I don’t even know how to start writing this post because my feelings are still so raw and fresh. I’m still in a little bit of shock at what happened over the last couple of days. But more than anything else I’m thankful to be here and that I’m healthy for my children and family.
I had an appointment scheduled Wednesday as a postpartum follow-up with my OB. I had already seen her a couple of times after Lincoln was born and this was an 8-week follow-up. I had placed a call to her office a few days before my appointment because I was still bleeding on and off. My bleeding would stop and then the next day I would bleed bright red again. But it wasn’t a lot like last time (read about that here and here) so I wasn’t too worried—I knew what to look for this time around.
My OB booked me for an ultrasound to check my uterus before coming to see her. I had Lincoln with me and I’ll never forget the sinking feeling in my stomach when they turned on the ultrasound machine. It was the same as last time. The techs were silent, you could have heard a pin drop in the room. But their eyes scanned the screen that was turned away from me and they both pointed and nodded at the screen as they took the images.
I was one hundred percent certain they saw something inside of me again. “How could this be happening again?” I thought to myself. I had a C-section this time. They could see everything. They must have gotten it all out this time.
The techs aren’t allowed to say anything, but I knew. I went up to my OB’s office after the ultrasound. She walked into the room and her expression said it all.
“It’s not good news,” she said.
“I know,” I told her.
She told me they saw some retained matter from my pregnancy inside of me. About 3 c.m. large, she said. She wanted me to see a specialist on Friday to undergo more scans and possibly an MRI. If it was an accreta, she told me they may have to do a hysterectomy to save me. I knew all of this. I knew too much this time. In fact, I worked on a news story about accreta with the specialist I was scheduled to see Friday just a couple of months before I gave birth to Lincoln. I was praying they could just do a D&C like last time.
My OB did an internal exam before I left her office to check on my bleeding. Everything looked okay. So I was sent home and was to come back Friday for further testing. I also had some blood drawn in the lab to rule out other conditions.
I put Lincoln in the car and drove home (he was napping, thank goodness). I called Kevin on speakerphone on the way home and updated him on what was going on.
I pulled up in front of our house and parked my car. As I stepped out to get Lincoln, I felt it. That unmistakable gush. That feeling that still gives me PTSD just thinking about it. I knew exactly what was happening and for a few seconds I was absolutely paralyzed with fear. It just kept coming out.
I grabbed Lincoln’s car seat and ran into the house. I placed his seat on the floor of my living room and raced to the bathroom. I pulled down my leggings and something the size of a baseball just fell on the floor and blood gushed out of me.
Lincoln started to scream. He was hungry and due for his next feed. I still don’t know how I had the wherewithal to do what I did, but I ran back to him, got him out of his car seat and fed him a bottle of pumped milk as I sat in a small pool of my own blood and started to make emergency calls. They told me to get to the hospital right away.
Kevin raced home from his office. Thank God it was in the middle of the day. Had it been rush hour, I would have had to call an ambulance.
I also knew from last time how my body dealt with this. I would have a severe bleeding episode—but then it would stop for a while until my next one. My nurses told me I was very lucky to have that type of bleeding. Many women after passing a clot continue bleeding and bleeding.
We got to the hospital in record time. I was admitted, they started an IV and ran all kinds of tests. I hadn’t bled again since the major episode at home.
I was terrified. Did I have another accreta? Would I hemorrhage during surgery? They told me that if they did the D&C and couldn’t get it out, they would have to re-open my C-section and perform a hysterectomy so I wouldn’t bleed out.
It was like a nightmare. I looked over at Lincoln and Kevin and just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Then, I panicked. Had I hugged and kissed harper that morning before she left for school? Did I tell her I love her? I always tell her I love her, but did I do it that morning? Did I tell her enough times?
I had a lot of very dark thoughts that afternoon. What if I can’t watch my kids grow up like we had always dreamed of? What happens if I leave them and Kevin? How will their world be without me and mine without them? I still cry every time I think about those scenarios playing through my mind.
I didn’t mention this earlier in the post, but right before I went to see my OB, I ran into Dr. Belfort in the elevator. I briefly chatted with him and we talked about how I would be returning to work soon (we work together quite frequently). He’s the chief of our women’s pavilion and also happens to be a world-renowned accreta expert. In fact, I had consulted him before getting pregnant again to make sure it was safe for me. I knew I was in the best place with the best experts. Women from all over the country with accretas come to our hospital.
Looking back, I realized running into him was a sign. I knew he was there (he travels quite a bit) and that was very reassuring. I texted him when I was admitted and he replied he already knew about my case and was ready to be part of the surgery if they needed him. He came to visit my room before I went into surgery and told me everything would be okay.
Even though I knew I was in the best hands, I was a wreck. I told Kevin to take Lincoln to get Harper at daycare (my car has both car seats so he had to pick her up). My in-laws and sister-in-law were on their way to our house as well to help Kevin care for the kids and for support.
The main OR nurse came into my room and she told me they were almost ready. I began to cry and I’ll never forget the way she hugged me. She kissed me on the head and told me not to worry, they would take care of me. I’ll never forget the compassion she showed me. I was also reading all of the incredible messages of support and prayer on my IG account before I went into surgery and it helped me immensely. I debated sharing that I was going into surgery, but I believe in the power of prayer. It made my heart feel at peace to know that all of these amazing women were taking even a second out of their day to whisper a prayer for my health and safety.
I don’t remember anything after my first minute in the OR. I remember looking up and seeing lights and my OB and that’s it.
When I woke up from surgery, my OB and Dr. Belfort told me they were able to get everything out of me with the D&C. Thank God. I didn’t have to have a hysterectomy and another 8-week recovery. I was so thankful.
I was still very fuzzy but I began to have a strange and painful sensation. I felt intense burning and cramping and I told my nurse that I had to pee. The pain became worse and worse. Because I had a catheter during surgery, the nurse went and got a scanner to scan my bladder to make sure there was urine in there. Oddly, I had over 1000 cc’s of urine which is probably why I was in so much discomfort. I felt well enough to get up and use the restroom and the moment I did, all of my pain was completely gone. I felt totally normal, just like last time. If there’s one silver lining from both D&C’s I had, it’s that I was not in pain from the surgery at all.
Eventually I was taken to recovery and able to talk to my family. I FaceTime’d with Harper too. My sweet, precious girl who I hadn’t been able to see before going into surgery.
Candice came and stayed with me at the hospital for a few hours before I started to rest for the night. God bless her, it was so wonderful to have someone there that’s like a sister to me after going through such a frightening experience.
The next day, I had so many friends come and visit me at the hospital. I also got so many texts and messages wishing me well and sending good thoughts and prayers. It was truly humbling to know that so many people had me in their thoughts. I can’t thank everyone enough.
I was discharged the afternoon after my surgery. I have some throat pain from being intubated, but that’s normal and should go away soon. I was just so eager to go home to my family.
We are still waiting on the pathology results to understand what happened. My OB told me they removed several small pieces of placenta from me.
I feel so fortunate to have my beautiful, healthy children. This was a tremendous shock to me and I’m still having a lot of anxiety over what happened, but I’m trying to focus on the positive. Our family is complete and I’m healthy and get to watch my children grow up. There is nothing more important or special than that.
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. It really means a lot to me and to our family.