I haven't had the heart to check in with the board until now... I am still pretty traumatized from my experience and I think it will take a long time until I feel okay but I wanted to share my story with you all.
I was told to come in the hospital on the night of December 27 by my doctor as my BP was high and he wanted to induce. I was 37 weeks 6 days at that point. Induction took a long two days but on the afternoon of December 30, my water finally broke on it's own and I progressed really quickly, reaching 10 cm within an hour. I pushed without much progress for a good 2 hours. We tried using the vacuum but that didn't work either. It was determined that baby was stuck and we would do a c-section. Thankfully during this time baby had not exhibited any signs of distress.
The surgical team was quickly assembled but the wait was awful! Before the surgery, they had to remove my epidural so I was feeling everything, including the pressure to push, but I couldn't. It was almost unbearable!
The first part of the c-section went well. I am fortunate enough to work with all of the doctors that were in the OR so it was really like I was with family. The anesthetist, who was by my head the whole time, was so nurturing and so it felt like my mom was there with me. My husband decided not to come into the OR at the last second as he was feeling too nervous/ill. They had to really pull to get baby out. It turns out that her head was VERY stuck under my pubic bone and she was face up. She also weighed a very healthy 9 lbs 7.5 oz! But completely healthy and perfect.
This is when the trouble started. I guess when they were struggling to get baby out, my uterus tore on both sides and I was bleeding - a lot. They told me they were going to give me some blood but at that point I had no idea of the seriousness. My memory gets kind of fuzzy at this point. Then I remember them telling me that I was going to get transferred to a hospital in a big city about 3 hours away (we live in a small rural community). All I could think was that I did not want to go on a 3 hour ambulance ride! Little did I know that the STARS air ambulance was already on its way. By the time STARS got there, I had received 14 units of blood. My DH and baby were brought in to the OR to say goodbye.
As they wheeled me out to the helicopter, they suddenly stopped. I could hear all the voices talking and apparently they could no longer read my pulse or blood pressure. They were trying to stabilize me. I remember asking at one point if I was dying... and not getting an answer. Eventually they got my pressure up a little bit and we continued. I had no idea at the time but my husband was following behind the stretcher and had to witness all of this.
After the hour long flight (where I received another 6 units of blood, for a total of 20 now), I was wheeled directly into the OR at the big hospital. I vaguely remember the surgeon telling me that she may need to remove my uterus to stop the bleeding. I also remember singing and feeling extremely peaceful. Later on I learned that yes, I was singing and at that point they again could not get a reading of my pulse or blood pressure so that was the only way they knew I was still alive.
I later learned I was in surgery for about 3.5 hours. They lost me on the table for 30 seconds and I had to be revived with CPR. In total I received over 50 units of blood and blood products. And they had to remove my uterus and both of my ovaries. The surgeon tried hard to save them but she told me that whenever she tried to suture or tie off my arteries, they would cut right in half - my arteries were like jello. After the surgeon took out my uterus to try and repair it, she found a hole in the main artery behind my uterus, the reason I'd lost so much blood.
I woke up in ICU and spent 2.5 days there. My family all cried when they saw me. Apparently I was so swollen that I was pretty much unrecognizable. I was intubated for 1.5 days after my surgery and that was very difficult. I had to constantly focus on breathing. Everything hurt. It hurt to move, breath, cough, just everything. And worst of all, I didn't feel like a mom.
Three days after surgery I developed extreme chest pain and was diagnosed with a very large pulmonary embolism in my left lung. A week later, I developed another one on the right side.
I was just discharged from hospital this past Sunday after 20 days. It is great to be home with my baby and other two girls but the road to recovery will be very long. I have no energy and everything tires me out. Fortunately my mother-in-law is able to stay with us as long as we need her (and even better, my MIL is awesome and I love her!).
While what happened to me is extremely rare, it really is a good reminder of how serious of a surgery a c-section really is and how dangerous the complications really can be. All of my doctors have told me that I am very, very, very lucky to be alive. They called me a miracle. And I am just so incredibly thankful to still be here with my family....