Caution: this blog post might be triggering for some people
I find it so ironic that when you are expecting your first child people always recommend that you attend a prenatal class. Both my husband and I being trained paramedics, we have done obstetric rotations… we knew the medical aspect of birthing. With that said, we still decided to attend a local prenatal class offered by public health. It was fun, we had some good times. did we learn anything? no. However, one thing that they do push towards is having a birth plan. Know what you want…. What kind of birth do you want… do you want family there? And the list goes on. I did not really have a plan. Just basic generic stuff. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided, “okay I’m running the show, this is how its going to happen.” Boy was I wrong…
I was 34 weeks pregnant, I had a doctors appointment and my obstetrician checked everything with his fancy little ultrasound machine in his office. “EVERYTHING IS PERECT”, he would tell me. This was always a great relief, so I went home and back to my day to day activities which still included full work days. This was okay, I was getting really tired in the afternoon but my work was very accommodating. The following day I remember dropping off some stuff after work at a friends house. She too was expecting a baby and I had gotten some free baby stuff for her. After that visit I went home to cook supper. As my husband and I ate our supper on the couch, I remember telling him that I had just peed myself. I was so upset, upset that I didn’t even feel the urge to urinate. It was normal for me to have a weak bladder at this point in my pregnancy…but not to the point of being incontinent. I went upstairs to the bathroom to sort myself out. Nothing was out of the normal initially, so I took my time. Once I was “done” I got up … my heart sank and I screamed!! The toilet bowl was FILLED with blood! My husband ran upstairs, and then rushed me to the local emergency room (rural) which was thankfully only 2 minutes away.
Once I got to emerged I swiftly waddled my way to triage and told them I was having third trimester bleeding. Immediately, they rushed me into a room where I could get into a exam robe. My wonderful husband was helping me undress and get into a robe. As I removed my pants, I saw a good litre of blood pour out of me… all down my legs and on my clothes. I screamed in fear as I shook, my husband held me up. Nurses rushed in to see what was going on. They immediately laid me on the exam bed. I had several doctors come in an assess the situation. There was no going back. I was rushed to the hearest General Hospital to be assessed by my obstetrician. I faintly remember in the ambulance the nurse was asking me if I was having contractions… I told her yes because I could feel squeezing in my abdomen followed by a gush of fluid between my legs, but there wasn’t much pain. I was getting weak, things were blurry. My husband was such a huge support for me, but he feared for our lives.
After arriving at the nearest general hospital my obstetrician was waiting there for me. He was absolutely confused as to what could of happened. He confirmed that with what he could see that I was a grade 3. I was so out of it at this point. My husband had to tell me all about it again because my memory was not really there. My doctor mentioned that I needed to be rushed to the a the Ottawa General Hospital (Ontario, Canada). My son would need to have access to CHEO’s (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) NICU, because the hospital that we were at were not equipped for premie babies. We were located 2 hours north west from there. But because of the shock that I was in and the severity of the blood loss (and still loosing) my doctor mentioned that we would not survive the 30 minute helicopter flight down to Ottawa. They asked for my blood type and prepped for an emergency cesearian section.
As they rushed me down the hallways and into elevators my husband almost missed the boat because he was trying to get himself all scrubbed up. He mentioned to me that I was getting my spinal anesthesia, and if I wasn’t getting numb fast enough for them I would be put totally under and my husband would no be able to be present for the birth. Apparently for my husband, waiting in that hallway was the longest wait of his life.
I specifically remember this part… they were constantly pinching my abdomen to see if I was numb. As soon as I said I can’t feel it, they began to cut me open…and then the curtain went up… that memory was not a good one for me for the longest time.
My doctor told me (afterwards) that my amniotic sac had not broken and all that I felt was my placenta ripping off the uterine wall. That mental picture haunted me.. but I had asked for those answers. Three quarters of my placenta had ripped of. The cause is still unknown… I do not fall into any of the “high risk” category.
That night my son Benjamin was born. 4 lbs 15 oz. he was a small little guy. But had a strong cry! Thank goodness! Doctors were please and he would not have to be sent to the children’s hospital. I truly believe that being physically active during my pregnancy enabled my son to be as strong as he was.
My son and I are alive today thanks to a doctors swift decisions… I am forever grateful. But this is when the true battle began…
for more information on abruptio placentae;