Ariana's Birth Story
Our precious Ariana Rose arrived at 5:16 PM on March 23.
My water broke at 3:50 in the morning when I was 37 weeks into my completely normal pregnancy. After arriving at the hospital, my contractions started up and labor progressed normally. By 10:30 AM, I was four centimeters dilated, but the nurse commented on the amount of molding for that stage.
After a deceleration on the monitors, an internal monitor was inserted midday. I had been having so much back labor that I spent most of my labor on the ball or walking. The deceleration was believed to have been a misreading from me moving so much. Since I was hooked to internal monitors I spent the rest of my labor on my left side.
I progressed well (medication free!) and around 5 PM the doctor checked me again and discovered I was almost ten centimeters, but he thought my daughter was breech. A hand-held ultrasound machine confirmed this. He said that I could try to deliver her breech, but he recommended an emergency C-section. Since I was worried about trauma to her, I consented to the C-section. I live in a rural area and the hospital did not have an operating team on staff constantly and it would take 15 minutes for the team to assemble. On the next contraction I couldn’t help but push. When I told this to my doctor, he allowed me to push. I pushed twice and one little foot popped out, but only one. She’d turned into a footling breech which is a worst-case scenario breech. Then her heart decelerated again and they took me running down the hall to the OR.
With only part of the team, they put me under general anesthesia and got her out. She had to be given CPR to get her breathing but was soon doing all right. The cord had been very thin and wrapped tightly around her neck twice. This explained why my daughter was breech and so small. Ariana weighed only four pounds, 12 ounces, and was 16½ inches long. Her unexpected small size was also why no one realized she was breech until the end.
My situation, after the delivery, was a different story. When I was moved off the operating table, the doctor noticed quite a bit of vaginal bleeding. After the doctor had Ariana stable, he came in and found some very deep cervical tears, the worst he’d ever seen. They put me under again, and called in two other surgeons to try to get them sewed back up. The tears probably came from getting her back out of the birth canal after she was so close to being out. Soon I was coming back out of anesthesia again.
Soon after, I took another turn. My blood pressure kept dropping and so did my heart rate. I remember six doctors around me and there being blood and fluids going into me. They were having trouble hitting my veins because of my low pressure. I kept seeing scenes of everyone trying to stabilize me. My doctor told me that they were going to life-flight me to another hospital once I was stable and that they also needed to get me into the CT machine. They put at least four units of blood in me before they felt they could put me on the helicopter. I was finding it harder and harder to catch my breath. At some point they allowed my husband and sister to come in and see me. I remember my husband looked so gray and upset. He just kept telling me over and over how much he loved me.
When I was stable long enough, they got the CT scan done. Then they loaded me into the helicopter. I remember asking them to raise my head up because I couldn’t breathe. They told me they couldn’t because my blood pressure was too low. While in the air I started writhing around because I couldn’t catch my breath. It was the longest ten minutes of my life. I also remember praying that I wouldn’t die, because my husband would die without me too, and I hadn’t even seen my little girl. The last thing I remember is heading through the doors of the hospital.
After arriving at the hospital, I stopped breathing and had to be put on a ventilator. By the time I arrived at the large hospital, the results from the CT scan had shown a tear in my uterus. When they opened me up again, they found my uterus was completely filled with blood. The doctor said it was about the size of a basketball and that he’d never seen anything like it. My entire blood supply was in my uterus; so much so that I didn’t even bleed when they made the incision. I ended up with a hysterectomy.
I don’t remember anything until a day and a half later. I was in ICU still attached to a ventilator. I vaguely remember family members and friends coming to see me. They brought my little girl down for me to hold while I was in ICU. After two days in ICU, I was moved to the OB floor. They brought Ariana in to us and said that she was ready to be fed. I was still in no state to try to feed her although I intended on breastfeeding and they had actually had me start pumping the night before while in ICU. My husband picked her up and got the bottle of formula out and started feeding her like an old pro. I was so very impressed with him. He’d never been around babies before in his life and here he was doing so wonderfully with her. After she was done eating, he even changed her diaper.
I surprised everyone with a rather quick recovery. My doctor told me at one point he thought I’d be in ICU for two weeks, but I recovered quickly enough to get out of there in just two days. I then continued to gain strength and heal faster than expected. Every day I worked on breastfeeding Ariana, or I pumped to get my supply up. The nurses had their doubts as to whether my milk would come in after my ordeal, and then there was the question of if she would even latch on after being bottle-fed for so long. Finally, after five days of pumping and trying to get her to latch, Ariana ate her first full meal from me, and has been ever since! I was released just eight days after I went into labor. This was remarkably fast for having my blood supply replaced several times. My extremely rare story was the talk of the hospital. From the respiratory therapists to the nurses, they had all heard about the lady who almost died from a C-section. I’ve also been told how extremely rare of a case I had. C-sections so rarely end up in a hysterectomy, that this side effect is often omitted in discussion.
Ariana and I are doing great now that we are home. She had no complications from being so small and is already over five pounds. I still am not allowed to go upstairs. My bed was moved into my living room before I got home. I have to walk across the street to my husband’s grandparent’s place for a shower. My staples will come out after being in for 16 days! I have a large scar extending from an inch above my belly button to the bikini line C-section. It looks like an anchor. The outpouring of help and concern from our families and the community has been unbelievable. I feel so loved.
It is hard to know that I am only 24 years old and will only have one child of my own. However, I have to be so thankful to God that I am here and that I have my beautiful little girl. I will be happy over what I have and not upset over what I don’t have.
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