When I was about 26 weeks pregnant with my fourth boy, I went into my OB/GYN’s office for an ultrasound due to a bleed. I had previously been diagnosed with a complete previa. During this ultrasound, they discovered I also potentially had accreta. Placenta accreta is a pregnancy condition that occurs when blood vessels and other parts of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall. An MRI a few days later confirmed accreta. I had NO idea what that was or the journey I was about to embark on.
My doctor sent me to Houston to see a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) doctor. After reading about the diagnosis online and talking to doctors, I went home and began to process what lay ahead. Scared, no … petrified, is the best term to use to describe how I felt. I met Dr. Fox and immediately knew the Team at the Pavilion for Women was where I needed and wanted to be for my delivery and surgery. The day after I initially met Dr. Fox, I had another bleed. I was taken by medical helicopter from College Station to Houston where I was put on bedrest until I was to deliver.
In Houston, while in bed, I began the process of meeting my team of doctors, the urologist, oncologist, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) doctors, etc. They were all schooled and prepared for my surgery at any moment. It was amazing to watch and be a part of such an intricate and purposeful team. I had another MRI that showed potential percreta (when the placenta attaches itself and grows through the cervix and bladder). I stayed on bedrest until I was 32 weeks, when I had another bleed so the doctors decided it was time to deliver. It happened so fast, but one moment I will never forget was when they began to wheel me back to the surgery room and Dr. Fox was walking beside me and she said, “I am going to the bathroom and then I will be back to start the surgery.” I must have looked at her with wide, petrified eyes and I know I squeezed her hand and then she said, “No, never mind, I will stay with you.” Pretty clear evidence of the level of care these doctors provide for each of their patients!
Jude was born on Nov. 7, 2014. He was 3 lbs. 12 oz. and was in the NICU for three weeks. My surgery lasted five hours. I had a complete hysterectomy (except for my ovaries). I ended up with no blood transfusions, but I did receive some other blood products. It is my understanding that the placenta was attached to my cervix and bladder, but not as severely as they had anticipated. I stayed in the hospital a few more days and then headed home to my other boys! It was a long, very emotional six weeks and I was relieved that part of the journey was over.
Little did I know that post surgery would be just as hard. I not only had more physical healing to do, but also emotional healing to work through. After sitting and thinking about death for so many weeks prior to delivery, I came home with major anxiety. I still lived in fear of dying and had a lot of trouble being away from my family for any length of time. After weeks of feeling this way, I was put on anti-anxiety medication and that helped a lot. During all of this, God really brought me to my knees. I had to learn to trust completely in Him.
It was easy to ask “Why me? Why do I have to do this?” but God is faithful. God was, and is, in control. He had a plan and has a plan. I would not have made it through bedrest on my own strength, God was, and is, my strength. Being away from my boys was tough and many days felt hopeless, but I held on to this truth found in Lamentation 3:21-24 “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!”
Through these trials what I did learn is God answers prayers, He works miracles (my boys and I are proof of that), and He provides for all our needs. He has a plan. I am alive and I give all glory and credit to The Lord. He does not leave us.
I am so thankful to be a survivor. I now work to bring more awareness of placenta accreta and make gift baskets with a fellow survivor for other accreta patients who are on bedrest. The doctors and nurses at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women will always hold a special place in my and my family’s lives. To Him be ALL the glory, honor and praise!