Our second child was due 21 months after the birth of our first, who had been in a breech position and so was born by C-Section. I had done much research to help me reach my decision to try for a VBAC. My first baby was born at nine pounds, four ounces, so I was concerned about uterine rupture. I made an informed decision to try the VBAC and see how things go.
I started having mild contractions at 3 a.m. on Monday, February 8. The doctor had determined my due date to be that day; the 12th was my "based on conception" due date. Later that day, I went to a check-up and found out that I had only progressed to "fingertip." I truly felt I would be overdue and didn´t realize that the yuckiness I was experiencing was early labor.
At 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, I got up to go to the bathroom and my bag of waters broke. On the bathroom floor, I could see that the "water" was tinged with pink, which to me was a bad sign. I didn´t know that it could be normal, so I frantically called my midwife to see what she thought. She said that if I wanted piece of mind, I could go to the local hospital, have them check it out, then proceed to my hospital, which was an extra 25 minutes´ drive.
Once I arrived at the local hospital, they wouldn't let me leave. I was in very early labor. I ended up fighting about wanting to go to MY hospital where I could labor with the midwife of my choice, but the in-house doctor told me I could die in transit if my uterus ruptured. I eventually gave up and resigned myself to giving birth in a small hospital where the only doctors I had met up until that time were very nasty. I was worried about what would happen "in case of an emergency," and they assured me that they were prepared for emergencies. Little did they know what would happen in the course of the next 24 hours...
I progressed normally for quite some time and then slowed so I needed Pitocin. I was very relaxed and sent my husband home to get the camera so we could capture the big moment. He was back in no time. I don't remember all the details, but I know that I was on oxygen a lot and that my contractions didn't seem too bad. Eventually I needed an epidural. At some point they also told me that they were putting in internal monitors. Much later, between pushes, we were taking a poll from everybody in the room on the weight of the baby. At 5:27 p.m. on Wednesday I pushed out our baby girl. At nine pounds, two ounces, she was beautiful!
I began bleeding heavily and the doctors were running around trying to get it stopped. I don't remember much of this because I started to black out. I do remember looking at the monitor which displayed my blood pressure: 60/40. I remember hearing that they would need to "open me up to find out where the bleeding was coming from." Remember, I had just had a successful VBAC! I said I didn't care as long as I could still have more children. They rushed me to surgery.
I came to with doctors all around me and felt like they didn't think I was awake by the way they were talking. I had a tube down my throat and couldn't talk, but I started writing on paper. It seems that I had burst an artery in the wall of my uterus. My blood wasn't clotting because of all the blood loss (I guess it really wasn't my blood at all). I was in ICU for a few hours, but don't remember that part. While in ICU, I began to bleed again. The doctors warned me they may need to do a hysterectomy to save my life. I wrote "Let's roll." As they rolled me to surgery a little later, I remember pointing to my eye, my heart and my husband, Doug, wordlessly saying "I love you." I wondered if he would be raising our two kids as a single dad. I had been updated on our little girl and found out that she was fine but still nameless: Doug didn't want to name her without me.
I came out of surgery around 7 a.m. Thursday morning. I was "stable" and missing a uterus. I felt numb from sadness, and mourned the third and fourth children that we had planned to have. Only the previous week we´d been talking about trying again three months later; we wanted a big, close, happy family. But I was alive and we had a healthy baby girl.
I kept telling myself that I needed to count my blessings and that things happen for a reason. Later, I found out that I´d received 21 units of blood products in all, and that my little local hospital had almost run out twice. They had been forced to get blood deliveries from MY hospital, where I had planned on laboring. One surgeon wrote in my records that when he got there my blood pressure was "Indeterminable."
We named this bundle of joy Delaney Jean. She is now five months old, and we are beginning paperwork for adoption. In hindsight, I would have done many things differently, but if I knew beforehand that this was the only way to get Delaney here, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.