So, I know I’ve blogged a bit about the pregnancy I had with Abigail, but I’ve never really given everything to detail. The other day I found the notes that P auland I made one night whilst I was in hospital. We were going through my medical file and noting down everything that happened, as at the time we were planning to complain to the hospital about my care. After having Abigail, we reflected and decided not to go ahead. A few changes had already been put in place that had gone wrong with me, to make sure they don’t happen to anyone else. We were just glad that I was ok and Abigail arrived safely.
Some of the details may be a bit disturbing, especially if you have had a complicated pregnancy and or birth yourself. I just hope that someone can read this and it helps them know that no matter how bad things seem….there can be a positive outcome!!
The pregnancy had been going relatively well. At 5wks I was offered an early scan due to my 2 previous miscarriages. They scanned me just to check that everything was in the right place, as it was too early to detect a heartbeat. To begin with they thought that the pregnancy may have been ectopic. I was advised to return 2 days later, where a more senior doctor scanned me. Thankfully everything WAS in the right place and no sign of an ectopic pregnancy. I was given an appointment to return in 2weeks time, where we would hopefully see a heartbeat. WE DID! I so elated that we finally had a viable pregnancy after losing 2 babies! Now, we just had to wait until the 12 week scan.
Both the 12 week scan and 21 week scan went well. The 21 week scan revealed we were expecting another little girl! The pregnancy was sailing by and I was having no problems at all. Then it all changed!
11 Aug 2010, 27+3wks
Around 9:15pm, whilst sitting on the sofa checking on my Facebook page, I heard a faint pop and felt a gush of warm. I jumped up from my seat and said to Paul “Either I’ve just wet myself, or I think my waters have gone”. I dashed to the bathroom, where I was met with the most horrifying sight. It was not wee or water that greeted me as I yanked my trousers and underwear down but in fact blood, and lots of it! I screamed at Paul as I sat on the toilet unable to stop it and feeling clots just fall out of me (the most horrifying experience ever). I screamed at him to call the Labour Ward. He tried explaining, but they wanted to speak to me. I explained I was bleeding and they told me to go straight in. We called Paul’s dad who rushed over to look after the older 2 and we dashed to the hospital in record time. I was convinced we had lost her. On the way to hospital I couldn’t feel her move, then thinking about it, I couldn’t remember the last time I did feel her move. It had definitely been that day, but not for several hours. Panic washed over me. We reached Labour Ward and I was asked to remove the pad I was wearing, and given a new one to wear so they could monitor the loss. I also had to produce a urine sample. I was then taken to a bed where I was told they would put a “trace” on the baby. Only, they couldn’t find her. I was close to tears and I could see Paul getting slightly distressed, when finally, 30mins after we arrived they found her! Relief washed over me. I was convinced that we had lost her. A cannula was inserted into my hand and I was checked over by a Doctor. My cervix was closed, so there was no sign of early labour, but obviously the bleed was not a good sign. I was given steroids injections to help mature her lungs. NICU was alerted incase I went in to labour overnight. They could find no cause for the bleeding, especially as there was no sign of the placenta being low lying at my 21 week scan. After a 2 night stay in hospital, the bleeding had stopped and I was released home. I was told to take it easy. That there was a chance it could happen again, or I could go in to early labour. I was petrified.
27th Aug 2010, 29+5wks
Around 9:15pm, whilst relaxing on the sofa, I felt a warm gush. I jolted up and dashed to the toilet. I screamed at Paul. It had happened again!! I was bleeding again! I couldn’t believe it! We called Labour Ward and again was told to go straight in. Paul’s dad came over to have Jake and Kyla whilst we dashed off to the hospital. As soon as we got there, I was asked to provide a urine sample and to change my pad so they could monitor the bleeding. I was then placed on the monitor. The monitor showed I was having slight contractions, and although my cervix was closed, NICU were put on alert incase things progressed. A cannula was put in my hand. I was told about what would happen if I went into labour, and how as baby was so small, I would be able to deliver her naturally, rather than the C-section that had been scheduled at my appointment with my consultant at 19 weeks pregnant. Again, no explanation as to why I was bleeding. Everything settled and I was moved to the Ante-Natal ward. After a 2 night stay I was discharged and again told to rest and take to rest (not easy when you have 2 young children at home).
7th Sept 2010, 31+2wks
Yet again another dash to the Labour Ward after a 3rd bleed! Yet again, I was monitored but given no reason as to why I was bleeding. I was seen by my Consultant’s Registrar who decided I need a scan to determine exactly where my placenta was lying. I was chaperoned down to the Ultrasound Department when they had a space available for me. The scan showed that the placenta was 2.5cm away from the cervix, so although it was not classed as “low-lying” it was still on the lower end of “normal”. This time I stayed in for 3 nights before I was discharged home. Was told that I would more than likely go in to early labour and to refrain from “getting jiggy” and to rest.
17th Sept 2010, 32+5wks
Another mad dash to hospital, this time it was about tea time, and rush hour. We didn’t have anyone to look after the children, so they came with us and thankfully a friend came to the rescue! She met us at the hospital and took the children to get some dinner and then took them home for us. I was yet again admitted to Labour Ward and monitored. I was put on “Nil by Mouth” incase they needed to delivery. Although this time, they didn’t give me a drip. I was only allowed sips of water for fluid. I spent 24hours like this before they finally decided to insert a cannula and let me eat. I was moved down to the Ante-Natal ward where I was told that this time, even though I wasn’t losing red blood (only brown, old blood) I would not be allowed home until the pad is completely clear and there is no blood at all!!
22nd Sept 2010, 33+3wks
Still an Inpatient. Second Growth scan revealed baby growing ok. Current estimated weight of 4lbs 10oz and placenta working as it should. Unfortunately, the scan revealed that the placenta has moved further down and is now 1.8cms away from the cervix. This is very rare, and is not good. Seen that afternoon by my Consultant who diagnosed me with Placenta Previa now that the placenta is considered to be low lying. I was told I would be an Inpatient until delivery as the risks to me and the baby are too high. I am at high risk of bleeding out and Placenta Abruption and was advised that it is unsafe for Paul to keep driving me to hospital. I was also advised if I did have a big bleed, there was a chance even an ambulance wouldn’t get to me quick enough and for my safety hospital was the best place. I really wasn’t happy about it but I understood. He agreed to bring my scheduled C-section date forward from the original delivery date of 2nd November (39+2wks) to 20th October (37+3wks).
23rd September 2010, 33+4wks
At approx 4:30am I awoke with baby kicking me. It was unusual as she tends to sleep during the night. I switched my light on and realised I felt a bit damp. I quickly peeked at my knickers and saw blood. I shot up (as quickly as you can when pregnant) and pressed my buzzer to call the Midwife. Although no one came. I decided I needed to get to the toilet so I stood up. That’s when I noticed blood had seeped through to the sheets. I managed to pull myself out of the room and dragged myself to the toilet shouting for the Midwife as I went. As soon as I got to the bathroom I yanked on the Emergency cord as I sat down. There was blood everywhere. I just couldn’t control it. I was scared. I heard the Midwives shouting as they all came running down the hallway to me. One of the Midwives (a large German lady) took charge. She shouted for someone to get a wheelchair, another to grab my notes and ring Labour Ward that I was coming up. One of the Nurse Assistants went to my bed and grabbed my phone for me so I could give them Paul’s mobile number. They called him for me, although there wasn’t much he could do. I remember being helped into the wheelchair and the German Midwife telling the Midwife who was taking me up that I had lost approximately 400ml of blood. I was dashed up to Labour Ward where I was taken to one of the labour rooms and put on the monitor. I had a one to one Midwife in the room with me at all times. They were unable to check my cervix to see if I was dilating as there was too much blood, but the monitor showed I was contracting. They weren’t frequent to begin with but they started to settle into a pattern and were painful to the point I couldn’t talk through them. About lunch time I was told as I was contracting and still bleeding, they had notified NICU and would deliver me that day. Baby was happy so I wasn’t a priority, but I would be delivered that day. I called Paul and told him, and he said he’d get up as soon as he could. I was visited by the Anaesthetist and a Consultant who discussed the Section and what would happen. Then it all stopped!! The bleeding stopped, the contractions stopped and they decided not to deliver. I was moved to the main High Dependency Unit and monitored for another day before being moved back down to the Ante-Natal Ward.
30th Sept 2010, 34+4wks
Seen by my Consultants Registrar who advised that my Consultant wanted me to have an MRI done to see if I had a condition called Placenta Accreta (where the placenta is embedded into the womb, or previous c-section scar tissue). If this was diagnosed then it would mean that my C-section would be slightly more complicated. I was advised that there were risks to having an MRI in the third trimester due to the magnets. It was a risk I had to take.
01st Oct 2010, 34+5wks
Had MRI. What a horrid experience. I could feel baby wiggle as the tunnel whirled around taking pictures. Thankfully it only lasted about 15minutes. I was told the scan was marked as Urgent, so we should have the scan results back fairly quickly.
02nd Oct 2010, 34+6wks
Seen by the Weekend On-Call Doctor who advised that we should get the results of the MRI over the weekend. I just need to know what was happening so I could prepare myself and my family.
03rd Oct 2010, 35wks
Had another bleed. This time was a really small bleed. Right in the middle of XFactor too!! Was sent up to Labour Ward for monitoring. After 3.5hrs I was allowed back down to the Labour Ward after the Doctors were happy that the bleed wouldn’t progress. It really wipes it out of me every time I have a bleed and I sleep for days. I just don’t know how much more of this my body can take. I’m amazed its holding out this much!
04th Oct 2010, 35+1wks
Not seen by a doctor all day and no MRI results given as yet. Eventually seen by a SHO around 10pm who looked up the MRI and advised that Placenta Accreta had been diagnosed. My world shattered. The severity would now determine how well my surgery would go. I was more terrified than before.
07th Oct 2010, 35+4wks
Not seen by a Doctor all day, and not seen by my Consultant since 33wks pregnant. Paul called and spoke to the Ward Sister in Charge as this was unacceptable. They agreed and would get my Consultant or one of his team to see me as soon as possible.
08th October, 35+5wks
Was briefly visited by my Consultants Registrar at 9am who advised she’d come back later to discuss my results. Was visited at 2pm, and she was called away before we got any further.
11th Oct 2010, 36+1wks
Seen by my Consultant to discuss results of the MRI and to sign consent forms. He advised Placenta Accreta was diagnosed from the MRI. They would go through my original scar tissue, but depending on how attached the placenta is would be whether they would need to be an internal upwards incision to deliver the baby. I signed the forms for the C-section. I also consented to be sterilised at the same time. Paul and I had discussed things and we couldn’t go through this again and thought me being sterilised whilst having my section would be the best option. I was told that I could possibly have a spinal block for the C-Section rather than a General Anaesthetic.
19th October 2010, 37+2wks
Paul received a call from the Maternity Unit asking for my notes due to the scheduled C-section tomorrow. He advised I was currently an Inpatient and had been for the past 4wks. I was seen about 5pm by a Midwife for my Pre-op. We went through the necessary forms. Advised again I could possibly have a spinal block. She was unaware that I had had Placenta Accreta diagnosed until I mentioned it to her. About 6pm the Anaesthetist Registrar visited me and advised that I would have the section under a General Anaesthetic for my own safety. I was also advised that I would have a bed reserved in Intensive Care for me, just incase. If everything went well then I would wake up in the Labour Ward HDU. At 7pm, I was visited by the same Anaesthetist Registrar with devastating news. My C-Section was cancelled!! Apparently, there was no Anaesthetist Consultant available for my section, and the consultant who was going to deliver me (not my own consultant) refused to do it without an Anaesthetist Consultant present. My world collapsed! I had built myself up to this moment and prepared myself and now I didn’t know when I was going to be delivered.
20th October 2010, 37+3wks
Was kept on Nil by Mouth by the Midwife, despite telling her that my Section was cancelled! Was seen by my Consultant who came straight to see me as soon as he got in. He had only just found out himself that they had cancelled my operation and was not happy. He set about finding out what happened, why it wasn’t picked up on sooner and whether or not they could get me in today. I was popped onto the monitor to check on baby, she seemed ok thankfully. My Consultant popped in and out all day to give me updates. I was advised it was an admin error when he booked in my new C-section date which was not picked up on. He chose that date as there is normally a Consultant Anaesthetist available, but that day he was on a course and it had not been picked up on when putting it into the theatre books. They also needed a specialist machine in theatre for me which wasn’t requested initially. The machine is called a Cell Salvage, and it basically cleans the blood you’ve lost and then puts it back into your body. A bit like a blood transfusion, but using your own blood. They expected a lot of blood loss, and the machine was the best option. I then heard that he had crashed a Board of Directors meeting, demanding that he have people available to deliver me today. He told them that I either get delivered today, or he will cancel his morning surgery’s the following day and deliver me himself. Unfortunately, he ended up cancelling surgeries to deliver me! This was an utter nightmare for us as my Father in Law, who was due to have the children for us, was flying out to the States the next morning! He had already put his trip off for several weeks to help Paul out. This would mess everything up, but there was nothing we could do!
21st October 2010, 37+4wks – BIRTH DAY
Woke up about 6am and took a shower and got myself prepared. About 8am I was taken up to the Labour Ward and settled in to my cubicle. I know that timing would be pushing it for Paul to get here. I was told again about what would happen in theatre and advised that there would be a lot of people in there, but not to worry. I was prepped and the Anaesthetist and Midwives tried to hold my Consultant off for as long as they could, but he couldn’t wait anymore. I called Paul about 9am and told him I was going down. He was on his way, but it was too late. I told him I loved him. I was walked down to Theatre by the Midwife who did my pre-op a few nights before and by a Student Midwife. In Theatre, I was met by 3 Anaesthetists, one of whom I had already met which made me feel more comfortable. There was several nurses and Paediatrician as well as my Consultant and his Registrar. I was laid on the bed, they put some rotating cuffs on my legs which felt really warm and weird as they massaged my calves. A mask was put over my face and the Student Midwife held my hand as the Anaesthetist administered the drugs to put me to sleep. I felt a tear slip from my eye and then blacked out.
I woke up on HDU with a mask over my face. Paul was there with our little girl who, although very small at only 5lbs 5.7oz, was perfectly healthy. Paul had arrived at the hospital literally 10minutes after we had spoken. About the same time I had been put to sleep. Baby Abigail was born at 9:49am although Paul didn’t see her until nearly 10:30am after they had done all the checks on her. It was around 12pm before I came round. I held her briefly but then had to get them to take her away as I was too sleepy.
Abigail had a few problems trying to maintain her body temperature, so they popped her into a “hot cot” with a warm mattress to help her. She also had problems with her blood sugar levels but after several blood gasses, heel pricks, top ups with formula on her last chance to keep her levels up otherwise they would put a tube in her to feed her, she did it! We were so relieved that she didn’t need to go to NICU after everything that happened.
I felt really rough and sore and my section. My uterus was contracting, but every time the doctors checked and gently pressed on my belly, I would yelp in pain and then bleed out a little. It turned out I had a kink in my Catheter and once that was rectified I felt a lot better. I was seen by my Consultant who told me everything went well and a lot better than they had been prepared for. I had lost 1500ml of blood, but they had expected a lot more. He also advised, that although I had consented, he did not do the sterilisation. He advised that with the bleeding I had, and Abigail’s low birth weight, he decided against it as 1) It would cause more bleeding and 2) If anything were to happen to A then he would not be able to reverse the sterilisation. He advised if we still wanted it, he would be happy to see me in 6mths time to do the procedure. I thanked him for telling me and for everything he had done.
The following day they told me I had to get out of bed, even if it was just sitting in the chair. I agreed. I didn’t expect it to take me an hour to attempt to get out of bed and to the chair. I managed an hour in the chair, and then following a lot of injections and medications for a temperature I had spiked, I felt sick and had to lie down again. That evening, they made me get out of bed again and have a shower. One of the Midwife Assistants helped me, and helped me to the shower. She stood there with me incase I needed a hand or if I fell etc. Thankfully the shower had a curtain, although you really do lose all dignity after childbirth don’t you. I felt so much better after having a little walk about and a shower.
I was moved to the Post Natal Ward about 11pm that evening and we were discharged to go home 2 days later!
It was a horrendous experience as I was going through it and I don’t know HOW we got through it, but we did…and you know what…I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I knew the outcome would be the same.