October 22, 2012

Birth Story

I have mulled over whether or not to post about Aeris' birth, because it was a traumatic experience for all of us.  I don't want her birth to be associated with negative feelings, but I guess it is what it is.  She's here, and that's the miracle that lit a very dark day for me.  I'll never forget it, and I know that we have a miracle baby in our midst.

I decided that I'm going to post a condensed version, and leave out some of the gory details.  I don't have any problem talking about it, it's not a taboo subject at all in any way.  If you'd like to know more about it, please ask me.  I just don't want to associate her with that experience more than I need to.

I want to share another experience I had with this pregnancy.  Mainly because I want Aeris to know how special she is, and that she was meant to be here, and to come this way.  I know that God loves her specifically and sent her to us like this for a reason.

***

Back in February, Justin and I were getting frustrated, wanting to be pregnant again.  We prayed a lot, and after a lot of thought, I felt very peaceful about it, and knew that we'd have another child.

Days later, I had a dream.  In the dream, I was holding a baby girl that I knew was mine.  It also came to my mind in the dream that she was born at 26 weeks, but she was completely healthy.  I woke from that dream very unsettled, but not really in a bad way.  I felt like this was different than other dreams I'd had, and that we'd get pregnant soon.

Two days later, I had another dream.  This dream was just a name coming into my mind, specifically, including how to spell it.  It wasn't a name I'd heard before- Aeris.  When I woke up from this dream, I felt very rattled.  I've had a lot of dreams that I have felt were signs, and this felt the same way those did.  I told Justin about it a few days later, because it wouldn't leave my mind.  I had already told him about the other dream, and we decided that if we got pregnant that month, and it was a girl, we'd name her Aeris.

Well, of course we found out two weeks later that we were pregnant.

I told a few people in my family about this dream, and was always sure that it would come true.  A month or so after we knew we were pregnant, I had yet another dream that the baby was born 6 weeks early.

Then at 20 weeks, we found out we were having a girl.

***

I really feel like God was preparing me for what was to come.  The overwhelming feeling I had in those dreams was always that the baby was fine, so I didn't worry too much about the early deliveries.  Of course she wasn't born at 26 weeks, but it was around then that I was admitted to the hospital, and then of course she was born 6 weeks early.

And that's where her name comes from.

***

Fast forward 10 weeks of hospitalization, which I documented briefly here.  My 34 week mark was on September 29th.  September 27th was my Grandma Margaret's birthday, so I requested (and the doctors surprisingly granted) that we schedule the C-Section for that day, since it was just 2 days before when they were planning on delivering her.

The 27th finally came, and it was a rough day from the start.  I was taken to pre-op for IVs (3 HUGE ones), then wheeled to Interventional Radiology where I had an epidural and balloon catheters placed in my femoral arteries.  This procedure lasted about an hour longer than it was supposed to because of a scheduling mix up, and was scary for me.  I had to lay completely still and couldn't move from the shoulders down from the time they inserted the balloons.  These were placed so that in the event of a major hemorrhage, they could inflate the balloons and cut of most of the circulation to my abdominal region, thus reducing blood loss.

They then wheeled me into the OR, and my epidural had almost entirely worn off.  It took a long time for the anesthesiologist to have the epidural strong enough again for them to go ahead with the surgery. They ended up needing to proceed with the surgery before I was completely numbed, so they doused me in lidocane, a topical numbing medicine.  I thought my c-section with Ollie was bad, but this one was much worse.  My placenta was fused across the entire front of my uterus, so they couldn't make an incision in the front of the uterus like they usually do.  Instead they had to pull my uterus completely out of my body, make the incision in the back, and take Aeris out that way.

Once she was out, they tried to put me out immediately, but I managed to hang on long enough to see her beautiful head full of dark hair.  I woke up several times throughout the surgery, thanks again to the incompetent anesthesiologist.  That was very disturbing, and I still am bothered and have bad dreams about the things I heard, smelled, and felt.

They did have to do a hysterectomy.  They stitched me back up and wheeled me back to Interventional Radiology.  There, they cauterized a few bleeding blood vessels, and removed the balloon catheters.  They took me back to a recovery room, where I was finally able to see Justin and my family.  We were there for what felt like an eternity, and as my epidural wore off, I was in an incredible amount of pain.  I thought it was from laying on my back for so long, and kept trying to shift to get comfortable.  The nurse noticed that things didn't seem to look right, and kept giving me excuses as to why I was still in the room.  I was anxious to get back to my room in the HRP unit, that they were saving for me, with all of my things and family in it.

I don't remember much from here, except I was in a lot of pain.  Apparently though, my blood pressure was extremely low, and my pulse was accelerating.  The nurse called the doctors to come back, and they realized I was bleeding internally.  I was rush back into the operating room, and opened back up.  They found 2 liters of blood in my abdomen, and I was given 4 units of blood.  They couldn't find the source of the bleeding, but they tied off a few more vessels, and stapled me back up.

Again I went to recovery, this time I was intubated.  I woke up and Justin and my mom were both there.  Of course I couldn't talk, but it was comforting to see them and have Justin tell me about how Aeris was doing.

I went to the ICU for the night, and was intubated until about 10 the next morning.  I got to see Aeris that afternoon, and was released to my old room in HRP by about 7:30 that night (after a lot of phone calls and rabble rousing from my Dad and several of my old nurses).

After I was in my old room, things improved drastically.  I was up and walking as soon as possible, and went to see Aeris in the NICU as often as possible.  I had two drains which had to be removed before I went home.  The second one was taken out on Monday afternoon, and we came home Monday night.

***

Aeris was in the NICU for 2 1/2 weeks, and came home on Sunday, October 14th.  We moved back into our house (from my Mom's) that Wednesday, and things are so much better.

We're getting used to a new normal, and giving and sharing all the love we can in our new family.

***

My heart is so full of gratitude to God for protecting and guiding us through this time.  There are so many people, especially my parents, who helped us get through this as well, and I don't know how I can ever begin to repay them.

Even though we can't have more children, I'm so completely blissfully happy with the two beautiful babes that I have.  My heart is full, and I am ready to close this little chapter of my life, and start a new one with our little family of four.

3 comments:

alyssa said...

thank you for sharing your birth story. i'm so sorry that this experience was so traumatizing but i'm very grateful you and aeris is alive. she has such a gorgeous name and she is so cute. i hope your recovery is well. you're a superhero amanda.

Latissa Marie Graham, L.M.T said...

Hello Amanda, my name is Latissa Graham. You don't know me, but I was referred to your blog by your friend Amanda Taylor. We grew up in the same ward in Cedar Hills, UT. Amanda has followed my pregnancy and recently emailed me with her concern and love and support, and thought that maybe I would like to read your blog and maybe contact you since we have had similar situations. I am currently almost 25 weeks pregnant with my second child. I also have a two year old son born in May of 2012. I had a miscarriage earlier this year, and then got pregnant again right away. Recently I have been found to have Vasa Previa and am planning on entering the hospital at 30 weeks to be put on bed rest there for 5 weeks, and then have a scheduled C section 5 weeks early. This is a major complication as you know, and although I do not have placenta acretia and am not in a situation as serious as yours, I am interested to hear your thoughts. I read your blog starting with the hard news you received about your pregnancy till the most updated post. I admire your courage and faith and perseverance. I have also been blessed by a feeling of calm and peace. But anticipating the unknown is hard. I wonder what life was like for you on a day to day basis in the hospital? How did it work? Did they check you every day, mulitple times a day? Were you able to walk around outside? What advice would you give to someone about to enter the hospital on bed rest? I also wonder where you are from. Are you living in Utah? If so, what hospital did you go to? I have so many questions. I hope i am not making you feel uncomfortable, but it feels so nice to find someone that would understand and has been through that process. If you want to learn more about me, I have a blog you can look up. It's http://latissaandscottgraham.blogspot.com/. I have had several other trials this pregnancy, and have found that it helps to hear each other's trials and struggles, to know you are not alone. I shared my struggle with depression earlier in my pregnancy and received such an overwhelming response. Some people that I didn't even know contacted me and told me they were so grateful to hear that they were not the only one who has felt that way. So I guess I am feeling the same way, reading your story. Thank you for sharing your experience, and if you would like to, I would love to hear more from you.

Thanks,
Latissa Graham

Rachel C said...

A beautiful pre-story!

I'm so sorry the birth was so difficult. I'm glad they got things figured out and that you have been recovering. You are so awesome and you're such a wonderful mom.