The night before I checked into Foothills, I realized I hadn’t even worn my new mat swimsuit once or been to the river with my boys. Even though it was 7:30 at night, it was gorgeous out, so to my river we went! It was just what I needed. Derick took some pictures for me in all my 8 month-prego glory. Ha ha. Lots of lumps and bumps and I unfortunately re-gained the full 50 pounds I had lost, but I sorta’ just don’t care because dang I was just so happy to BE PREGNANT. Here’s why. :)
If I’m being honest, I’d admit that my high-risk Foothills ob-gyn Dr. Suri who delivered Watson and who I love, love wanted me to tie my tubes afterwards, and told me in no uncertain terms it was her advice that I absolutely do not have another baby. I had placenta previa with Watson, where the placenta is literally sitting on your cervix, (not comfy!) and provides the risk of causing unstoppable bleeds basically anywhere from 28 weeks on. These bleeds could resulting in pre-term birth, an emergency hysterectomy, or worst case, the mama bleeds out. At 30 weeks in the middle of the night, I woke up to a very scary, slow faucet-like continuous bleed. After a long, unforgettable night, it miraculously stopped to all of the doctors’ surprise, and I remained in and near the Foothills Hospital for 7 more weeks in case of another bleed and need for premature delivery of baby in order to stop it. Foothills Hospital is where all the NICU rockstar specialists and high-risk ob-gyns deliver, so it had to be only that hospital.
But unfortunately, this wasn’t all! We also knew there was a high risk of placenta accreta that had taken place inside my uterus, which did prove to be the case. It’s where the placenta embeds itself into the inside of your uterus, and it needs to literally be cut away (it usually just tugs free via the umbilical cord). The delivery took a couple of hours, and my doctor did cut it away, and then feverishly sewed up the inside of half of my uterus in hopes the bleeding would stop, negating the need for an emergency hysterectomy and blood transfusions. She inserted a balloon that they then inflated to keep pressure against the inside of my uterus, in hopes that I wouldn’t hemorrhage afterwards and they wouldn’t need to go back in to stop the bleeding. It worked! I “just barely” didn’t need the blood transfusions that were on standby for me, I was weak and greenish in color, but Watson, mama, and my uterus were all safe! I was SO THANKFUL to keep my uterus!
After realizing my still-broken heart just couldn’t be satisfied with a hard NO regarding a future baby, Dr. Suri kindly told me to come back in two years. She knew all about my history with the twins of course, and her colleague had even delivered them. For those two years, we pretended Watson was our last baby, in case he was. I even came to complete peace with that fact that if he needed to be, that was okay. For months and months I couldn’t even look at Watson without thinking, “You didn’t die! And neither did I! We got to bring you home, and I got to come home with you!” I felt so fearful going into my delivery with him, just praying we would both make it. I’ve never really let on exactly how “high-risk” everything was with Watson, because let’s be serious, I was contemplating doing it AGAIN. And I just didn’t need people looking at me with crazy eyes, ya’ know?
After endless research, a long talk with Dr. Suri’s awesome colleague Dr. Albrecht two years later (Dr. Suri ended up being a patient herself in the ER the day my long-awaited appointment happened), soooooo much talking between Derick and I, prayer, temple attendance, faith, and I’d like to think some good old-fashioned mama intuition, we for some (insane? crazy? wonderful?) reason felt good about getting pregnant again. It’s tricky balancing medical fact with spiritual knowledge and faith! The facts were I should expect to nearly 100% have placenta previa again, and this time they wouldn’t wait for a bleed. I would move to Calgary as soon as 20 weeks for the rest of the pregnancy. Just as much for my safety as the baby’s. Dr. Albrecht told me I was a 7 out of 10 crazy for getting pregnant again, (I made her pick a number ha!), but that most every outcome albeit scary was manageable basically if I was all ready a patient at Foothills, such as a preterm baby and emergency hysterectomy. I’ll always be appreciative to her for giving us the tiniest window of hope.
Placenta accreta was not only most certain, but placenta per creta as well was extremely plausible, where the placenta travels right through the uterine wall, attaching itself to other organs. This would cause me to lose a part of my bladder and intestines, and of course my uterus as well. And I mean, worst WORST case scenario is I would bleed out and die. It may sound crazy, but deep down I felt bleeding out just wouldn’t happen, especially if I was renting a place blocks from Foothills, which was hopefully our plan. Also, Derick’s bladder is a hundred times smaller than mine! Lol. I felt a small part of my bladder, intestines and my uterus were all great trades for another healthy baby! Yes, I know how insane that sounds…but also kinda’ logical to the mamas at least hopefully? Yikes.
Imagine our relief when we found out I didn’t have placenta previa! Even though we chose to have another baby and did feel good about it, we still didn’t KNOW anything for sure as far as how it would turn out of course, and felt very apprehensive about it still! It was better than any Christmas morning ever finding out things were normal! What a miracle. After wondering for two years if Watson was our last baby, being pregnant at all let alone getting to have a normal healthy pregnancy felt totally unreal. I got to stay home and be with my family for literally months longer than I’d expected! Every day waking up pregnant in my own bed felt like a little gift. :) Of course, at 33 weeks, it was discovered on my ultrasound that my uterus was so thin at the site of my incisions, that it wasn’t even registering at all on the ultrasound. Apparently it’s very rare (of course, always my luck) to literally see nothing there at all. Still, the ultrasound tech didn’t think my doctor would change the plan much other than maybe deliver at 36 weeks instead of 37. After a quick stop at the mall, I met with my doctor, and she reluctantly told me I’d need to be hospitalized for the rest of the pregnancy, knowing it would be disappointing for me. I shouldn’t have been shocked. Hello, you’ve had five c-sections Pam! But I definitely was. Not once had any doctor told me my uterus was thin at delivery, (and I always made sure to ask!). I just wasn’t prepared to have to stay in the hospital at all after feeling like we’d all ready dodged the big scary previa bullet.
But there I sat! And turns out, I was able to get day passes all my last week. We had such a good time with the boys around Calgary, sort of a last all-boy family hoorah. I was delivered Thursday, July 28 at 35 weeks, 1 day. Only a two-week stay total. They were still expecting placenta accreta and were not sure how my extremely thin uterus would sew back up, but we were confident things would go well. And guess what, it did! NO placenta accreta, and my uterus was, “about a millimeter thick of muscle actually, better than we thought it would be.” Boom. I had a few doctors request pictures of how thin the actual uterus was. Yes, I looked at the pictures…I looked like steak. Ha! They sort of regarded me like a funny specimen. Like who actually gets pregnant after a previa and an accreta? Oh, me I guess. “And just to be clear, your doctor DID advise you not to get pregnant again, right?” But, delivery number six went off thankfully without a hitch. Our sweet baby girl Seven Willow did spend about four nights in the nicu, but for nothing serious. She was 6 lbs 10 oz, a fatty for her little age! Everything about Sev from her sex to her existence has felt surreal…and sort of still does four months later. :)
I really only share this all now because I know how lonely it can feel when you’re trying to make a decision, and while I would NEVER advise anyone to go against their doctor’s advice, I just wanted to share our own experience just in case it helped anyone at all I guess? Thanks for reading. I may not have any amazing natural birthing stories, but I definitely still got stories. :)