Sunday, September 22, 2013

Memories of ICU

I said my last post that I would share some of the things that I went through during my recovering from the birth of my daughter. So here goes. For me, the last things I can remember where in the operating theatre. Asking the date so I would know when Marcella was born, next was being prep quickly for the operation to get her out. I had people putting needles and IV's in both arms, having another doctor do a speculum to see what they could see, being asked heaps of questions like when was the last time I eat. While being asked these questions one the of the assistants prepping me started waxing down stairs. This was a huge surprise. There was no, I'm going to do this, just rip, totally unexpected. With other c-sections I had been numb before they did that, so didn't even know that they had done it. This time because they where putting me under, which is less safe for the baby they did all the prep work and left putting me under until the very last minute. While all this was going on I was having contractions and blood was gushing out. I then remember the Anaesthetist telling me that there would be someone putting pressure on my throat so that no food would come up and choke me, and that it may feel like I'm being suffocated by the mask as I go under, and it did. I remember taking in as big and as deep of breaths as I could to get that feeling over with quickly. I only remember having to take 3 big, deep breaths.

The next thing I knew I was slowly waking up with wires, iv's, tubes, and bruises everywhere. I was still on life support. I remember having very little strength at all and being in a world of pain. The breathing tube was down my throat, and there was a soft board in my mouth. It was rigged up so that if I tried to pull the tube out I would start to gag, which alerted the nurse to what I was up to. All I wanted to do was get that tube out of my mouth. Then I had what I thought was a strong need to go to the toilet and poo. I just felt so panicked because I needed to go to the toilet but I could get my message out. Inside I was screaming for help, I need to go to the toilet. I think it took a while before anyone could understand me. When they finally did someone explained to me "no, it's ok, you don't need to go to the toilet. You have bag collecting you poo. That's what your feeling". Oh finally I could breath a sign of relief I wasn't going to poop myself. I didn't have a clue how I would go to the toilet in that state anyway. I didn't even have enough strength to touch my face. I would take all my strength to get my hand anywhere near my face to get the breathing tube out.

I was be in and out of consciousness. Every time I woke I would see a nurse sitting at the end of my bed writing notes. I don't have a clue about what on. After what seemed like several hours the doctors finally came and gave to order to get my breathing tube out. Oh gosh that was a relief I was so happy and scared about what it would feel like getting it out. When it did come out I vomited every where. I was covered in vomit. I had a feeding tube down my nose which they took out the next day.

Shortly after I had my breathing tube taken out the men arrive to help the nurse clean me up. The men are the strong arms of the ICU. They would come every two hours to roll me. My gosh the names I would call them inside my head. It was so painful. They would roll me on my side, and I would spend the next two hours rolling myself back onto my back, and much less painful position, and just when I finally go more comfortable, they would come back and roll me to the other side. I didn't like seeing them at all. At that time was on a steady follow of Morphine.

The next day, because I was awake the NICU were going to bring Marcella down to see me and try to get feeding going. So ICU moved me to a private room. I remember the room so well. On the left side of me was a wall of windows. I was so tired and weak. Every time I feel asleep I would have nightmares, and I would have to use all my might to jolt myself out of the nightmare and wake up. Only to drift back into sleep and have it happen all over again. Every time I closed my eyes it felt like someone was standing next to me, and not a friend. I would open my eyes and check, and there was no one there. One dream I keep having over and over again was, me lying in the bed, and the window next to my bed would suddenly turn into a roller door (like a garage door). Then I would get out of bed and walk out the door. I was worried that I would get lost and didn't want to walk out the door but I couldn't stop myself from doing it. Outside it was dark and night time, I couldn't see anything other than a few feet in front of me, there was just grass. Like being in the country, it was quiet and dark, no lights other than one near the door, like a sensor light. Then directly outside the room was a hill. At the top of the hill was an aboriginal man playing the didgeridoo. At the bottom of the hill was an orchid. Then from behind me my Dad (who has passed away) would appear and say he planted that Orchard. I got the feeling it was his favourite plant. It was at about this point in the dream/nightmare that I would wake up. I call it a nightmare because I always felt panicked and scared during and after it. Now looking back I wonder if it's a bit of memory from my time on life support. The idea of leaving this room, not being able to stop it, and being really worried I wouldn't be able to get back. I hadn't been told what happen at this point.

When they moved me to this room, they gave me a morphine pump to help with the pain. However I was so weak for all the blood, and operations I wasn't strong enough to press the button to give myself a dose. They had it set up so I could have a dose every 5 mins. But I could only have a dose when someone walked into my room. It took another day til I was strong enough to get that darn button down. After the first night in that room my poop pipe keep having explosions. It was very embarrassing and smelly. So the Nurse decided we should just take it out. So that was one less thing inside/attached to my body. However it took a little while for me to regain control over my bowels, and trust what was going to come out my butt. In the process of doing so I had a few accidents. The first nurse I had was so lovely about it all. So just got on with cleaning it up and keep reassure me that it was ok and not to worry. However the next nurse I had was not so happy about the situation and while cleaning up the mess was quiet ruff with my down stairs area and rubbed so hard that she made me very sore and bleed. It was another pain to add to the all ready painful experience. Not only was it painful, it was very degrading. It's already a really horrible position to be in. To go from an fairly able person ( on bed rest) to not being able to toilet yourself is an awful experience in it self, with out feeling even more degraded. Another unusual experience was having someone brush my teeth for me. That was weird and no something I would like to repeat at all. Also being bathed in a bed, having my hair washed in bed with shower cap type thing, and eventually having someone shower me.

It finally came time for me to start physiotherapy and start the process of sitting up, standing, and then trying to walk again. Oh gosh another world of pain. Not only the physical pain but also the technical pain of managing all my accessories, I had an iv in each arm, my catheter bag, two blood drainage bags, and a stoma bag collecting Lymphatic fluid from the open incision on my groin. My physio was very nice, and spoke in a gentle reassuring voice, which helped the process.

Marcella was brought down to me around every 4 hours during the day, so we could try and feed, but being early she didn't stay awake for long, and I didn't have much strength to hold her for long. We started expressing, the lactation consultant had expressed colostrum and gave it to her will I was still on life support, and expressed me a few other times, they did however have to through the milk away because of the drugs that they had me on.

After 5 days on life support, and 3 days in a private room, I was released from ICU and moved to maternity ward where I could be closer to my baby. I stayed there for another three weeks. The Staff in ICU were on the most part very lovely, caring and supportive. Out of all the Nurses and attendants I had during my time there, there was only that one that it more difficult. I thank them very much for all their time, and care in what was a very hard time.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Marcella's Birth Story, from Ben's Point of View.

From time to time things happen in our lifetimes that test our faith. This is the story of an experience that tested mine that resulted in another glorious blessing to our family.

My wife and I are 33 years old and we are already the proud parents of six children. We are proud to have a big family and we love the joy our children bring to us; and even though no child of ours has been an 'accident', this time when my wife told me she was pregnant it was a bit of a shock. It seems we were in for much more of a shock as time went by. After a woeful first trimester filled with incapacitating weakness, bleeding, nausea and vomiting, we were all glad for the promise of a reprieve in the second trimester. The third trimester however, brought some more significant problems for us. By 20 weeks she had already had about 10 bleeds which would mean a trip to the hospital each time to check that our baby was still alive. At the 20 week scan she was diagnosed with placenta previa, at which point the doctors where hoping it would move during the remainder of the pregnancy. Around the 32 week mark she had another scan at which the doctors found that Christina had complete placenta previa. A condition that means that the placenta was lying unusually low in your uterus and covering Christina's cervix. Doctors informed Christina that a caesarean section would definitely be needed, she could not deliver naturally. After this diagnosis, the doctors at the hospital kept a careful eye on Christina, checking week by week to see if there was any change in her status. Christina, at about this time decided to set up a facebook group to let people know what was going on in her pregnancy (family and church friends often would ask her how she was going, and found this the best way to tell those close to us what was going on). This was her third post after creating the group:

'Welcome to the group! I'm currently 32 +5 weeks pregnancy with another blessing. From my last ultra sound (a week ago) I have grade 4 placenta previa, with the placenta over my old c-section scars, which means there is a possibility of having placenta accreta. Our baby has also been diagnosed with a clubbed left foot, we won't know the degree of until birth. I'm booked in for a c-section on 25 of June, which will make me 37 weeks. As long as I don't have bleeding before that. Other wise delivery could be any day'.

As it turned out, the days ticked slowly over and it seemed less and less likely that Christina would be able to deliver naturally, and the placenta accreta issue, I found out, occurs when the placenta attaches too deep in the uterine wall but it does not penetrate the uterine muscle. Each doctor Christina consulted closer to the time appeared more and more concerned. It was firmly decided by the doctors that Christina would definitely need another ceasarean. The facebook group turned into a bit of a forum to ask people start praying, and to express her annoyance at having to jab herself (she suffered with prenatal diabetes too). 18 days before the C-section date she wrote this:

'As if there enough differences in this pregnancy baby is lying in half breech, half transverse position. Nothing can be simple and straight forward in this pregnancy'.

Having a baby in full breach position would prove much easier for the doctors to resolve than the position it had gotten itself into. Despite all of this happening, it was strangely humorous clearly seeing the baby's head sticking out of Christina's tummy, with the rest of her body curled up seeming to want to conserve space. The doctors also diagnosed our baby with Club foot, which worried christina a little, and the spectre of a forced hysterectomy loomed as well, as we both wanted the option of having more children as much as the ability to stop.

As the pregnancy progressed, Christina spent more and more time in bed, watching movies and crocheting. Facebook became one of the only links to the outside world, since she was unable to drive to places (I don't have my licence due to health problems). When online, Christina said little leading up to the birth except '15 days to go' or '8 days to go'. She struggled with lots of anxiety, feeling nervous about the operation. She did have a conversation or two with me about her wishes should she not make it through the operation, which concerned a bit, but I pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind.

With one week to go, on a Tuesday, I was sitting at TAFE during class time when I saw a sudden facebook message from Christina: It went like this

Ben Mathewson
Christina Mathewson
Home now
Ben Mathewson
Do you need me home now?
Christina Mathewson
Now Bleeding
Ben Mathewson
Ben Mathewson
Im nearly there
Have you called anyone?

I packed my bags very quickly and ran home. On the way I quickly wrote Im nearly there
Have you called anyone? No reply. While running home I heard the ominous sign of the Ambulance siren. When I had got there the ambulance staff were loading her up with a towel around her, about to drive to the hospital. Christina had also rung her best friend who was on her way over to look after our other children. The ambulance drove off after I got some instructions from Christina, and I caught a lift to the hospital with my kind next door neighbour after Christina's friend arrived. My head was a blur. I didn't know what was going to happen next. It was comforting talking about something else in the car.

When I got to the hospital I ran out and talked to the ambulance people, asking them for her. They told me to go upstairs to find out where she was. Doctors directed me to theatre and told me I could only go in quickly to say a few words to Christina before she went in. Reassured to see her, but heart still racing, I told her to 'stay calm', and 'it will all be okay', without really having the same confidence. After this, time seemed to drag. I was shown to a bed in a ward and continually asked by worried looking nurses if I wanted a cup of tea. After a couple of hours a nurse came to see me and tell me the baby is fine, and beautiful, and can be found in the nursery. Marcella Daphne Providence was born into the world 7 pounds, without sign of club foot, and perfect in every way, entirely unaware as babies are of the chaos around her. When I asked the nurse about Christina's wellbeing they said 'we don't know yet'. After about 5 hours of waiting I posted this under her name.

'please keep praying for christina. She is in hospital now. More news to come soon. (Ben)'

After I had nursed the baby for a little while and spend 7 hours in the hospital the nurses told me there was 'nothing I could do at this point' and that I may as well go home'. I took their advice and went home. Running on junk food and adrenaline all day I pondered what to tell the children. When I got home, christina's best friend had the house cleaned up and the children ready for bed. My oldest Sophie (9) was the one who was most worried. I told her that 'mummy was still sick, but the doctors were looking after her'. After trying to keep a smile on my face as if everything was normal, I was able to get 5 out of my six children to bed. My youngest (2) wrestled with me in the bed and screamed uncontrollably until 11 o'clock. After he'd finally quietened down I fell fast asleep.

I awoke two hour later to the sound of a male voice at the end of my bed, and someone firmly grabbing my foot to get my attention.
'Sir, SIR, it's officer.... someone here. I need you to wake up sir!'
After my eyes adjusted and I had finished shouting in fear, I discovered a policeman at the end of my bed.
'What!? What?! Who are you?'
'I'm officer 'such-and-such' (I found out later it was about 1 o clock and I STILL don't remember his name) and It's very important that you ring the hospital'
After stumbling, bleary eyed to the phone, and after the officer had repeated the number several times until my brain could comprehend it, I rang the hospital.

'I think that you need to come down here. We are doing all that we can, but your wife has lost a lot of blood and she might not survive'
There was no way I could get a babysitter at 1:00 in the morning.
'I'll come as soon as I can'. I said.

Not being able to go back to sleep I rang our friend at 6 in the morning and said that Christina was in trouble and I needed a babysitter as soon as I could. Once she had organised her own children she was over at our house by 7:00 as my second oldest (age 8) had just woken up. I made a decision, because my children needed to know the truth, and I didn't want them to resent me if Christina had died.
'Your mummy might die' I said to her, 'but the doctors are looking after her'. Perhaps because she had woken up, or because she was the calm, quiet child it didn't seem to register with her. I was trying to hold it together and not cry, so I changed the subject to the TV show she was watching.

When I got to the hospital the doctors told me that Christina was in a critical but stable condition, and they had stopped the bleeding, but she was 'not out of the woods yet' and would still be in theatre until 9. Distraught, I rang the hospital chaplain, and He said he would pray over christina. He came, and once Christina was back in intensive care he put oil on her head and prayed that she would live. Finally being face to face with Christina did not set my heart at ease. She was looking grey and had tubes protruding from everywhere, including a machine to help her breathe. I knew then what 'critical but stable' meant. I was asked to ring her mother which I did.
Once that chaplain had gone, another came to replace his shift. I spent hours talking to this kindly lady, just offloading and trying to express my anxiety and grief at what had happened.

After this, I waited at the hospital in my little room trying to rest, and watching TV while staff continued to fuss around me. I was asked at least 10 times a day whether I wanted a cup of tea. The staff cared for me and the neonatal nursery told me I needed to take pictures of all of the baby's 'first' things first baths, first cuddles etc, so that Christina could feel part of her story 'if she survives' I thought, but tried to scrub that thought away from my head. I was overwhelmed. And as much as I loved this little baby, I wanted her mum to be fine too. By that evening, and after many tears in private places I had an assurance from doctors that they had things under control. I wrote this post to our facebook friends

Hello, it's ben here again. It has been a very difficult day today, but I want to say thank you for everyone who prayed. I got to the hospital at 6 a.m. and the doctors gave a less than 30% of her surviving. She was in a critical condition. Right now, it looks like they have isolated her bleeding problem and they are feeling much more confident she will pull through. With your prayers and friendship, she has and will pull the rest of the way through, and my very disturbed spirit feels much more at peace now. There is still a small chance she will bleed again so the doctors are still watching her closely, but it is fair to say the battle is almost over. Thanks again. Christina and I are thankful to have such valuable friends. (Ben).

In the meantime, many things had happened in our family. My friends, and especially Christina's best friend, organised trips to the dentist for my oldest, meals to be delivered when I was at home (I am a pretty poor cook, but this ordeal has shown me how to cook at least. Our friends in homeschooling group and church groups organised babysitting, cleaning, prayer and the support of 'just someone to talk to'.

During that evening the doctors informed me that the following day they would be taking the packing off christina's stomach. The doctors informed me that they 'may have' isolated the bleeding and that if there is no infection and no continual bleeding, then she would be on the slow road to recovery. At 12 that day- 3 days after delivery date; the surgeon came to see me with a smile on his face, and said that Christina's progress was good, and that there was no infections. After another three days the doctors removed the tubes and Christina was able to slur out 'I love you' to two of the children I had brought to visit her. After another 2 days doctors moved her out of intensive care and onto the maternity ward! I found out through talking to emergency staff that Christina needed her entire body weight of blood replacing four times over, and had effectively drained the whole state's supply of O Negative blood! On top of all this I found out that she had to undergo a forced hysterectomy and has some damage to the bladder where the placenta had grown through the Uterus.In total she had 5 days on life support.

Time passed and after about 4 weeks in hospital Doctors gave her the all clear to come home, which she was overjoyed about, despite the fact that she was still toting a bladder bag. The day after, however, she had to be rushed to the hospital with another bleed. The anxiety I felt rose up strongly again within me. She stayed overnight and the following day the doctors gave the verdict that it was 'just the body trying to get rid of waste materials'. 'No more panic!!' I thought! She came home the following day and little of consequence happened after that. Christina, as it turned out, would go through a roller coaster of emotions and various sicknesses as her body adjusted to the pain of the trauma and all of the blood transfusions. She slept a lot and she still sleeps a lot as we try to forge a way through, finding a way to get back to 'normal life' whatever that is; and we are looking forward to a pain free life, some time in the future.

From time to time things happen in our lifetimes that test our faith. I hope for our families' sake that testing is over for a while.

Ben Mathewson.

If you want to read more from Ben, the check out his blog Imagination Infinity 

"At least your alive."

"At least you are alive".

These are the well meaning words I hear often. I know that they are coming from a loving place, from people that want to be thanere but aren't really sure what to say. But sometimes those words make me think that the way I'm feeling about some things are invalid because I couldn't have easily not been here.

You know sometimes it's just nice to have someone understand your feelings. Like "I'm really glad your here, but yes I can totally understand that what your going through really suck!".

Yes I'm glad I'm still here, and most of the time I cope with the changes to my life, my body and my family pretty well. However there are times when I still struggle. Like when I'm in bed, I would just like to roll over without pain. Yes I'm in much less pain than I was in, but it's still pain none the less. Like when I sort through my things and find my pregnancy test with Marcella, and know that is the last ever pregnancy test I will take, that is the last time I will ever feel that surge of excitement and joy that we will be expecting another blessing in our family. I know some people around me are very glad that I can't have more children, but for me that is devastating. Most of the time I try and look at to the future and the next stage of my and our lives as a family, however in quiet times it still hurts, and REALLY SUCKS!

But hey at least I'm alive.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Little things!

Oh the things you enjoy when you have everything taken away. I long for the day when I can go to the toilet without thinking about it, and taking a vomit bucket with me. Without thinking, "Have I fully emptied my bladder?", " Am I going to poop or vomit?, or both?" which happens often. I long for the day when I eat properly, without having to take a tablet to stop me feeling sick. I long for the day when I have the physical strength to prepare my family a meal, to drive the car, to go shopping, to leave the house without assistance and to go somewhere other than the hospital. We have this nice new van (new to us) that we all long to go for a drive in. I long to be able to care for my baby properly, and for my family. For days when I can cook the meals that make my family feel better, bring healing to my husband, and wellness to my children. I don't want these first days with my baby to go by without me begin able to be a part of them. There is no more babies for us, which is really hard to think, I'm missing all these things, the breastfeeding, the special times, and so on, and I've never going to get them again. I'm blessed to be here with my family and seeing them grow, learn, and change. However there are hard things about that as well.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Placenta Previa and Percreta

My Journey started at 7 weeks on one of my daughters birthday, I experienced my first bleed and loss of clots, one the size of a big lemon. We later found out that we lost one of our twins. Because it was my daughters birthday My husband and I took our children to MacDonalds for breakfast for a birthday treat, and we knew that we would probably spend the rest of the day at the hospital and wanted to at least make some of the day special. I assumed that I had miscarried our baby, but because I was O neg I needed to go to the hospital and have an anti-d injection, just in case. When they came back with my blood tests the doctor was very surprised at how high my HCG levels were. She explained that they were really high for a normal pregnancy, let alone someone that was having a miscarriage. So they booked me in for U/S the following week. During the ultrasound the technician discovered a live baby, and a pool of blood, a subchronic hemorrhage, and a space where she explained looked like a another egg had started to implant. With so many mixed feels it was a challenge to deal with. Some of our family are not very supportive when it comes to us having children, so at that point we had only told close friends that we where expecting. But then when you go through something like this, what do you say, "I might be expecting", I'm not sure if we will have a live baby at the end of this journey. I remember clearing wanting to tell people that we were having another blessing, but then at the same time I didn't want to turn around that tell these same people who didn't want us to have a baby to start with, that actually we lost it. I remember Christmas day very clearly, having to get through the whole thing pretending that everything was ok, putting on the happy christmas face, (not sharing we were pregnant, didn't want to ruin anyones christmas) but at the same time, bleeding and having to keep it to myself.

I then went on to have about another 10 bleeds up, with each bleed I would have to up to the hospital to check that I still had a live baby on board, until I got to the point where I could feel baby moving, it was really quite stressful. People would see me at the hospital and ask why I was there, it was never a happy answer, until 22 weeks at which point the fresh bleeding stopped. I has brown old bleeding the whole time, there wasn't a day since it started that I didn't have to wear a pad. I was then diagnosed with gestational Diabetes at 22 weeks and required insulin to help keep it under control. The pregnancy progressed fairly smoothy after that, I was put on pelvic rest, and total I had a low lying placenta, it wasn't until the 20 week scan that it was confirmed that I had placenta previa. I was lucky I had a friend that had recently gone through the same thing, she had 7 weeks hospital bedrest, and then a c-section. So I asked her so many questions, I think in the early weeks there was hardly a day that I didn't send her a question. I wanted to be prepared. With 6 children at home, I wanted to prepare my family in the event that I would have a long hospital stay. As the time progressed the placenta didn't move, at my 32 week scan, which felt like forever to come, it seem to settle more into the complete placenta previa position. After speaking with one of the doctors, they didn't seem to think that I would have accreta because the U/S report sounded like that placenta was more to the back and side, and not covering my scar. My next scan at 36 weeks, suggested that it might be over the scar. So they said there could be a possibility that it might be accreta, but they didn't think it was very likely.
During my pregnancy I had set myself some goals to get to, which really helped me. My first was to make it to viability, 24 weeks. Then 28 weeks, but my big one was to make to 32 weeks, because that mean all being well with baby I would have to go to Hobart which was 3 hour drive away, and I wouldn't see my family and they wouldn't see me until it was time to go home. My husband can't drive, and we didn't have a vehicle that would make it possible to be able to make that drive, so I would be on my own for delivery and everything else. I was so thankful when that day came and passed.

At 36 weeks and a few days I was sitting at home crocheting when I felt a gush. I had that split second of dread, I knew what it was. I had just been experiencing some Braxton Hicks for about 20 mins before hand. I ran to the toilet to discover blood pouring out. I was home alone with my 6 children. I immediately called out to my children to get me the phone, which they did really quickly. I call the ambos straight away, and messaged my husband and a friend to come. One of my children ran next door and got help from the neighbour. The Ambo arrive with in 10 mins, put in a drip and rushed me to the hospital. Blood was still pouring out. On the way to the hospital contractions started, I remember telling the ambo man with me that my baby was in breech, and if the placenta started coming to just reach in grab my babies feet and pull her out!, I think the guy was bit paniced by that and told the driver to go fast. On the way the ambos had call the hospital and they prepped an OR for my arrival. I was rushed straight into theatre. There were so many people there. The midwife got the doppler out and tried to find my babies heart beat. She couldn't find it. I had a quick thought, and told her my baby was in breech, and which point she moved the doppler and was able to find her heart beat, the whole room breathe again. People where rush all over the place, one doctor was asking me questions, while another started waxing me, another did a speculum. It was all systems go. At this point I knew I was having a Hysterectomy. The last thing I knew I was asking the date so that I would know when my baby was born. Little did I know at that point that actually being able to see my baby was lying on a knifes edge. I had eaten recently that day, So when they put the GA over my face I had one nurse with her hand on my neck to stop any food coming back up while I was going to sleep. I had that feeling of being strangled, I knew the only way to get out of the feeling was to breath as deeply as I could, and get to sleep fast.

The next thing I knew I was waking up in ICU. I had been asleep for 5 days. The doctors has so much trouble controlling the bleeding, I had 4 operations to bring it under control, had my blood replaced 4 times, using all the o negative blood in the state, I used 54 units of blood, 80 blood products. My bladder was invaded, and the urethra had completely come out and had to be re-implanted, as well as cut in my groin to help stop the bleeding. The medical team had to work hard to keep me from bleeding out and dying. There was many times when they didn't think I would make it through. In recovery my doctors told me how worried they were that I wouldn't make it. He explained that it was like he was just holding me here by my heels. The doctor giving me the blood said to my husband that there has only been one other person that he has given that much blood to and they survived. My family members where of course very worried not sure if I would make it through. Recovery was very painful. I remember waking up in ICU and having the attendants come every 2 hours and turn me. That was extremely painful, and for the next two hours I would slowly work myself back to a position that was more comfortable, only to have them come back and roll me on the other side, again really painful position. That went on for a few days. I also remember waking with tubes, breathing and feeding equipment down my throat. It was rigged up in such a way that if I tried to pull it out it would make me gag and let the nurses know what I was up too. Finally it all go taken out and made do an huge vomit. When I was well enough to be moved to an ICU room they changed me over from continues morphine to button operated morphine that I could press every 5 mins to get another dose, however I was so weak from all the operations, surgery and drugs, I couldn't press that button, so the only time I go a dose of pain relief was when someone visited me or someone passed by my room. There are so many more experiences that I share about this ordeal. Too many for today, but you can find more my story in other blog posts.

I finally got to met my baby on day 6 of her life, I could only hold her for a few mins because I was so weak. She was the smallest out of all my children, and had a look of her own then. Now she looks just like the other children. For me this was my first visit, for her it was her third. The Nicu staff brought her down on day 2 and put her on my chest, and took pictures, at this point they where not sure that I would live, and where trying to create as many memories for my baby as they could. Also well and try and help me recover.

We both did however. Marcella was born on the 18th June, at 36 weeks. It took 4 weeks to get home after the birth, I went home with a bladder bag and Stoma bag which was used over the cut in my groin to collect all the lymphatic fluid that was pouring out of my wound. Marcella is doing well with no real problems. It took 7 weeks for my bladder to heal. It has healed the best that it ever will. I have lost some function in my right kidney, because of the way they had to react the urethra, they couldn't attach back to the top, they had to put it in the side, when I go to the toilet some the urine goes back up the urethra and into the kidney, so I need to make sure that I stay on top of any infections that might arise from that.

It turns out that I had developed percreta, and it was growing through my uterus. I'm glad to be alive and have the chance to raise my children.

UpDate: I am now the President for the Australian Chapter of the Hope for Accreta Foundation.
You can read my updated version

If you have placenta previa or accreta, increta, or percreta, and want to talk, please feel free to contact me via email. Christina -

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pregnancy Update - 24 weeks Yay!

Hi all thanks so much for reading this blog. It's been a while since I have updated, so here goes :) I'm currently 24 weeks. Finally! It seems to me like it has taken a long time to get here. Over that 24 weeks, I've had several bleeds (about 10) and several ultra sounds, Anti D injections, and dopler tests to check that baby is still alive and so on. So it's been a bit of testing time. I think the hardest part is being before 24 weeks, if something happened, ie too much blood lost, there wasn't anything the doctors could do to help my baby, only wait and let things happen. So for me I feel a bit more a sigh of relief that now I have reached a milestone.

So what is causing all this bleeding. Well it turns out I currently have a complete placenta previa. This is were the placenta is covering both sides of the cervix. SO what does this mean for the pregnancy? Well there is the risk that my cervix starts to open and I would loose a lot of blood and need to delivery baby early. It also means that if the placenta doesn't move from it's current position I will need to have a c-section. The other concern about my placenta being low is that is might be attached to my c-section scar, which is something else I really don't want, but thankfully at this point it looks like it might not be. Again time is going to tell how and when this baby is going to be born.

Now in saying this my doctors are still hopeful that my placenta might move, which would allow me to have a natural delivery, as long as my baby isn't large. Which I have had a few of. To help keep my baby at a normal size, I am closely controlling my blood sugars, so tonight I've had my first insulin injection to help with my fasting blood sugars. My liver has been releasing too much glucose while I'm asleep.

The other thing that we learnt today at our doctors appointment is that our baby, who I can say looks to be a little girl, has a clubbed left foot. We won't know for sure what will come of this until she is born, whether it's just positional and only need physio or if it will need more invasive treatment. It's just another thing that the doctors will keep an eye on.

For those of you that are praying for this pregnancy blessing, and my family, I really would like to thank you so much. So if you would like some prayer points to help with your prays here goes.

Please pray:
- That the placenta will move and we will be able to have a natural delivery.
- That we will deliver at term.
- That we wouldn't have any more bleeding.
- That the placenta is not attached to the c-section scars.
- That the club foot would resolve in utero.

Again thanks so much.
Blessing to you all