are not breathing when they come out- due to the anesthesia. Good to know! We learned that the NICU team would be completely prepared the next morning, and that our baby would be in amazing care, and that my husband would be as active in her care as he wanted to be.
The baby was measuring 8 days ahead of schedule, which was great, and looked to be strong and healthy! I was relieved. I always felt stress before every ultrasound… which was often. I didn’t want to hear anything new to add to the complication list… I just wanted to see progress toward a positive delivery day. After the ultrasound, we were again led to the consult room with the special table and kleenex’s (read my previous POST to understand the significance of this room) and awaited our surgeon’s entrance.
He came in this time, obviously on a schedule. Like I said before in my previous post- this man not your “best friend” type. And this time, he was visibly on edge. He was not rude, just more direct and less relaxed than last time. It turns out, that he had an Accreta patient start bleeding that morning and was just hours from doing the same surgery I was going to need. He had looked over my ultrasounds and notes from my OB in Idaho and said,
“Well…. nothing is worse… just bigger. I have looked at thousands of these, and done surgery on hundreds, and I really feel that a hysterectomy is going to be the best to give you the best outcome in your delivery. I’m sorry. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is a pretty small Accreta, and the uterus can easily be saved without much blood loss and we don’t suspect any organs are affected by the growth- to a 10, where MANY organs are easily seen to be affected and the placenta is large and vascular on all surfaces and just causing a mess—- yours is right in the middle. If we attempt to save your uterus, it will likely be a long process and your blood loss will be significantly more than it already will be. I know that this was your last planned baby- but a csection hysterectomy- or C-Hyst, is involved, and your recovery will not be fun or fast. I think we need to plan to delivery your baby around 34 weeks, get your baby steroid prepped a week before our surgery week, and go from there. Any questions?”
So thats it.
The plan we hoped for (as scary as it was- it really was the best scenario I had read of) was the reality we were choosing. A 6 week early baby, and a major abdominal surgery for me to have her and preserve my life. I asked the surgeon how the procedure would go- who would be there, what would happen to the baby, what would my scarring be like, etc. He explained that the oncologist leads the procedure- and the type of incision depends on what they see and how they feel from the ultrasounds. He said mine would likely be (from his previous experience) a line from above the belly button to the pubic bone, and they would cut through the placenta quickly and get the baby as soon as possible so baby wouldn’t be under general anesthesia- then go as fast as they can to detach the entire uterus and remove it without messing too much with the Accreta to prevent me from bleeding too much. But even with how fast they would want to do- there are so many things that can change. Once they get in there, it might appear worse and the plan would change. If the placenta had attached to any organs, reconstruction would have to happen as well.
“Sounds good!” was all I could reply.
He nodded his head, and we shook hands and he said he’d give me a call within 24 hours with a surgery date. And that is exactly what happened.
The hospital called and January 12th was the day. My mom’s birthday. 🙂
We had a date! We had a DAY that all of this would come to a head! We had a date that we could tell people. We had the DAY our daughter would be born. A new anxiety took over… now to endure the that day.
Christmas was a week of mixed emotions. I was happy to see family, but I was very distracted with staying well, staying stable, and just making it to January. Many family members were ill, and we didn’t see many of them that we had wanted to. 🙁 Some family members came from across the country and we had to turn them away from visiting due to sickness. I felt so much guilt. I felt like such a burden through this time. SO many people changing schedules and trying to help us feel a part of something… but we just couldn’t budge on our need to stay healthy.
You know- Another lesson I learned during this time, was the affect that long term illness has on a family and on the individual. I attended two large gatherings during this time. One with people I knew really well, and one with people I didn’t know at all. Surprisingly enough, the gathering I attended with hundreds of people I knew, was the less enjoyable event. Only 3. Not kidding. Only THREE people stopped to say hello and ask how I was doing and chat for a bit. I couldn’t get up and walk around to socialize, you see. But I KNEW these people. They knew I hadn’t been out for months. They KNEW I hadn’t been able to do anything fun or socialize… and yet they didn’t take the time to talk to me. It was like they were afraid. I saw people glance sideways at me while walking by. Some waved and kept walking. Some made eye contact and then hurry and glanced away suddenly interested in something across the room. I was honestly sad. I had looked forward to this gathering. I thought I’d see some friends and be able to visit after so many weeks with no adults to chat with. But they were uncomfortable. It was like I was delicate… or sick, and they didn’t know what to say or how to act, so they just stayed away. It opened my eyes in a BIG way.
Friends…… please sit with that one person at a social gathering that is alone. PLEASE visit with them. Does it make any sense to you that they would make the effort to be there, in their condition, if they wanted to just sit and be alone like they are at home???? Think on that. I went home and cried. It was a complete let down. I had done my hair and makeup and really gotten excited about this event, and after 1.5 hours of enduring it, I asked my husband to take me home. He even mentioned that he noticed while getting our kids food and visiting with others around the room, that no one came and chatted with me. He said he was surprised too.
The other gathering?? We knew no one there personally- it was a city event, and it was super fun. Why? Because everyone smiled at me, and greeted me and chatted about the kids and we just had a great time. They didn’t know that this was my last outing before delivery day. They didn’t know how much their smiles and interactions helped make me feel normal and feel the Christmas spirit. It was wonderful. Kind of makes you think about those you might know who have a long term illness, doesn’t it? Do you visit them? Do you take the effort to invite them to gatherings and offer a ride? Do you stay close and make sure to include them? Just something that I had the chance to learn and note in my trial.
Fast forward to after Christmas. I put forth my best effort to get ready and dolled up for some Family photos the day after Christmas-and I was exhausted from it. But it was good. I enjoyed the extended family and it was a great few hours.
Dec 27th. My 14th anniversary…. well… my husband worked, and I got my first steroid shot. The shots are to speed the maturity of the lunch and intestinal linings. This steroid preparation is proven to help preemie babies to breathe on their own faster, and be able to tolerate digestion and not get infections in the bowels, which is common for underdeveloped intestines. I was tired, and big, and well…. it was just a lame day. Dec 28th was not much better. I got my second shot, and my first Non-Stress TEST or NST to see how the baby does with heart rate and oxygen flow as they move- mostly to rule out any anemia in the baby or other difficulties getting regular oxygen. Our NST was perfect. 🙂
The first week of January I mostly distracted myself with getting baby stuff ready. I was emotional every day. My husband was distracted…. and the kids’ were too.
Every hug from my kids caused me to tear up. Every moment seemed to be more precious. Everything was in slow motion. I posted in social media daily about our progress, and little things kept happening that was preparing me for what was going to happen. Letting me know that God was near, and even family members that had passed. So many special and sacred moments happened in these last weeks. I keep most of them to myself- but some I did publish to the world with great return. I know that many friends and family have been praying for us through this- and i felt their prayers in a big way. I literally could feel their strength. It was something I will NEVER forget. And little things that just didn’t make sense…. kept happening. Financially, little miracles kept popping up, despite some unfortunate matters. Example- our newer car- completely broke down 4 days before Christmas. Needed $3K in repair. Say what?!?!!? But through a series of fortunate events…. that cost was COVERED. Our garage door broke two days before we were to leave. Totally broke. We couldn’t open it. The garage door guys helped us fix it for under $200. What? And my coaching business…. that I couldn’t work more than a few hours a week on… was thriving. I even qualified for a company profits bonus that would pay out the week we were delivering. The week my husband had to take off an entire week of work…. and my bonus completely covered our mortgage and utilities and cell bill. The bills were PAID for January even thought my spouse had missed 2 weeks of work in December, and would miss a week in January.
You know that scripture in Malachi? Where the Lord says that if you give him 10% of your increase- he’s talking about Tithes and Offerings- that he will pour out blessings upon you insomuch that you won’t have room enough to receive them? And he asks us to PROVE HIM… to just TRY IT and see! Well, we are tithe payers, and I have to believe that these many blessings financially were part of that promise. I know the prayers and fasting and faith of many others also helped us through this time- but this scripture promise came to my mind MANY times as things like this kept happening over these many months. GOD IS REAL.
January 11. The day had come. We needed to check in the day before surgery. We had our baby sitter schedule set up- food was shopped for. We were ready.
We said good bye to our kids that morning as they headed to school at 7:30am. My 7 yr old son cried the whole way, and I was strong until I saw his tears. Then I broke down too. Hardest morning ever. Would I come back changed? When would I be back? Too much. It was too much to think about. I had to just move forward.
We took our toddler to my dear sister, Maren’s house, and off we went. It was a longer than normal drive, since there was a winter storm warning in effect, and we did, in fact drive through quite the storm getting from Idaho into Utah. It was a quiet drive. We both felt the weight of all of these months… the memories… the anticipation was just HEAVY. We didnt’ eat much. We just held hands and endured.
We arrived at the hospital at 4:30pm. My stomach was just churning with worry and stress and anxiety.
We walked down the hall until we saw “Women’s Special Care” and we checked in.
“Robyn Whitworth- antepartum, Accreta patient. Room 2301.”
Orders were put in to prep me for early morning surgery. Large sized IV’s were placed, one in each arm. My blood was taken 3 times for 3 different reasons. Many vials were filled. I was being matched for blood transfusion, I was being tested for antibodies and Hematocrit levels, I was being tested for any infection and etc etc etc.
My dear mom arrived shortly after we did, and my in-laws later that night. We laughed and talked and had some of my favorite food from PFChangs. I cried as I realized this was my last few hours being pregnant. Pregnancy is precious. I held my belly and thanked God for my body… my miraculous body that had been through SO much to bring me this baby and to bring us to this moment….
7am arrived, and a nurse came in and said,
“They are ready for you in the OR holding area. Ready to go?”
“Yes. I am ready. Let’s do this!”
I was rolled to the holding area. This was the most nerve wracking time of the whole ordeal. Each member of the team, except the two head surgeons, surprisingly, came and greeted me and told me what their part in the surgery would be. I met 12 people in 30 minutes. Only a few faces I would recognize later. My husband stood by my side, and my mom showed up during this time as well after going to a friends’ for the night. It was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears. I was scared.
I was scared.
This is was nightmares are made of. Knowing you are going to get cut open. Knowing the risks. Knowing that no matter what happens…. nothing will be the same after this. All the risks………
7:30am came and I was told to kiss my husband good bye.
I wanted to be strong. I kept telling myself- “Its going to be ok. I’ll see him in a few hours… we’ve talked enough… I don’t want to make a scene for him…. stay strong….” And I did. I only shed 2 tears that morning. The nurse at my head even mentioned, “Wow. You are holding it together nicely my dear. I know what you are about to have done, and most women are not holding it together as well as you. You are a brave lady.”
After that moment I kind of froze. I went into silly Robyn mode. If I joke about things… I distract myself from the harsh reality. So I joked with the nurses who were sizing me up for a catheter. I joked with the people who lifted me on to that OR table under those HUGE lights. I joked that they should put stickers of happy faces or flowers on the lights and ceiling to help patients be distracted… they all agreed. Of course they should. 🙂 I could see the blood transfusion team. I could see the surgery instruments all laid out. I was in a LARGE OR. There were at least 16-20 people in there with me. I was starting to get cold. The anesthesiologist near my head said that they were getting ready to help me relax before the full anesthesia took over, and to breathe into the mask…….. “Dear Heavenly Father, I ask thee to please help my body do well. Please help my baby to do well. Please help my husband to endure whatever comes. Help these doctors to be steady and true……….”
“Robyn…………Robyn?……. Honey- are you awake?………..”
PAIN…….. PAIN!!!!!!!!!!! PAIN….. PAIN> PAIN.
“OWIE!!!! OWIE”! Shaking my head back and forth furiously…..”OWIE…. it hurts SO BAD. I need to pee SO bad. Why does it feel that way??? “OWIE!!!! OWIE!!!!”
“Calm down sweety- we are getting you medicine right now.”
“It hurts. It hurts so bad!!!! Why do I need to pee????” I can feel the O2 tubes in my nose…
“Your medicine is coming… we’ll drain your catheter…. there you go…. here is a button to push… feel it in your hand? Push it as often as you need pain medicine. This is a morphine drip…”
PUSH PUSH PUSH PUSH.
Waives of loopy feelings wash over me each time. I HATE narcotics. I HATE morphine.
“WHERE IS MY BABY?!?!? Can I see her? How did she do???!!!”
“She is ok. Your husband is with her. You’ll see her soon……..”
HOURS of pain management. It HURT SO BAD> I have NEVER experienced pain like that. NEVER. I have never ENDURED pain like that. EVERYTHING from my chest to my thighs was constantly in a state of tense pain for HOURS. My throat… my throat was dry and sore from the breathing tube.
Over the course of the day, I learned that my surgery was only 3.5 hours. I was told it would be somewhere between 4-6, and sometimes longer if there are problems. I learned that my baby, my Audree Sissa Whitworth was a champ. She was 5lbs 9oz and 17.5 inches long. Great size for 34 weeks!
That helped my heart be happy. But I wanted to SEE her! My husband took videos and photos for me-but it was not enough. I wanted to HOLD my baby! I wanted to smell her. I wanted to SEE her toes and fingers and ears. It was horrible to go into surgery pregnant, and to come out not-pregnant and not be able to see your baby. HORRIBLE. Accreta is a BEAST. The battle wasn’t over…. that was apparent, and sobering.
The nurses said that my baby was doing so well, she didn’t need to be in the NICU, and as soon as a bed was available in the ICN (intermediate care nursery) they would transfer her there. The only problem… the ICN was in another wing of the hospital…. but for now, I just wanted to see and hold my baby!
My mom helped me eat a bit, spoon feeding me for that first day. My husband would step out every 3 hours to feed our baby and then update me on her progress. It was a blur of a day. So much pain. So much unknown. What had happened during the surgery? What was it like? What exactly did they do to me? What does my incision look like? I can feel the staples…….. and what is my baby going through??
Jan 13. I was DETERMINED to see my baby. So they packed me up in a wheel chair, and I’ll admit, I wondered if I could do it. I felt HORRIBLE. So much pain, and fatigue. I could see in the mirror I was green….. But I needed to see her. I needed that closure to this journey.
We got to the NICU, and my hubby wheeled me in. Her bed was so high I couldn’t see her and I wanted to cry. I was so nauseated. I was so crushed that I couldn’t HOLD her. She was still attached to machines for monitoring and temperature… and they wouldn’t reach to my wheelchair. The nurse lifted her up so I could see her and I stretched my arm as far as I could- IV’s burning- to just TOUCH her. My baby. My precious miracle. I was so weak. I hate feeling weak. But I had to go back to my bed. I was not doing well. I could feel it. I cried on the way back to my room. What a pitiful first meeting. That was NOT good enough.
Later that night I found out that they moved her to the ICN, which was in another WING of the hospital. So the wheelchair journey there was REALLY long. I PRAYED to God that somehow I could hold her and see my BABY. PLEASE!
In walks the Social Worker, who said, “I am here to be your advocate! Is there ANYTHING- and I mean ANYTHING that you need? Anything that you would like to change?”
And I knew I had to be brave and speak up.
“YES. I want to hold my baby. Is that so much to ask? I just want to HOLD HER! I also have been having my pain medications regularly delayed. This is not awesome. I have to catch up on my meds every time, and I just don’t think its too much to ask, to have your pain meds on time. you know?”
She said, “I can change both of those for you. I’ll go see what I can do right now, and I’ll report what I find.”
Two hours later, they were transferring me from “Women’s Special Care” to the regular Maternity floor, just 3 doors down from the ICN! I was stoked. AND I was told that the attending nurse was made aware of my late pain medicines being given and was making note of it, and it should be better from then on.
Later that night I was feeling strong, and wanted to go see my baby and HOLD her!
So off we went in the wheel chair. I was strong for my girl!!! I was hurting… boy was I hurting.
But I DID IT. I finally got to HOLD MY BABY.A moment I hope I never forget. Her soft hair… her warm pink skin…. the feeding tube, the monitors…. the newborn smell. She honestly didnt’ look much like my other babies at this point, and she was so small and had a head FULL of dark black hair… and with having neither my husband nor myself present at delivery—– I have to admit, I wondered if there was a possibility that this wasn’t my baby. Call me crazy—- but the feeling was real and it started to bother me a lot. I loved on that baby. Our wrist band #’s matched…. they said she was mine… but it was just weird.
Mom had gone home the day before, as had my inlaws. And in came my dear sister, Maren. Now Maren—- was instrumental in my recovery. You see, she is amazing and intuitive and a true warrior for life and health. She took these traits to the next level, by becoming a trained Doula, and practices here in Idaho. I didn’t specifically ask her to practice her doula skills while attending me here, but I asked her to come and support me if she could make time. I knew I’d need some support to help me while my husband was running back and forth from me to the baby- and she offered to come for a few days. But the few days she was there….. became the most trying of them, and it was good she was the one to be there for me. She KNEW. She had seen all the signs before. She KNEW what I needed when I didn’t know it for myself. And I will ALWAYS treasure those days we spent!
My Maren. I’m emotional typing this out- knowing that she left her family of 5 kids and very busy husband to come and attend me.
My Maren knows me. We have been close since we were young- but she KNEW. She showed up Saturday night and had booked a hotel- and told my husband to go. Go to the hotel and sleep well. She would take care of things at the hospital. He NEEDED IT. That night we chatted and laughed… it was needed. The next morning, I was an emotional MESS. Something was wrong. Maren could see it. Chayce could sense it. I didn’t understand what was happening. Emotional crashing is what I’m going to call it, mixed with a LOT of mental stress…. I had missing holes in my memory. I was having a HARD time dealing with it… and on top of that, the pain meds were making me horribly sick. I hadn’t been able to pass gas yet (anyone who’s had major surgery knows the pain of which I speak) and it was making me sick as well…. and by 2 pm in the afternoon I was SICK. I couldn’t eat or drink. My tongue was swollen… my stomach was hurting like hell… my back was pinching…. and to top it off, I wanted to scream. Maren could see something was wrong. She knew. She knew what I needed. Mental clarity. I needed the holes in my memory filled. She told me as much. She suggested I ask for the NICU nurse that was in charge of my baby on delivery day to come and tell me exactly what happened on their end. You see…. I was honestly having a hard time bonding with my baby.
She said I should also call in one of the surgical team to describe how the surgery actually went and what happened, how much blood I lost, what the placenta looked like— etc.
So I did.
The NICU nurse that attended the delivery came in and told me that she watched through the OR window while the baby was delivered. She told me that the surgeons had anticipated a 10-15 minute wait before delivering her…. but the NICU team waited over an HOUR. She said she saw them actually lift half of my uterus OUT of my body with the baby still inside, which she knew wasn’t part of the original plan, and make a small cut in the top/front of it, bypassing my anterior/low lying placenta completely and deliver my baby bottom first out the top! Well that would explain my extra bruising and soreness right under my ribs… and then they hurried and passed the baby to them, and the baby was completely sleepy and non breathing because she’d been under general anesthesia for over an hour. She said that they gave her a few quick puffs of air with the machine and she immediately snapped into action and started breathing on her own! She said she pinked up within 5 minutes and was stable. I had to ask… although I was afraid she wouldn’t remember…. but I had to know. I had seen a photo of her with a black and pink hat on, that apparently was put on by the initial NICU team. And I asked her- “Do you remember what she looked like? Did you have a hat or anything?” I could tell the nurse could tell I was desperate for clarity- and was obliged to talk with me at my level and offer all the information she could.
“Yes. She had a head full of dark hair, and we put a hat on her that was way too big, that was black with a pink ribbon. We switched it for a tan one with a huge bow…. but she was just so tiny that none of them really looked cute. So we put a pink bow on her head instead.” PERFECT. I needed to know this information. The dots were connecting.
But OH. I was SICK.
Right after the NICU nurse left I started to dry heave.
My sister was there, and helped me as I was falling out of my chair I had been in, to the floor. On all fours, on the hard tile floor…. I began to barf. It was horrible. Can you imaging having your insides ripped out, then stapled up, and then barfing??? It was HORRID. And then—– the silver lining…. all that pressure, FINALLY released my bowels- just gas- but oh my goodness. DAYS of it. Ya. It was an interesting moment. Laugh if you must. Looking back- I laugh a bit myself. Immense relief, mixed with immense PAIN. And to top it all off…. my husband walked in at that very moment. I glanced at him and he was mortified. As he should have been.
My Maren, though? Said nothing but encouraging words. She rubbed my back with her hands in a specific way to ease the pelvic pain (how she did that I do not know- but it worked whatever it was!) and had essential oils on hand for me to breathe in to calm me down and stop the barfing. It all worked. It was amazing. (She has MAD skillzzzzzz!)
But I was still VERY sick.
I climbed into bed and tried to relax. I started to cry. I hated everything about this day. My sister could see my emotional bubble and knew it needed to pop. “Let it all our Robby (her nickname for me). Just let it all out. Have a good cry. Say all the words. You need to release what you are holding in!” (SKILLZ!)
So I did. I cried and cried and cried.
“I HATE ACCRETA! I hate what I just went through. I HATE that I can’t hold and snuggle my own baby! I HATE that we are all here and going through all of this. I am so sore. I am in pain. I want it all to just go away!!!!!!” My dear husband climbed into bed with me and held me tight as I cried out my sorrow, pain, and aguish that I knew we shared to some degree. It was healing. But afterwards I was even more weak.
Maren and my husband tried to make me eat. They tried to make me drink. My husband went down to the cafeteria to buy me several different flavored drinks to find something I’d take. NOTHING. I couldn’t do it.
Then the nausea hit again- and I was so weak I couldn’t get up.
I yelled for a garbage can, and my hubby came to my rescue just as the barf came again- disposing of all the pain meds I had just choked down. I was in SO much pain. I started shaking. Just when I was gaining my composure after barf round 2——-
In comes the Surgeon to talk to me about my surgery.
So I took some deep breaths, I asked questions, and got my answers.
She said that after looking at the ultrasounds in depth, the oncologist decided against cutting through the placenta to deliver my baby, and instead decided to make the initial cut down my belly and just peek at how vascular my placenta had become with the extra vessels into the muscle. When they exposed my uterus, they could see just how messed up it was. She said it was deformed and bumpy and extremely full of veins and blood vessels. The doctors conferred quickly and determined that if they cut into it there, the bleeding would be intense, so they wanted to avoid it altogether if they could. They felt that the baby was small enough to get out through the top if they lifted the uterus out first, and then pulled out the baby through a small incision in the top. So although they knew the baby would be exposed to the heavy anesthetic by going this route, the loss of blood would lessen significantly. Out the top the baby came, and immediately after the baby was removed they stuffed the uterus with towels to maintain some pressure and sewed it back up! Then they carefully removed the remaining uterus, and got to the bladder plane…. she said they were super worried that they would puncture the bladder- but when they got there, it just peeled away from the uterine contact point like a sticker. They disposed of my deformed uterus, cervix, and placenta. She said then they sewed up all the artery and vein pathways, gave me a vaginal cuff, and put me back together- I lost just over 2000 ml of blood. My blood pressure stayed stable, and my hematocrit (total blood count test) was 29 (normal is around 40, transfusion level is 20-21) so they sewed me back up, put in 37 staples and waited for me to wake up before wheeling me to recovery and then my room.
All the dots were connected, but I was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. The surgeon looked me in the eyes, and said, “Just from looking at you- Iam going to suggest that you take some blood product. I really think it will speed your recovery in the long run. Lets see what your hematocrit is….” The blood guys came in and an hour later they said my levels were 22. The sad part? I had JUST had my last IV removed that morning, assuming that I was feeling ok and wouldn’t need it. But over the course of the day- between all my puke and my potty needs, I was dehydrated like crazy.
The nurses could see I needed fluids. And the transfusion was ordered. So another IV was needed.
They tried. Those poor nurses. They called in 4 different people to try to get one in me, and ultimately called some lady from the ER who is renowned for getting IV’s in within seconds, and she did just that. She literally walked in, looked at my arm, put on a tourniquet and had the IV in my wrist (OW!!) within about a minute.
I didn’t care what they did at that point. I counted over 16 IV or blood draw points on my hands and arms during my stay. I was so tired and sick. Once the fluids started running into me I immediately felt better. But the gas pains….. oh the stupid, ridiculous gas pains!!!! I asked my sister to help me get on my hands and knees to try and release some air. No, I am NOT kidding. There was still 4 nurses in the room from trying to get my IV in, and get my blood product screened and typed and on its way- and I just had to fart. There. I said it. I felt like I was going to float right off that bed if I didn’t get some of the air out! And I was so far gone……….. that I didn’t care who heard it. I let it go freely. And those nurses? They just cheered for me. As did my dear Sister. My husband? Oh…. he was LONG gone by that point. He saw what was happening, and decided that he’d go and feed the baby….. poor man. I have NEVER felt so low. I was humiliated beyond anything I’d ever felt. But in reality? I really, still, don’t really care. It had to happen, and it did.
I got my transfusion.
And was so weak, I hadn’t seen my daughter all day…. and didn’t see her all night…..
The next morning I felt TRASHED. The fluids felt great- the anti nausea felt great- but the fatigue from everything that had happened on Sunday I felt like a puddle. SO many emotions and feelings and pain.
But I could eat. The lack of gas pressure helped a lot. 🙂 And eating food helped. I slowly regained some strength and by the afternoon, I went to see me baby again. She was still losing weight…. but I knew she knew me- and would always eat more for me and her dad than the nurses. I determined that I needed to get better and rest better so I could be there for EVERY feeding during the day. My daughter needed me to gain weight faster. I knew it. Even if it wasn’t true— thats what I told myself.
My Maren stood by my side and made me nap. She would turn off my lights, shoo the nurses away that wanted to talk to me or take vitals, and she would remind me to eat every few hours. She KNEW. SKILLZ I tell you. SKILLZZZZ. Maren could see I was not well enough to act for my own health- but knew I wanted to be well SO bad for my baby- so she assumed the role of strict care taker. She didn’t just provide me with company or fetch me what I asked for…. she made a plan, and she involved everyone. She had the nurses create a “do not disturb” sign for the door, she had the nurse write down when my next meds were due so everyone knew when they could expect them, and she wrote affirmations for me on the white board facing my bed. I hated it. I even told her so. But I have to admit. I read it. And it helped. Everything she did helped. She has always had my confidence in her Doula work- but now…. I have experienced a bit of it myself, and I would recommend her to everyone that is planning to bring a child into the world. She is excellent at what she provides.
Tuesday January 17 Maren AND my hubby left, and my mom came back. I think Maren must have told her I wasn’t taking good care of myself, because she was ON IT from the minute she walked in. Telling me to rest, writing my medication schedule and making me stick to it, etc etc etc.
She helped me get to my baby for every feeding from 9am to 9pm and the baby was slowly gaining weight. She had just graduated out of her isolette on Sunday night (she could finally maintain her temperature on her own outside in room air) and now just needed to graduate from scheduled feedings to “cue based” feedings. The trend, of me getting her to eat more than the nurses continued, and she slowly gained and became stronger and stronger.
They discharged me Tuesday evening, and through a series of VERY unfortunate events (ask me about it sometime…), it took HOURS and HOURS and my mom and me finally left the hospital in FREEZING weather, with slippery sidewalks at 10pm at night to venture to the Ronald McDonald House where I stayed until the baby was discharged 5 days later. That night was horrible. My pain medication was hours late due to those “unfortunate events” I mentioned….. and for heaven’s sake. I left my baby!!!! The baby I had been fighting for all those months. The jewel of this horrible battle was STILL THERE. UP there on the second floor, in a dark room hooked to monitors and so far away. I was leaving her.
My heart was crushed into a million pieces. As we drove away from the hospital, I broke down and ugly cried…. again. And my wise mother just patted my arm and said, “I know how you feel. Let it out. You deserve all those tears. Just let them out. I was in your spot with your sister over 20 years ago…. driving down this same road in a snow storm heading to the Ronald McDonald house while she was full of wires in some room……” We shared a special bond that day.
The Ronald McDonald house was perfect- simple foods offered, a very comfy and private room…. and I felt SO blessed to have it right there. So close.
My sister and brother in law who live near the hospital also came to visit several times and keep me company in my boredom while I recovered. They were so kind. They made my hubby dinner one night, knitted my baby her first pink hat, and they never did even see the baby. They would meet my hubby in the cafeteria to talk with him on several occasions as well. GOOD people is what they are. 🙂
My mom pushed me in a wheel chair and helped me pace myself to walk a little further each day to regain my ability to walk and made sure I took my meds and ate the 3 days she was with me. She sat there in the hospital all day with me while I waited to feed the baby every 3 hours or so. The nurses in the ICN came to know us by sight. 🙂 And they were so kind and cheered on our little Audree every step of the way. I was SO grateful our baby was WELL. All the other babies in the ICN were full term babies who had problems. I often had to explain why she was born early- it wasn’t HER, it was ME that caused her to come early.
My husband came back on Friday morning, and stayed with me at the hospital all day, and the Ronald McDonald House at night until Audree was released Sunday morning, January 22, 2017.
We didn’t tell our kids we were coming home….. and surprised them around 2pm that day. 🙂 They were So excited.
I cried again.
The battle is still being fought… as my body is taking so much longer to heal than anything I’ve ever experienced. My mind is taking a lot of time to heal as these words have been swirling around and around…. so many other moments and feelings and gratitude I wish to express just will have to remain unsaid and unwritten. Words in between the lines that I get to cherish and some I wish I could snuff out for the pain and trauma it continues to bring me. My scar is healing well, here is a recent photo of it 4 weeks post op.
And a recent photo of our miracle.
She is ONE month as I write this today, Feb 12, 2017.
I have cried 4 times while writing the past 2 posts.
I hope that if you know friends and family who have elected to have csections, that you help them learn about Accreta and their increased risk. I hope that if you have family and friends with long term illness that you will visit them, and care for them. I hope that if you have a friend who has a NICU baby you’ll understand the drama of that situation and the heart ache they feel. If you have a friend or family member that you can pray for- DO IT. God will hear it, and he will provide something wonderful for that person in one way or another.
God is good.
SO many lessons have been learned and are still being learned through this experience.
This girl has already brought so much love to our home.
I am finally up and driving and around and able. I’ll get the green light hopefully to start exercising and getting back to all my daily routines next week at my final post op appointment where they will take an internal photo of my vaginal cuff to see if it has healed well, and whatever else they do at a 6 week post op/postpartum visit.
Love you all—- thank you for your part in my journey.
I know the faith and prayers of EVERYONE helped with every step of this journey. With me staying strong. With my caretakers families being taken care of. Just SO many good things, the right doctors being found, I could go on and on with the GOOD things that have come out of this.
THANK YOU for your part.