Welcome to the world Hudson Barry! He is our 5th and final baby and I am so elated to finally share this sweet boy with you and tell you his story. His story is pretty special just like him! in the past I’ve been very forth coming about the trials and difficulties I’ve experienced in past pregnancies. I’ve cataloged that all on a personal blog that I have, and found the process of sharing the journey very therapeutic as we have not had the easiest of times bringing our babies into this world. This time I decided to keep things much more private. I felt very protective of our story and our journey and I just didn’t feel like for me, the best thing to do this go around was to share every detail and be as open about the struggles we were having. I’m not sure why I felt this way this time but I did and so now that we are on the other side of this journey I am ready to share more about our experince with you.
It started April 25th 2017. I woke up that morning and got my twin boys ready for kindergarten like I had every day of that school year, but I felt “off” my husband was working a day shift unusual for him since he has worked nights our whole marriage, As I progressed throughout our morning, the realization of the “sort of sick” I was feeling, became very obvious. With my 4 year old and 1 year old girls in tow I ran to our local gas station and grabbed one of those life changing tests.
I snuck into my bathroom removed from the rest of our home and left the girls to watch a movie while I took the test. I was in denial that I might actually be pregnant. Despite knowing how the whole “baby and pregnancy” thing works it was unlikely that I could be pregnant at this time. We were not at all trying and were in fact preventing such occurrence from happening, and while we had certainly talked about a 5th baby I was SOOO not ready.
funny how that works right?? Sure enough that test was positive and to my relief I was elated. I think the Lord knew I’d never really be ready for a 5th baby and so he surprised me in the best possible way.
I wrapped the test in a box covered with Christmas wrapping paper as I suspected this baby would be due around Christmas (little did I know!) and let my husband unwrap it when he came home from work. My cryptic texts had already tipped him off and he knew before he even got home! He shared with me in the excitement and shock but it took a while to really set in for either of us.
The first hurdle of this pregnancy was finding a new OB. My beloved Dr. who had delivered my 4 other children had moved across the country. She had been an incredible comfort to me as each pregnancy had its own trials and difficulties. I knew I could trust her and despite the struggles I had, each pregnancy had ended in a healthy baby one even ended with 2 healthy babies none of which I could have done with out her. I watched several times as she? made remarkable decisions right in front of me, decisions that despite medical knowledge and experience came from a place of spiritual knowledge and a relationship with God. Something I found so comforting. To find anyone who could fill these shoes seemed impossible but I finally settled on an OB and at my first appointment was really pleased with my choice and each of the staff members.
I laid down on the table for my first ultrasound and couldn’t believe my luck when my due date after multiple measurements was December 25th!!! Initially I laughed and thought “what a joke” and then I realized very quickly that this was the best gift I had ever been given and knew what a tender blessing something as simple as a due date could be.
Things with this pregnancy started out very well. I had very minimal morning sickness unlike my other pregnancies. It also ended completely before my second trimester. I chalk it up to traveling and being really busy this first 12 weeks, making the time pass faster than ever and not having any time to sit around and revel in my sickness!
I thought this would have to be my “unicorn” pregnancy. the one that just went perfectly, one where I enjoy the process, where I have perfect ultrasounds without any bad news being delivered and birth a healthy baby at term and take home straight away with me from the hospital, and that also nurses like a champ! So far these things had not been my journey or experience in previous pregnancies so I was holding out hope that this last one would be the one that went off without a hitch!
For the first 20 weeks things went this well. I could hardly believe how lucky I felt that things were going so smoothly given my history. More specifically my last pregnancy with my fourth just 2 years before had not gone well. I was diagnosed with a condition called Placenta Previa, in a nutshell it means that the placenta has attached to the bottom of your uterus covering the cervix aka the opening where the baby should be delivered.? This as well as the location of my placenta beneath previous C-section scarring meant I was high risk for bleeding and that if things went really poorly I may need a hysterectomy at delivery.I bled in both my first trimester, and then several times in my 3rd. Thankfully each time was controlled, but it led to my doctor ultimately deciding to deliver me a month early to avoid bleeding that could be life threatening to either me or the baby.
When you are diagnosed with placenta Previa you carry around that weight like a bowling ball in the pit of your stomach, each morning I woke up sure Id be laying in a pool of blood, or each time I went the restroom I feared I’d discover I had started to bleed again. Its sounds morbid and even a bit dramatic, I totally agree but its something you can only understand if you’ve experienced each week of a placenta Previa pregnancy and grown to understand the anxiety that at any moment your pregnancy could take a dramatic turn literally without any warning.
The relief I felt the moment I delivered my baby girl last time was incredible, for weeks and weeks after her birth I would comment how glad I was it was “over” Delivery had gone remarkably well. and my recovery was better than either two of my prior C-sections. My daughter did spend 10 days in the NICU due to her early gestation but it all was soon a distant memory and we were on the other side! However this coupled with complications from my other 2 pregnancies made me extremely reluctant to go through this process again. I felt sick thinking about the possibility of being pregnant again.
Back to this pregnancy. I was fearful that I would have another placenta previa pregnancy, the odds of that while slightly elevated because I’d had it before were still very low so I was really just waiting for my 20 week scan to confirm I did NOT have it. Because surly I wouldn’t have such luck…
The day came for my 20 week scan,with my husband by my side I held my breath as the tech began my scan. We decided again not to find out the gender so I found myself laying there like a balloon full of emotions waitng for the pin to realease my fears and confirm all was well. as I looked everywhere but the screen as we were hoping to keep gender a surprise, my eyes landed on the ultrasound techs face I watched her as she furrowed her brow concentrating hard on the lowest portion of my abdomen with the ultrasound wand. I knew. She began to ask the question and I finished her sentence with my own desperate question. “do I have placenta previa again?”
She nodded and my balloon of air released as I began to sob but not in relief but in anquish. She seemed a little confused by my tears and quickly began to reassure me! “don’t worry it almost always clears before delivery it will be ok” I shook my head knowing all too well that it proably woudlnt for me. She had no idea I’d experienced this before and that uncanny fear instantly seeped back in. You see “what to expect” will tell you that 90 percent of women diagnosed with placenta previa at their 20 week scan will have cleared by their 3rd trimester. I was told this last time believing whole heartedly that it would! However that was not my experience last time. Each repeat ultrasound to check my placentas placemnt would confirm that it hadn’t even moved a millimeter. So I could only guess that this time would be no different and I would carry this horrible anxiety and fear all the way to delivery day just as I had two years before.
To get realy specific, last time I had what is called “marginal placenta previa” this means that the placenta only covers a portion of the cervix, giving you and even better chance that it will move. Not only did I now have it again but this time I had “complete placenta previa” meaning it completely covered the cercix opening and beyond. Chances of it moving decrease if this is the case. Risk of bleeding also increase in cases of Complete Placenta Previa, and I had 4 bleeds with just marginal placenta previa. So I could only begin to imagine what it might mean this time.
I walked out of the appointment deflated. I truly couldn’t belive I’d been given this diagnoses yet again, I was so sure that this time would be different after all things had been going so very well. My husband Devin and I went for pizza immediately following. My thoughts were in another place entirely as we sat through that meal. Mostly I just couldn’t believe it was happening again, I really had been so certain I wouldn’t have it again.
Seven weeks passed without consequence and I found myself yet again in the same ultrasound room and with the same tech shaking her head that my placenta hadn’t moved at all. The doctor came in to “double check” everything. A condition known as placenta accreta had also been at the fore front of my fears. its a condition where the placenta attaches too deeply in the uterine wall sometimes going so far as to invade other organs like the bladder. The doctor came in and requested to see things for herself. She started saying things that I knew were associated with the condition since it had been part of our concerns my last placenta previa pregnancy but thankfully never developed. It appeared as though the posterior location of the placenta looked “suspect” for this condition.
I met with my OB a few days later and we went over the grim reality of what this meant. Extra precautions would be taken at delivery such as delivering in the main OR, blood matching donor blood to have on hand at delivery extra doctors would scrub in etc. The issue with placenta acreta is that it wont detach normally at delivery, causing hemorrhaging and the only way in most cases to stop the bleeding is through a hysterectomy. He also wanted to do an MRI to get more information. Its a tricky diagnoses and even with all of todays modern technology you really cannot be 100% certain until delivery.
I got the call Halloween morning that they wanted me to come in that night to do the MRI. Not exactly how I wanted to spend Halloween but we made it work.
I then waited on pins and needles for days as the results were sent over. It looked like the area of concern was not suspect for Accreta. I was beyond relived and at this point was desperatly hoping I could make it the last few weeks without any bleeding!!! I was 32 weeks at this point and my delivery had been scheduled for 36 weeks as a precaution. I was so close yet so far.
Miracoulsly I made it all the way to my due date and never bled. I know that this was no coincidence and am so thankful that despite all the worry and concern I didn’t have to deal with the added stress and fear that would have brought. I know this was just one of many blessings the Lord bestowed on me throughout this journey and the delivery unveiled many more.
This story has been much lengthier than I originally intended when I started writing it all out! In an attempt to save you from having to read 12 pages all at once, I will share the delivery portion of Hudsons’ story in a subsequent post.