I was 19 weeks pregnant with my fourth child when I was diagnosed with placenta accreta, and possibly placenta percreta (when the placenta invades the uterine wall). These are very serious and possibly life-threatening conditions for the mother. I was very concerned and extremely worried about the possibility of not being here for my four young children, who would all be under the age of five when this baby was born.
My doctor was very comforting, though, and said that it was a good thing we found out about the condition early. This way we could prepare for the worst in advance and have a very controlled environment in the OR, so there would be no surprises and both the baby and I would survive the surgery. The key, he said, was to get me to the OR without me bleeding out beforehand and to have plenty of designated blood on hand in the OR in case it was needed.
I was lucky with designated blood donors. A local Catholic church poured out their hearts to my cause and donated some 15-plus units of type-specific blood. I also had six units donated by family and friends.
At 33 weeks, I began having contractions. I was in the hospital that day, unaware of the contractions, just thinking I was having some minor backaches. However, due to the monitors they were putting me on twice daily, they discovered that my contractions were coming three minutes apart.
Immediately they started me on a drug, which stabilized me and got me through the night so that my doctor could get his team of surgeons to the OR early the next morning. At 8:30 AM, I was wheeled into the OR and put to sleep. The doctors worked magic that morning and at 9:53 AM Annie Grace was born. That is when they say the bleeding began. My condition had worsened over the weeks to placenta percreta and therefore, the doctors had to remove my uterus and cervix and cut my bladder in two to remove the placenta, which had attached there as well. They say that as quickly as the blood was coming out of my body, they were pumping new blood into it. I received seven units of blood in the OR and three units over the next two days in ICU.
I have no doubt I had someone from above watching over me that morning and the best doctors in the world! I would not be here if they were not so greatly prepared for this serious surgery. And even though I have now lost my uterus and can no longer have any more children, I received the miracle I had hoped for… to be able to have the chance to be Mommy to my four young children.
Annie Grace was in the NICU for two weeks, but she is home today and doing quite well. Our family has been truly blessed.