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 -


  1. Oh Christina, what an ordeal, I was holding back tears by the end of that! Thoughts are with you, Ben and your precious ones, hoping everything gets brighter from here for you!
    (from your facebook group!)

  2. I am so glad you and your bubby are ok!!! Thinking of you hun xxxx

  3. Wow! What a story!! Reading this makes me a little bit mad that the doctors didn't catch your percretta earlier. You had all the signs!!! I'm so grateful that everything turned out well and I wish you a sweet recovery. Stories like yours are the reason we need to spread the word about accreta. Don't you just wonder how things might have been different if they had done a c-section at 34 weeks in a controlled operating room? I can't imagine how you felt, bleeding at home with your kids. That was my fear for months while I was on bed rest. Sweet woman-- you are a miracle!!! Your children are so blessed to have you!

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    2. Thanks so much. Yes story could have been very different if they had all the information before hand. I don't know why they didn't do more testing before hand to know if I had accreta. My family where so close to losing me. I'm very glad they were skilled enough, and had enough blood to save me. I'm very sure that God was on my side doing his bit to keep me here as well. Your story was and is of great encouragement to me, and helped me. Got to love those pressure stockings. And now I have finally got my bladder bag out, the many trips to the toilet. Bless you and your sweet family.

  4. Oh Christina what an awful ordeal to have to go through, I am so glad you made it through to hold your daughter and your family again, I had placenta accreta though nothing to your degree. Sending you strength and wishes for a speedy recovery.

  5. So sorry you had to go through this. I'm praying for your recovery. Both physically & emotioally. This isn't something that you forget or heal quickly from. I'm glad your baby is ok. I'm glad you have support around you. Thank you for sharing your story. I have complete placenta previa & the Dr said that one peice of the placenta on the US looks like accreta. I'm 30wks now & was just discharged from the hospital. I'm glad you're getting better. It sounds so scary. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  6. Thanks so much, I'm 11 weeks out and still have pain and weakness. Thankfully my baby had no issues other than needing a little help with feeding, due to be prem. My doctors didn't check for accreta, they where flying blind, so hopefully that will help you get a good outcome. I totally understand the feelings of fear and worry, checking every time you go to the toilet. Little niggles that you wouldn't normally worry about. In the end it was three strong braxton hicks contractions that started this ball rolling.