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Posted by: Dana Lisa Young   |   5/19/2011   |   Georgia

Survival and healing

I never expected to have a c-section. I had planned for a natural birth, did prenatal yoga, hired a doula and took childbirth classes. After 36 hours of labor that never progressed past 7 cms, I walked down to the operating room to have my daughter surgically born. The first sign that something was amiss was when the attending OB told me that I had placenta accreta, and it had to be surgically removed. Once out of recovery, I was able to bond with my daughter. She slept with me for part of the night, until the nurses early came to do their rounds. They raised the bed so that I could sit up and I began blacking out. I had been bleeding out for hours, undetected. (A routine hematocrit stat was ordered post-surgery, but never performed.) My blood pressure crashed and I went into shock. I could barely breathe, move or speak, the pain was excruciating and I was fighting hard not to let the darkness take over. Nurses and doctors flooded into the room to stabilize me as my baby was taken to the nursery.My blood counts indicated I had suffered a massive hemorrhage. I lost approximately half the blood in my body, and it took several days before my blood levels were somewhat stabilized. I narrowly escaped a life-saving hysterectomy, for which I am very grateful. My husband didn’t tell me until after I’d gone home that there had been a crash cart parked outside my room the entire time. He provided most of the care for our daughter because I was unable to get out of bed for 5 days. I was too weak to even pick her up. Miraculously, with an incredible amount of support from my husband and several lactation consultants in the hospital, I was eventually able to breastfeed my daughter. Nursing her helped my battered uterus contract down to control the bleeding. It also helped us reconnect, since I don’t remember much of those first few days of her life.About a week after my daughter was born, I was finally allowed to go home. The doctors, nurses and staff stopped what they were doing and watched me silently as I was wheeled down to the elevator. It still hadn’t sunk in how close to death I’d come until I went for my post-partum visit at the OB’s office. The office staff gasped when I walked into the waiting room and ran up to see me. It was a very long recovery. I had a couple of small setbacks and still deal with some intermittent PTSD, but I was extremely fortunate to have my family, friends and members of our church support us during that time.


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Personal Tags: Atlanta GA, birth, c-section, placenta accreta, birth trauma, hemmorhage