My Birth Story -- Placenta Complications

Cynthia Dermody

mother with newborn

Photo by mama2000_1

We're sharing birth stories! Here's one from CafeMom user Victoria (mama2000_1) ...

So, you would think by baby No. 3 there would be no more surprises. Not only baby No. 3, but C-section No. 3. Planned out right to the day and time. As we know with babies, that never works ...

May 2008

I found out I had placenta accreta. That is when you start with placenta previ and the placenta actually attaches to the uterus. If you deliver and they are unaware it is attached, it is a perilous situation because you will hemorrhage. If they are not prepared for that, you may be in some trouble in the operating room.

Since there is an increased risk of preterm delivery with placenta previa anyway, my doc decided to take our son three and a half weeks early to avoid the possibility of going into labor. That could cause a rupture in the uterus and even more potential problems. I even did betamethasone shots to help increase his lung function in case they weren't ready.

Saturday August 23, 2008

We spent the late afternoon and evening at my sister-in-law's house for our nephew's birthday. It was your normal August day with a late rain storm that had the kids running around in the pouring rain. We ate, had cake, and finalized plans with my mother-in-law to take the two older kids on Wednesday so my husband and I could go get my amniocentesis to check and see if the baby's lungs were developed enough to proceed with surgery on Thursday. They would spend the night there so we could go bright and early on Thursday to have our final baby boy.

10:00 p.m. We left their house and drove home in a horrendous fog. What normally would take us 40-45 minutes took us over an hour. We put the kids in bed, relaxed a bit, and watched the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Midnight August 24, 2008

Time for bed. I got up from the couch and felt something wet. Figuring it was normal pregnancy discharge, I went to the bathroom and got the shock of my life ... bright red blood! Not only that, but it poured right out of me! I called to my husband. He did a good job at hiding his panic from me. I called my in-laws but they weren't home yet. They only live five minutes away, so it would have been easy for them to come stay with the kids.

I tried their cell -- not on. Called back to sister-in-law's house only to discover they had left about an hour after we did -- so they should have been home. She asked if it was bad and I said yes and she knew I was scared. Since it was so foggy we gave them some extra time while I got some stuff together. Still no answer. Finally called sister-in-law back and asked her to meet us at the hospital, about 45 minutes for both of us. Woke the kids, got everything in the car, and took off. Again, it was foggy, so we couldn't drive as fast as we would have liked. I started having contractions and got really scared They were less than 5 minutes apart.

Approximately 1:30 a.m.

Got to the hospital and totally skipped ER and headed right up to labor and delivery. My husband was parking the car and I was getting ready. I remember getting the gown on and the blood running down my leg. That was when I truly panicked. I am not a panicky person as a rule, but really ... that much blood?! I buzzed the nurse for help and afterward I told her my family was coming up and they needed to clean up the blood all over the blanket and floor! 

They took my info, vitals, hooked up the monitors and everything. Hearing his heartbeat was amazing -- he was okay! But seeing the monitor with contractions, not good. Of course my OB was not on call that night. I wanted her there so badly. We had this planned out so perfectly.

Her partner was someone I had never met before (since I was scheduling so early we didn't bother) so he was totally unaware of my condition. He did an ultrasound and said, "Oh, my, you are very interesting." That is NOT the place you want to be "interesting."

3:00 a.m.

The doctors secured the OR. I would need a blood transfusion and most likely a hysterectomy if they found the placenta totally attached to my uterus. They needed more staff and I had to go under general anesthesia because a spinal block would lower my blood pressure, which was already very low from the loss of blood and would potentially get lower because of the amount I would lose in the OR.

I was disappointed and so was my husband, but we wanted to be safe and not argue with the doc. Not to mention the kids were still there. My sister-in-law was trying to locate my in-laws who were still no where to be found. She finally got to the hospital around 3:30 or 4. (turned out the in-laws were fine, but that's another story.) I remember leaving my family and being worried about my baby, but in my heart I KNEW things would turn out just fine.

When I got to the OR everyone was, well, excited. Have you ever seen Grey's Anatomy when all the surgeons are excited to have a "special" one? It was like that. One of the women said, "Sorry we're so jittery. We never get to have babies born down here! They usually keep them up on the baby floor." I remember her name was Emerson.

Then there was this amazing woman who kept me calm. She said it was a good day to have a baby because it was her little guy's birthday. She was working the night shift so she could go home and sleep and then have a party for him later. She kept telling me everything they were doing and what was going on. There was a team of doctors from NICU to take my new son to be evaluated and an entire team for me. Her name was Denise and she was a Godsend. Then I remember ... nothing.

August 24, 2008 3:24 a.m.

Alexzander Jayce was born! He weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces, een at four weeks early.My husband accompanied him to the NICU while my sister-in-law took my older kids home. He stayed there until they called him to tell him I was awake. They never came and told him anything about me until then. He was quite angry!

7:15 a.m.

I woke up asking for my husband and my son. With my first C-section I woke up to the sound of my son crying in a dimly lit room. This time things were strangely quiet and clinical and very bright. I had ended up losing nearly half of the blood in my body. I cleaned out the blood bank of my blood type. They had to check my blood levels 3 or 4 times every day, and by the fourth day they had a hard time finding somewhere to poke me to take more blood. But the worst part ... Alexzander had to stay in the NICU. He had fluid on his lungs and air pockets that weren't supposed to be there. I could not see him.

I was in and out of sleep that day. I remember people coming in and out of the room: my parents, in-laws. Everyone went to see Alexzander. I bet my husband walked 10 miles that day, because the ICU wehre I was was in a separate wing of the hospital from the NICU. He had to go with them; they wouldn't let anyone in to see him without one of his parents. The NICU nurses sent a card up with two little pictures of him and saying how they understood it was hard, but he was in good hands.

August 24, 2008 9:00 p.m.

FINALLY! I got to see my son, hold him, and tell him I loved him. We had to leave him there for 11 days for various reasons, and it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But we got through it.

September 4, 2008

We brought Alexzander home to his own bed for the first time, and we were all overjoyed.

I sometimes try not to remember too many details because it was a scary and stressful time. But I remind myself that he is healthy and I am thankful that he was in one of the best NICUs in the country. And we met some amazing nurses there who we still have contact with, 19 months later. Going through this in detail has brought back a lot of emotions, most of all complete thankfulness for him being just fine.

Do you have a birth story you want to share? PM me or send a message to with the words "Birth Story" in the subject line and I may feature you next.

More birth stories ...

April's Sudden C-Section

Sheri's Funny Birth Story

Cynthia's Messed-Up Birth Story

Danielle's Drug Free Birth Story

Tonya's Super Fast Birth Story

Read More