To understand what a miracle Kaylee’s safe birth was, I have to go all the way back to the beginning of the pregnancy.
I found out I was pregnant on December 18, 2013, the day after our anniversary.
Right away, I was worried about the outcome of the pregnancy because my pregnancy tests weren’t darkening the way I thought they should. I had several betas drawn, which put my mind at ease. They were tripling beautifully!
We spent another tense week after my first ultrasound when the baby’s heart rate was not as high as they wanted it to be.
Fortunately, at my next ultrasound a week later, the heart rate was still there and was perfect!
Around that time (6 weeks or so), I started having brown spotting. It continued until right before my 10 week appointment. I didn’t think much of it, though. It was never a lot and was always brown, so I didn’t think it was anything to worry about.
On February 4, 2014, during a nasty snow storm, I started gushing bright red blood. We had just finished dinner with my grandparents, who were visiting us, so even though we had people to help watch the kids, the roads were pretty much un-passable, so I had to ride it out that night. I knew I was miscarrying anyway, so I knew there was nothing that could be done. I texted several people and posted in my due date group and told them that I was miscarrying and we needed prayers.
The following day, my doctor’s office was closed because of the snow, but I called the on-call doctor and he told me what I already knew: that there was nothing they could do, so it was best to wait and see my doctor the following day, unless I was soaking through a pad in an hour. I had a glimmer of hope, because the bleeding slowed down and became quite a bit lighter throughout that day. My grandparents left and we had a million leftovers from their visit, so Chad insisted I stay on the couch as much as I could that day.
The following day was my previously-scheduled 10-week appointment. I didn’t call ahead about my bleeding situation, because I didn’t want them to assume I was miscarrying and cancel my appointment and reschedule an ultrasound instead. When I told the nurse that I’d had heavy, bright red bleeding, I could see her entire demeanor change. I could tell she thought I’d miscarried because she said she’d get a urine sample “just in case” they still needed it for the prenatal screening.
Dr. Teply (my OB) came in and right away, he decided to check for the heartbeat. It took him quite a while to find it (and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t), but finally he found it! He said he still wanted me to come back the following day for a sonogram (the sonographer wasn’t able to make it into the office), but usually it’s an all-or-nothing thing, and if the trauma to the baby had been too severe, I would have miscarried.
I went back the following day (a Friday) for an ultrasound and everything looked fine, other than a few tiny pockets of blood (on the right side of the ultrasound picture below). The sonographer had no idea why I had bled like that, so they sent me on my way.
The next day was our church talent show. I was pacing in the back holding Carter during the show because he was fussy and tired. After the show, I started gushing blood again. We asked our minister to anoint me and then we left for home. Again, I decided against going to the ER even though the bleeding was heavier than it had been the first time. I didn’t really want to rely on an ER doctor in a situation like this. So I waited it out through the weekend and called Dr.. Teply’s office first thing Monday morning and they had me come in for another ultrasound.
Even though there had only been two days between ultrasounds, the one on Monday showed a 4 cm subchorionic hemorrhage (on the right side of the ultrasound picture below). It was bigger than the baby was, but she was still there with her little heart beating away! I was put on bed rest and told that I would have doctor appointments every two weeks and sonograms every four weeks. I was told it was being treated as a threatened miscarriage because it was so large (it literally wrapped around one side of the sac) and had increased in size so quickly. My doctor said he usually gives people a 50/50 chance, but he thought my chances were better because the baby had hung on so long already.
It turned out to be an incredibly tough winter. In addition to the worry about the hemorrhage, and intermittent bleeding and spotting and trying to stay on bed rest with three little kids, all of us (except Chad) came down with whooping cough. I had it the worst. The coughing caused me to throw up multiple times a day for over two months, and I cracked a rib from it, too.
Fortunately, we had so much help and support from our church family and our MOMS Club friends. So many people brought dinners, watched the kids, sent disposable cups and bowls and plates and silverware, etc.
At our sixteen-week sonogram, we found out that our little fighter was a girl!
Unfortunately, the hemorrhage was still there, and was 6cm x 2cm x 3cm (so it was bigger).
I had to see a midwife (who I really dislike) after my sonogram because Dr. Teply was out of the office. She looked at me with a look of total pity and told me my chances were still only 50/50 and this must be so hard on me. I left the office crying that day. I couldn’t believe that my chances were only 50/50 when I had made it out of the first trimester.
Dr. Teply’s nurse called me to go over the ultrasound results the next day and I mentioned what the midwife had said. She said she would talk to my doctor and call me back. When she called back, she told me that Dr. Teply thought my chances were MUCH higher than 50/50 and that he was very optimistic that I would have a healthy baby at the end of the pregnancy. That definitely made me feel better!
Things were pretty quiet for the next four weeks until my 20-week ultrasound. I had occasional spotting, but I was pretty sure that when I went in for the next ultrasound, the SCH would be resolved. It wasn’t, though. It was still there, the same size, but a different shape.
Dr. Teply said he was going to continue seeing me every two weeks and he was going to send me to see the high risk specialist at Maternal Fetal Medicine to get their opinion on it. He told me he’d feel a lot better around 23-24 weeks when the baby reached viability, because either the hemorrhage was going to come out when I delivered, or it would detach before that and cause me to go into premature labor.
We were also planning a trip to Wisconsin to visit family around that time and I asked if that was OK. He said it was, and if anything happened, I’d just have to go to the closest hospital.
That was not to be, though. The following Saturday around 5:30 am, I started gushing bright red blood. Since I wasn’t 24 weeks yet, I thought that I would have to go to the ER instead of Labor & Delivery, so I waited for a couple hours and then called to talk to the doctor on call. Luckily, Dr. Teply was on call, and he told me to go to Labor & Delivery. Once I was there, he ordered an ultrasound, and it ended up not even showing any sign of the SCH that they had seen on the ultrasound on Thursday. He had me stay a little longer for monitoring to make sure it wasn’t a placenta abruption, but since I was only spotting bright red blood, he sent me home. I felt kind of dismissed at that point. I had no idea what was going to happen from there, since there was no SCH to treat, but yet I was still bleeding. I was afraid that since the SCH had resolved, the situation wouldn’t get the attention it needed and something bad would happen to the baby.
That night (and every night afterward for a while), I had more gushing bleeding at 5 am that would eventually taper off to spotting throughout the day. So on Monday (which happened to be one of our Holy Days), I called my doctor’s office before we went to church. The nurse got me an appointment for that afternoon, so we only went to the morning service and then went back home so I could make my appointment. I didn’t get another ultrasound, but Dr. Teply told me I had a partial placenta abruption. He also said it was “strange” that I only had bleeding between 5-6 am every night. I figured the bleed must be in a place that got “plugged” while I was sitting or standing. He told me he didn’t want me going on that trip to Wisconsin and wanted me to come back the following week, and then see the high risk specialist. I was also on modified bed rest.
A few nights later, I broke down and told Chad I had no idea how I was supposed to stay on modified bed rest and keep the baby safe while taking care of the other kids, even just doing the bare minimum. By that time, I was bleeding heavily all the time, not just at 5 am. It was so hard to be bleeding heavily and cramping, but have the doctor say that there was nothing to do but wait and see what would happen. My grandma was planning on coming down to help in a few weeks, but he called his mom and asked her to come down and help us and she arrived the following day!
This was probably the darkest time of the pregnancy for me. I was honestly not convinced I was going to have a healthy baby at the end of this. I prepared myself mentally (as much as a person can, I imagine) to not have a take-home baby. I even checked to see if there were Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographers in our area, but stopped short of putting the phone number into my phone “just in case”.
The wait for my appointment with the high risk specialist was excruciating. They had scheduled the appointment around the trip we didn’t take, so it was several weeks out. I was bleeding heavily every single day and my OB had diagnosed me with a chronic placenta abruption, rather than a partial placenta abruption. I was constantly worrying that the situation was being treated as a “wait and see” thing only because the baby hadn’t reached viability yet.
Finally the day arrived for my appointment with the high risk specialist. Dr. Evans checked several possible sources of bleeding. I can’t remember what they all were, but he said for sure that it wasn’t coming from the baby, so it was coming from a placenta abruption, which we pretty much already knew. It was almost impossible for them to find the exact spot, but that wasn’t really that important. My placenta was still low-lying and he thought it could still move up, but if she had to be gotten out quickly anytime soon, it would have to be a c-section. He said I had a 10-15% chance of making it to term and I had a better than 50% chance of the baby surviving. Both of those kind of blew me away. He said he had high hopes of me making it to 32 weeks. In addition to not lifting, I got more restrictions and wasn’t allowed to bend over either. Even though my OB had said that I’d just have a one-time consultation with the high risk doctor, I was scheduled for another appointment in 3 weeks and continued seeing them through the whole pregnancy.
I didn’t quite have the peace I thought I’d have after that appointment. I felt like I needed to keep asking questions to understand it better, but there were no more questions that they could give me answers to. They didn’t really know exactly what was going on or what was going to happen and I just had to keep being monitored closely. That was pretty much the theme of this pregnancy – stumping the doctors!
At my next appointment with Dr. Teply, we discussed possibly doing steroid shots to develop her lungs. The problem is that she would probably come early, but we had no way of predicting when and the steroid shots only last for seven days. I would have to get two of them, 24 hours apart. If she came early, it would be an emergency situation and we wouldn’t have 24 hours to do both shots. Dr. Teply was going to discuss it with my high risk doctor, but his opinion was that we should hold off on the steroid shots and only do them if the bleeding appeared to be getting worse or something happened that made it seem like she might need to be gotten out soon.
On Sunday, May 25 (the day before Memorial Day), I was nursing Carter before his nap and I started gushing bright red blood. I went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet and it just gushed and gushed. Finally, I was able to get up and tell Chad we had to go to the hospital immediately. I didn’t have the presence of mind to grab anything except my purse and phone charger (because my phone is always low on battery when I’m in the hospital). When we got there, I was kind of blown off until I told them I had a placenta abruption, and then everyone started moving a lot faster! Dr. Morrison came in and told me not to eat or drink anything in case I needed a c-section and she said she was going to order steroid shots and I’d be admitted for at least 1-2 days to finish the shots.
They did the first shot (which burned like CRAZY!) and then sent me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech was a creepy middle-age man who barely talked to us. Since it was the weekend, the radiology area was dark except for the room we were in, so I was pretty glad Chad was there with me! The tech didn’t see anything concerning on the ultrasound and tried to tell me that the bleeding came from the baby changing positions. Um, no. People do not gush blood from the baby moving around a little bit.
That first night in the hospital was horrible. I couldn’t sleep because of the steroids and the uncomfortable hospital bed. I was on monitors around the clock, so I couldn’t move at all without upsetting the monitors, and then a nurse would come in and adjust them. There was very little sleeping that night!
The following day, the bleeding slowed down but was still bright red. Dr. Teply said I had to stay at least until the next day so I could see the high risk doctor (since it was Memorial Day, they weren’t in). I also had to finish the steroid shots and they considered starting a magnesium drip since my uterus was irritable and I was having lots of contractions. They never needed to, though.
In addition to being emotional and worried about the baby, I was also sad the whole time I was in the hospital because my doctors wanted me to wean Carter. I completely understood and agreed with it, especially since he was almost two. But it was hard being forced into it, and not knowing that my last time nursing him was the last time. Even now, three months later, I’m tearing up just writing about it.
The next day, I saw Dr. Jackson, my other high risk doctor around noon. The good news was that my placenta had moved up far enough that if I made it full-term and her delivery wasn’t an emergency, I might be able to attempt a vaginal birth. She still said I had a partial previa, though. As far as the bleeding, she was able to see that there was still blood and clots right by the cervix that would be coming out at some point. There was also blood in her fluid, which she said was normal for how much bleeding I’d had. She said I had to stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours after my last bright red bleed.
The next day, I was pretty sure I would get to go home since most of the bleeding had been dark red. But my doctor wasn’t in and Dr. Gleason was seeing his patients for him. He said I had to stay at least one more day, and the nurse thought it was just because he didn’t feel comfortable discharging another doctor’s patient.
I was finally allowed to go home on Wednesday since I managed to not have any more bright red bleeding. Dr. Jackson said that she would have high-fived me for that, but it wouldn’t be professional. So I was discharged with instructions to “keep doing what I had been doing in the hospital”. Luckily, my grandma was still here helping, otherwise there would have been no hope of that!
In the beginning of June, my bleeding finally stopped. I had been bleeding every single day for 8 weeks, so it almost made me more paranoid because it was something different.
My mom came down to help us for a week during that time, and I still didn’t have any more bleeding. That definitely made me feel a little more confident in my ability to handle things when we didn’t have any family down here with us.
At the end of June, I saw my high risk doctor again (Dr. Evans this time). That placenta previa just wouldn’t resolve. It pretty much hadn’t moved at all in the four weeks since I had been in the hospital. He put in my chart that if I had to deliver in the following 4 weeks (before I saw him again), it would be by c-section. He said he would make the final decision at my appointment at 34 weeks because after 35 weeks, the uterus doesn’t grow much (the baby grows, but the fluid decreases somewhat), so if it hasn’t moved by then, it probably wouldn’t. Baby Girl was so active! She just loved waving her arms around like a little crazy person! She was waving them around and sticking her hands in her mouth during the whole ultrasound.
At my next OB appointment at the beginning of July (32 weeks), Dr. Teply was finally willing to give me more of a game plan, rather than a “wait and see” approach. My next appointment with the high risk doctor would be July 21 in the morning, and Dr. Teply would see me that afternoon to talk about an actual plan. He said that if the placenta still hadn’t moved by that date, he wanted to schedule a c-section for 37 weeks. By that time, the risks of having another huge bleed and having it turn into an emergency situation would outweigh the benefits of keeping her in longer. I was happy to finally have an idea of what to expect for the rest of the pregnancy. The wait and see approach was starting to drive me a little crazy! I was really at peace with the idea of a c-section. I had never thought I would need one, but I was thankful to have time to mentally prepare myself for it. I don’t think I would have handled an emergency c-section very well.
Finally, July 21 came and I was a nervous wreck. I went to my appointment with the high risk doctor first thing in the morning. I saw the ultrasound tech first and she didn’t tell me, but the baby’s heart rate was super high (196 bpm). When Dr. Jackson came in, she told me she was very worried about the baby’s heart rate and that she was going to check it again after she was done doing the ultrasound. If it was still high, I’d have to go to labor and delivery. She spent the next half hour trying to determine where the edge of the placenta was. She used different ultrasound machines, looked back at past ultrasounds, drew pictures of it to show to other doctors, and still didn’t come to a conclusion. She did find a mass of blood vessels next to the cervix and she couldn’t tell whether it was attached to the placenta or the uterus. She almost forgot to check the baby’s heart rate again because my placenta was “so distracting” (I told her it had been distracting for the last eight months!). When she checked it again, it was still 187 bpm, which meant I was headed for labor and delivery. It also meant I couldn’t get any answers about a plan of action out of her. All she would say is that she couldn’t guarantee I wasn’t going to have the baby that day.
By the time I got up to triage, her heart rate had gone back down to the normal range. I had to stay for monitoring for an hour or so and her heart rate was fine the entire time, so they sent me home. I talked to Dr. Dickson (who was on call) first, and she said that from what she saw of Dr. Jackson’s pictures, she thought I would be able to attempt a vaginal birth.
I pretty much had to go straight to my OB appointment after that. When Dr. Teply came in, his first words were that he had already been on the phone with three different doctors about me that day. He said he had never seen anything like those blood vessels and he didn’t think the high risk doctors had any idea what was going on either. Since we didn’t have any answers other than that he thought the placenta was far enough out of the way, he said he thought he’d induce me at 37 weeks, but we were going to take it on a week-by-week basis. I had to start coming in for twice-weekly non-stress tests and weekly doctor appointments to make sure the baby continued to be OK.
By the time my 35-week appointment came, I was in full-blown panic mode. I was worried about doing a vaginal birth because I was afraid the blood vessels would get aggravated and I’d start to hemorrhage. When I talked to Dr. Teply, he said that a c-section was just as risky for me because they’d have to cut through the area where those blood vessels were. So basically, either type of delivery was dangerous for me. He said he’d call my high risk doctors that week and they would decide what the best course of action was, though.
On August 1, Dr. Teply called me and told me that my high risk doctors had gotten together the night before and pored over all of my ultrasound pictures and records. They still didn’t know quite what we were up against, but they agreed that a c-section at 37 weeks was the best course of action. Dr. Teply said he was sorry, because he knew that’s not what I had wanted. I told him that honestly, I was fine with it. So we scheduled my c-section for August 13 at 11:30 am. I was relieved and just hoped she wouldn’t throw us any curveballs. I should have known better! The whole pregnancy was just one big, giant curveball!
Over the next few days, the contractions started to pick up and I started feeling pressure with them. Dr. Teply wasn’t concerned because it was “getting to be that time” in pregnancy where it was normal. I just kept hoping that I wouldn’t go into labor on my own. I just wanted one thing to go according to plan. I desperately did not want the doctor on call to end up delivering the baby, especially since they wouldn’t know anything about my situation.
On the Thursday before my c-section, I had a non-stress test and the baby almost failed it. She pulled through at the very end, but Dr. Teply still wanted me to get a biophysical profile done to make sure everything was OK. I had to wait a few hours for the BPP, so I freaked out a bit and went home and cleaned the bathrooms and had Chad install the car seat. Luckily, everything was fine with the BPP.
The next day was Friday and I spent quite a bit of time getting the house cleaned and last-minute things crossed off my list. My grandparents were coming the following day and I knew I’d be busy visiting with them and doing a few last-minute fun things with the kids before delivery. I wasn’t having many contractions, though, and I was taking plenty of breaks because Carter wasn’t feeling good and wanted me to sit on the couch with him. Even with all the breaks, I managed to get everything done that I had wanted to do that day. I even painted my toenails and waxed my eyebrows!
I stayed up way too late that night playing Threes (a game on my phone that Chad had just found). It was around 1:00 am before I got to sleep. I was having some contractions, but I’d been having them for weeks, so I didn’t pay much attention. I set my alarm to get up for morning church services and crashed.
An hour and a half later, I woke up and went to the bathroom. I was too groggy to realize it right away, but it had been a contraction that woke me up. When I got to the bathroom, I realized I had a little bit of bright red bleeding. That woke me up! I told Chad and then laid down for a few minutes to figure out what to do. Since the bleeding was light, I didn’t want to go in unless it seemed necessary because I knew they would want me to deliver right away. Above all else, I didn’t want whatever doctor happened to be on call delivering the baby. But at the same time, I didn’t want to risk the baby’s health. I decided to start timing contractions because while I was thinking, I had another one. I was still in a bit of denial because I remember wondering if there was a way I could hide how many contractions I was having until my scheduled c-section.
I started my contraction timer. During the next contraction, I felt a pop and a gush. I was terrified while I ran to the bathroom because I was sure the placenta had abrupted again and I was gushing blood. When I got to the bathroom, there was still just a little bit of bright red bleeding. I realized the pad was pretty wet, though. It took a minute for it to click that my water had broken (I’d never had my water break at home before…with Ava and Kelvin, the doctor broke it and with Carter I was already at 10 cm dilated and pushing).
I went back to the bedroom and told Chad that I thought my water had broken. He tried to convince me that it hadn’t because there wasn’t an enormous mess to clean up (I wasn’t the only one experiencing some denial!). I had to explain that it’s not always a huge gush, and sometimes it comes out a little at a time. While I was talking to him, I had another small gush of water, so I think that convinced him. He got up and started getting ready to wake the kids up.
I was in a fog. I kept asking Chad what I needed to do. I called my friend Miriam and apologized profusely for waking them up and asked if they could take the kids. She said of course, and I told them we’d be over in a little bit. Then I called my grandparents who were planning on leaving to come down in just a few hours anyway. I told them we had a curveball!
I was so glad that I had a list on top of my hospital bag that detailed the things I needed to add to it at the last minute. I was so stressed out and scattered. There’s no way I would have had the presence of mind to finish packing the bag without the list. And I had thought I’d made the list for Chad in case he had to finish packing the bag for me! I was also thankful I still had a bag packed for the kids! I had almost unpacked it on Friday because my grandparents were going to be here and the kids wouldn’t need to go anywhere when I delivered.
Chad woke the kids up and got them in the van while I finished getting things ready. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to put my contacts in, put on some makeup and take a final belly picture. But I didn’t. I was in full-blown panic mode. Not only was I worried about delivering with the on-call doctor, I was also pretty sure the baby would have to be in the NICU because she was only 36 weeks. I even told Chad not to bother grabbing her diaper bag because she wouldn’t be able to be with us for awhile.
I got in the van and sat on the towel Chad had laid out because I was still leaking fluid. On our way to our friends’ house, I kept saying, “This is not the plan! This is not the way this was supposed to go! I’m not supposed to have to deal with labor AND a c-section! It’s supposed to be one or the other! What if I have her in the car? What if I bleed to death because we don’t get to the hospital in time?” I started hyperventilating at one point. I can’t remember another time in my life when I was that stressed out.
We dropped the kids off and sped back across town to the hospital. We were almost hoping to get pulled over to get a police escort! LOL I called the on-call line on our way back and found out that Dr. Dickson was on call. At least it was a doctor I was familiar with. She had done my D&C after Carter and she had been on call when I was in triage for the baby’s heart rate. I explained to her that my water had broken and I’d had two placenta abruptions and possible placenta previa and that I’d had a c-section scheduled for Wednesday. She definitely sounded a little worried after I told her about my abruptions. I also tried calling my mom, but her phone wasn’t near her bed.
When we got to the hospital around 3:30 am, I told Chad we had to get in the hospital before I had another contraction. I never bothered to time my contractions after I realized my water had broken, but they were definitely coming fast and furious. We got inside and I saw the sign that said we had to check in with security and provide photo ID. The security guard asked how far I was and Chad said my water had broken, so he said, “That’s all I needed to hear, go on up.”
We checked in with admissions and before they could get me into triage, Dr. Dickson had gotten to the hospital. She asked me more questions about why I was having a c-section and the nurse told her that my chart said that I also had a possible placenta accreta (which I hadn’t heard before). They had me change into the hospital gown. I had to get Chad to come in the bathroom and pick my clothes up off the floor because I didn’t think I could bend down and get them. I had another gush of blood-tinged fluid come out on the floor while he was getting my clothes.
I got in the bed in triage and they started asking me all the check-in questions and taking my blood and giving me my IV. They were also ordering lots of blood to be brought to the operating room. It sounded like everyone who knew the situation (doctor, nurses, anesthesiologists, etc.) was ordering blood in case I started to bleed out during the surgery. I was having really painful, frequent contractions the entire time. Dr. Dickson came in and asked more questions about my placenta. She said, “Oh, I remember your placenta! I saw pictures of your placenta!” She had been the doctor on call when Dr. Jackson was drawing pictures of it. It made me feel a little better that at least she knew something about the situation. If I couldn’t have my doctor do the delivery, she was the next best thing.
Finally, I was all checked in and Chad was changed into his scrubs.
They wheeled my bed down to the elevator to go to surgery. When we got to the operating room, Chad had to wait outside while they prepped me, but he was able to see everything that was going because there was a window in the door.
Getting prepped for surgery is a blur for me. I remember having to move from the bed to the table and telling them I couldn’t because I was having a contraction, so they pretty much had to lift me. And I remember getting the spinal and being amazed at how quickly it worked. I was having a contraction at the time and the pain just vanished all of a sudden.
I also remember the anesthesiologists discussing where they were going to put Chad. One said that he could push a stool over near my head and the other responded that he didn’t want him on a stool in case he passed out. LOL
Finally, it was time to start. The doctor asked me if I could feel anything (the anesthesiologist told me she was pinching me) and I said no, so she started the surgery. I had been told to be prepared to feel pressure and tugging. What I didn’t realize was that even though I couldn’t feel pain, my body would still react like it was being cut open. My chest started feeling tight and heavy and it was hard to breathe. I had to focus on taking deep, slow breaths, or I started hyperventilating. I got a pounding headache in the back of my head and down the back of my neck, and my shoulders tensed up painfully. I’m sure I sounded like a total hypochondriac because I kept telling the anesthesiologist every discomfort, but I was really nervous and didn’t want to die on the operating table or something because they didn’t realize something was going wrong until it was too late. Thankfully, the anesthesiologist told me he could give me something for the pounding headache as soon as the baby was out, and it knocked it right out.
After a minute or so, I heard a gurgly cry and asked Chad if she was OK. He told me she was out and then she started crying more. Kaylee River was born at 4:34 am, two hours after I’d woken up to contractions.
It was really hard not being able to see anything and see if she was OK for myself. I kept asking everyone if she was OK, especially if she would stop crying for a few seconds. I don’t remember if Chad told me her measurements (6 lbs, 2.7 ounces, 19 inches), or if one of the nurses did, but I was so happy to have a tiny baby for once!
Finally, the nurse brought her up by my head and let me see her before they took her upstairs to the nursery to do her assessment. I didn’t cry when any of the other kids were born, but I did when I finally saw that she was here and she was OK. It was such a long, hard road to get her here and it was such a relief to finally have her here and healthy.
While I was getting stitched up, Chad asked Dr. Dickson about the mass of blood vessels and she said she hadn’t seen them (my doctor later told me that they probably contracted along with my uterus as soon as the baby was out), but she had seen the spot on my placenta where it had abrupted. He asked if she thought I could have had a vaginal birth and she said yes, but she later told us that the baby had been positioned to come out face first and it would have been a horrible labor that probably would have ended in a c-section anyway.
After I got stitched up, they took me back upstairs to the room I’d be staying in for the rest of my hospital stay. I got Benadryl in my IV for the terrible itching from the anesthesia and the nurse got our fingerprints for the baby’s birth certificate.
Finally, they brought her in to us! It was indescribable to hold her for the first time. So many prayers, tears, hopes, and dreams had led up to this. Over the last eight months, there had been so many times I thought we’d lost her. So many times I thought she would never hold her. So many times she and I had stumped the doctors. All things considered, our story should not have ended so happily. But we had defied the odds and she was here and we were both fine. She is truly a miracle baby.
I remembered back to my first appointment with my high risk doctor when he told me I only had a 10-15% chance of making it to full term (37 weeks). And I didn’t make it to 37 weeks, but I made it close enough!
She didn’t need any NICU time, though there was worry about her blood sugar levels in the beginning. If she hadn’t gotten a feeding tube at one point and then gotten better readings after that, she would have been in the NICU for a bit. But we avoided that and she was in my room with me for the whole three days I was in the hospital and then we were able to bring her home with us right away. That’s just not something you take for granted when you spend months preparing yourself for a NICU stay.
This pregnancy was not what we thought it would be when we got that positive pregnancy test back in December. It’s not what we would have chosen for ourselves. It brought us places we never wanted to go. It changed us.
And in the end, it was completely, 100% worth it.
A few weeks ago, Carter had a nasty stomach bug and we put him in disposable diapers for a few days. I figured it was a good time to get pictures of our entire cloth diaper stash while it was all clean.
I keep a lot of our diapers in a 3-drawer rolling cart. I pulled the drawers out to take pictures so you could see all of them.
Here is the backbone of our stash — pocket diapers! This is Carter’s drawer and he has all of the boyish and gender neutral diapers in it, but he definitely has enough for both him and Baby Girl to use once she has grown into one-size diapers. The left row is a Katydid, several Kawaii’s, several Fuzzi Bunz, a Lil Smudgeez and some Alvas. The middle row is a few more Alva’s (in the back) and BumGenius 4.0′s. The third row is all Bum Genius 4.0′s.
We have also acquired a Chaplin BumGenius 4.0 since I took these stash pictures.
This is the baby’s drawer. On the left are her BumGenius 4.0′s and Freetimes. These are all one-size so she probably won’t fit in them right away, but there wasn’t enough room in Carter’s drawer, so I put all the girly ones in here. The middle row is newborn all-in-ones. There’s a mixture: a Thirsties, some Lil Joey’s, a GroVia, a couple Nana’s Bottoms, and some THX. The far right row is 6 BumGenius newborn AIO’s in the front and 6 Green Mountain Diapers fitteds in the back. We also have 2 newborn Simplex AIO’s and 5 GMD newborn workhorses on their way to us.
The last drawer in the cart is hybrids. The left row is pre-”stuffed” Flips with a GroVia shell and inserts in the back. The middle row is more pre-”stuffed” Flips with some me-made inserts in the back. And the right row is a couple Flip covers, a couple Flip inserts, and more me-made Flip inserts. This drawer is getting re-done because the Flips used to be our night-time diapers (that’s why they were pre-stuffed), but Carter isn’t as much of a heavy wetter anymore so we’ve been able to switch to BG 4.0′s with an extra hemp insert. So I’ve been replacing the elastic in the Flip covers to get them ready for Baby Girl to use with prefolds and flats. Flip covers are my very favorite for newborns.
This is what the top of the cart looks like. On the right are premium-size prefolds (for Carter, though he barely ever uses them right now because we have more than enough pocket diapers for just one in cloth). On the right is the rainbow of newborn and infant prefolds I dyed when I was pregnant with Carter. There are several embelished preemie prefolds on top.
This is what the top of the cart typically looks like (with wipes in front of the prefolds….Baby’s on the left, Carter’s on the right).
I also have baskets of cloth diaper supplies on the changing table. The first basket has fleece liners (for the fitteds and prefolds) and wet bags. I typically have a pail liner in there too….one is usually in here and one is in the pail.
These are their covers. On the left are the preemie and newborn covers. In the middle are the pattern-coordinating covers for Carter and Baby Girl (mostly Thirsties). And on the right are Carter’s covers.
And this is the wool basket. On the left is the newborn wool. A lot of it is a little more boyish because I knit some of it when I was pregnant with Carter. I still have more in the works in super-girly colors for Baby Girl. In the middle are the changing pad covers. And on the right is Carter’s wool (shorties and longies).
This is what the whole changing table looks like. On top is a pack of disposable diapers for each of them, along with some disposable wipes. There is also a stack of 6 Green Mountain Diaper flats (we have another 6 on the way). On the first shelf is the basket of covers and the basket of wet bags and fleece liners. On the bottom shelf is the basket of wool, some extra containers of cloth wipes (in the back on the right) and extra fleece liners (in the front on the right).
These are their accessories. In the front right basket are Boingos (I refuse to use Snappi’s anymore). In the front left basket are Baby Girl’s accessories so far…nail clipper, bulb syringe, thermometer, nail files. In the back left basket are their CJ’s BUTTer jars (they’re two deep in the basket…unopened ones are underneath the opened ones). that basket also holds Vick’s Baby Rub, prescription diaper rash ointment, and Carter’s thermometer. In the back right basket is the CJ’s BUTTer spray and wipes spray (Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion and two bottles of Baby Bum Drops). And behind the baskets is baby wash, baby lotion, Glade spray for when we change a particularly stinky diaper and deodorant bars that we put on top of the ceiling fan to keep the stinkies away.
There you have it! With adding another growing bum to the house soon, this will obviously be changing frequently, but this is what we’re starting out with. I’m excited to have two in cloth again!
Well, it feels like we have even fewer answers now than we did when I wrote that post last night. The placenta appears to have moved up, but there is a mass of blood vessels very close to the cervix and they don’t know if it’s attached to the placenta or if it’s attached to the uterus. They spent literally 30 minutes going back and forth between ultrasound machines, looking back at past ultrasounds, and drawing pictures of my placenta to show other doctors. My OB said he’s never seen anything like this, and he doesn’t think the high risk doctor has any idea what’s going on either (I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been told by a doctor that they’ve never seen anything like what’s going on with me/baby).
I never got much closure from the high risk appointment because the baby’s heart rate was almost 200 which is way too high, so they sent me up to triage to be monitored. Her heart rate stayed normal the whole time I was there, so they sent me home. I tried to ask questions about what they recommended for delivery (whether it would be a c-section), but all they would say was that they weren’t going to worry about it, because their main concern was whether or not I was going to deliver today (obviously, I didn’t need to though).
So I was hoping for more answers from my OB, but that’s when he told me they basically have no idea why those blood vessels are there, and he’s already been on the phone with two doctors about me today. At this point, it’s more waiting. Since they don’t know if the placenta is attached to the vessels, they are willing to let me be induced and try to deliver normally. It’s just a matter of when, since they don’t want to risk another abruption. My OB said they will probably induce around 37 weeks, but we’re just going to take it on a week-by-week basis.
So more waiting. I should be used to it by now. This entire pregnancy has been all about reaching a milestone only to find out it’s not nearly over and that we have to “wait and see” some more. I’m planning to keep busy these next few weeks to try to keep my mind off everything. I have a few projects to finish up, some cleaning I’d like to get done (unfortunately, raleigh nc house cleaning is not planning a stop at my house!) and I want to get everything ready for the next school year. I’ll also start going in twice a week for non-stress tests and once a week for OB appointments, so Baby Girl will be well-monitored. And I’ll see the high risk doctor again in the middle of August, if I’m still pregnant then.
I will be 34 weeks along on Tuesday! At the beginning of this pregnancy, I never thought I would manage to stay pregnant this long, but somehow I have! I haven’t even had any bleeding since about 30 weeks.
Tomorrow I have an appointment in the morning with my high risk doctor and we find out where we go from here. If the placenta previa hasn’t resolved, it will be a c-section for sure. My high risk doctor said that the uterus doesn’t really grow after 35 weeks (the baby grows, but the fluid levels go down somewhat, so the uterus stays about the same), so if it hasn’t moved by now, it isn’t going to.
In the afternoon, I have an appointment with my OB to discuss what the high risk doctor finds and schedule whatever needs to be scheduled. He already told me that if the previa isn’t resolved, he’ll schedule a c-section at 37 weeks because he doesn’t want to risk another abruption. I strongly suspect that even if it has resolved, he will want to schedule an induction at 37 weeks for the same reason. I’m OK with it, because at this point I don’t really care what has to be done, as long as we get a healthy baby. I have no expectations or preconceived notions about this birth.
So that’s where we stand right now. It’s crazy to think that we will probably have a baby in about 3 weeks! I’ve had everything ready since about 25 weeks (when I was in the hospital last), but I still have some projects I want to squeeze into these last few weeks. I’m running out of time!
This fall when we start school again, Ava is going to start piano lessons. It won’t be long before Kelvin will follow along (probably next fall). After they have a firm knowledge of music from learning the piano, they’ll be free to pick their own instruments. I have to admit, I’m looking forward to poring over www.musician.com to get the perfect supplies for whatever instrument they’ve chosen. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do!
One of my favorite parts of being an Influenster is mail day! Every so often, I get an email informing me that I’ve been selected to receive a Vox Box and then the waiting begins! I usually don’t know for sure what’s in the box, so it’s extra fun when I finally get to open it.
The TLC Box Box didn’t disappoint!
I got to try out a bar of Ivory Soap, a trial size pack of Puffs Plus Lotion, Anew Reversalist Complete Renewal Express Wrinkle Smoother, Neo To Go (perfect for the diaper bag!), a Shell gas rewards card, and a coupon for Breyer’s Gelato. I have to say, my favorite out of the whole box was the gelato!! I am SOLD on it!
Summer is here, and although I haven’t been able to spend much time out in the sun (one of the side effects of being stuck in a hospital bed for days), the kids have been spending lots of time out there! I heard they were in their wading pool before 8:00 am this morning!
One of the biggest things on my must-buy-for-summer list is always sunscreen. It’s so important to avoid overexposure to the sun!
I was thrilled to receive the Coppertone Clearly Sheer Sunscreen to review as a BzzAgent this summer. This is truly amazing sunscreen. I hate it when you spray sunscreen on and it leaves a greasy feeling all over your skin. You can barely tell that this is on! It is non-greasy, it won’t clog pores, it’s completely sheer, and it even looks great under makeup! My favorite is the spray because it’s easy to spray the kids down, and it absorbs within a few seconds so I don’t have to worry about it coming off as soon as they get in the pool.
In all, I can’t recommend this sunscreen highly enough!
Disclosure: I received samples of Coppertone Clearly Sheer Sunscreen to review from BzzAgent. All opinions are my own.
In case you can’t tell from the title, I’m writing this from the hospital where I’m on strict bed rest.
Yesterday, I had gushes of bright red bleeding so we rushed to the hospital. They started steroid shots to develop the baby’s lungs and admitted me for monitoring. They said I would be here at least until today so I could finish the round of steroids (it’s two shots, 24 hours apart).
My OB is on call today and told me I’ll be staying at least until tomorrow when I can see my high risk specialist. He’ll decide what the best course of action is and when I can go home.
Last night was a bit rough. I was having quite a few contractions, the baby wouldn’t stay on the monitors and I barely slept at all. The contractions have calmed down today so I haven’t had to start the magnesium drip (yet). Hopefully they will stay calm overnight so that I have a better chance of going home tomorrow. The big kids came to visit today, but I miss Carter (it would have been too hard for him to be able to see me here and then have to leave without me again).
At least I’m off the monitors for now. Being practically chained to the bed, unable to move for fear that the monitor would stop picking up the baby’s heart rate was no fun! I will definitely be looking forward to being back in my own bed, and my own house where I control the temperature! (Let me tell you, this hospital does not need Durham air conditioning repair …theirs is working JUST fine!) And I’ll really be looking forward to eating something other than hospital food. Thankfully, Grandma sent REAL coffee with Chad this morning!
I had an appointment with my OB today. Nothing has changed. I’m still bleeding every day (and have been for nearly a month), but Baby Girl still looks perfect.
The topic of doing steroid shots for her lungs came up. Because they only “last” for seven days and there’s no evidence to suggest that things are getting worse right now, I think we’re going to hold off on doing the steroid shots for now. If things appear to be getting worse again (heavier bleeding, more contractions), we’ll revisit the idea. My OB did say he was going to call and talk to my high risk doctor about it and see what he thinks, though. The reason we would still consider doing them is that I would need 2 shots, 24 hours apart. If Baby Girl is coming early, it will be an emergency and we won’t have the 24 hours. So we’ll see.
My next appointment is with my high risk doctor in a couple weeks. I’m kind of upset that I’m not being monitored weekly like I was promised, but I’m going to talk to my high risk doctor about it and see what he thinks when I see him.
Today I had my appointment with the high risk specialist. They checked several possible sources of bleeding. I can’t remember what they all were, but they said for sure that it isn’t coming from the baby, so it is coming from a placenta abruption, which we pretty much already knew. It’s almost impossible for them to find the exact spot, but I guess it doesn’t really matter that much anyway.
My placenta is still low-lying and he thinks it could still move up, but if she has to be gotten out quickly anytime soon (I’m 23 weeks), it will have to be a c-section because it’s too low right now.
The baby looks really good. All of her measurements are perfect. My cervix is a little short, which he’s a little concerned about. I think that has changed recently because they always said it was long and closed at past ultrasounds.
He said I have a 10-15% chance of making it to term and I have a better than 50% chance (at this point) of the baby surviving. Both of those stats kind of blew me away. He said he has high hopes of me making it to 32 weeks. I’m not sure if that means he thinks I have a really good chance of making it that far, or if it means it’s a lofty goal to shoot for. I’m going to ask my doctor when I see him on Monday.
In addition to not lifting, I’m now not allowed to bend over either. I thought not lifting was hard, this is going to be ridiculous. It’s so automatic to just bend down.
My doctor had said I’d only have to see the high risk specialist one time, but I guess it’s going to be a regular thing (he kept saying I was a “special” patient…I kept thinking I don’t want to be special when it comes to things like this!!). I’ll keep seeing my OB weekly and I go back to the high risk doctor in 3 weeks for another ultrasound.
I think that’s everything. I don’t think I feel any better or worse about any of it (except those chances he gave me…those freaked me out a bit). I felt like I needed to keep asking questions to understand it better, but there were no more questions that they could give me answers to. They don’t really know exactly what’s going on or what’s going to happen and I just have to keep being monitored closely.