I wanted to give an update after the post I shared about my hospitalization for retained placenta and postpartum bleeding.
My OB called me this week with the results of the pathology report and it turns out that I actually experienced a very rare complication called placenta accreta that occurs when blood vessels and other parts of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall. I had heard about it before because my boss at work had it with her last pregnancy, but it wasn’t until I google’d it that I really understood how dangerous and scary it is.
Perhaps the most difficult part of all is facing the reality that this condition will affect any future pregnancies and I will be considered high-risk and have to see a maternal-fetal-medicine specialist if I ever want to have another baby—and with that, there are risks, including having to have a hysterectomy or blood transfusion.
Some women get placenta accreta due to scarring after a c-section or other uterine surgery—none of which I’ve had. I also had none of the risk factors—it was completely random for me.
Fortunately, one of the world’s leading experts on placenta accreta works at the hospital where I delivered, so I will be meeting with him in the next 6 months or so to discuss the condition and a possible future pregnancy.
When they performed the D&C surgery they did find a piece of placenta, but it was very small, maybe 2 cm. I am not sure what this means in terms of the severity of my accreta, but that’s one of the things I plan to discuss with the specialist. It seems as though my situation was kind of odd because my bleeding didn’t begin to be severe until 5 weeks postpartum, and not immediately after delivery like most women with this condition who are unable to even deliver the placenta (mine was delivered fully and looked intact).
I am so thankful we have our sweet little Harper. We are blessed to even have one baby. But I have to admit that it’s a hard pill for me to swallow knowing that I may not be able to have another child (we wanted to have two) or that if I am able to get pregnant again, I may have a very complicated pregnancy and delivery and possibly have to have a hysterectomy. It’s just really scary to think about, especially because my pregnancy was smooth-sailing and I enjoyed being pregnant for the most part.
I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me—like I said, we are so blessed to have a beautiful baby girl and she is absolutely the joy of my life. It’s just another shock to find out that something very dangerous was happening in my body. I am SO thankful that God protected me and the baby and that I did not experience some of the more severe complications that some women do when they have placenta accreta.
Knowing that complications may be in my future is kind of sad…but that’s something I’m tying not to think about too much right now. After all, I have a beautiful new baby to enjoy and bond with at home—and that in itself, in addition to causing so much happiness also causes a lot of worry and anxiety that all new parents experience. I think all of the unexpected things that happened after Harper was born have heightened my already worrisome nature, but I’m working on moving past it all and enjoying the time I have with her at home before I return to work. If you fellow moms have any tips on how to move past worrying about everything, please leave me a comment!
Thank you again to everyone who sent thoughts and prayers my way and wished for a speedy recovery. I feel much better now and I’m so thankful to be home and healthy.