I’m going to preface this post by stating that it is very long. And there are some slightly graphic areas that may not be all that pleasant to read. I’m writing this exactly how I remember it, with as many thoughts and events as possible. It’s important to me to have this all written down and for all the details to be documented, because everything that happened made a huge impact on the day. So anything I felt, thought, or saw will be here as long as I can remember it all clearly.
On Sunday, February 19 I hit 31 weeks. Which, like I’ve mentioned before, means I had completed my 31st week. My shower had been the previous weekend and my mom was still staying with us for a few more days. I’d been having trouble sleeping so we slept in a little that Sunday instead of heading to church. My sister-in-law and my 2-year old nephew left that morning for home and we were concerned about her on the road as it was a cold, rainy, and windy day. My mom was scheduled to leave that Tuesday and I had been contemplating not going to work on Monday so I could get an extra day with her.
The plan for that Sunday was for mom and I to go and get pedicures and then my husband would meet us in town so we could all head to Babies ‘R’ Us so that we could buy G’s crib. We had gotten out of the house a little late that day and spent some leisurely time at the nail salon. My husband was attending a meeting for a side job he was interested in and ran a little late, waiting for our cue that we were finished. There was no specific reason we sat so long or he stayed so long but it had a profound impact on how our day ended up. We decided to head to Target before heading to BRU so it was later in the day by the time we made our way across town.
By this point we were getting really hungry so we stopped at Golden Corral (which is basically across the street from BRU) to eat an early dinner. We were shocked at how busy it was, with the line almost heading out the door. We decided that it wasn’t worth waiting for and that we would just come back after heading to the other store even though we were all hungry.
Mom and I spent a little time in Babies R Us going through the clearance clothes before we met my husband back in the furniture area. Once he had gotten all the paperwork set up for the crib we decided to test out the gliders to see if we could find one we liked. I was getting up out of one of the gliders when I felt only what I can describe as a leaking sensation. The first thing I thought of was, “Great. I wet my pants in public. Fantastic.” But honestly, after that first initial thought I knew something wasn’t right. It didn’t feel like I had peed. The sensation was wrong and it was too warm. I reached down to make sure my pants weren’t wet and when I pulled back my hand my fingers were covered in blood. I can’t tell you what went through my head at that split second. I think that instinct kicked in and survival mode kept me from freaking out or passing out. I turned to my mom and husband with my hand out and just simply said, “I’m bleeding.”
They both looked at me, relatively unconcerned, because both had the thought that I had cut my hand on the chair. It had only been just a second that I had stood there thinking I had wet my pants but my entire world had slammed to a stop at that moment so I couldn’t process how they didn’t understand what was happening. I looked at them both and slightly panicked said that they didn’t understand. I was BLEEDING. My mom immediately grabbed my arm and we headed towards the bathroom. I think shock set in pretty fast and I was able to tell my husband to call our OB from my phone. I could hear him on the phone when we got to the bathroom. I pulled down my pants and sat down and there was blood everywhere. It was all over my jeans and my underwear and there was a large clot that I was immediately worried was tissue. I seemed to grasp that if I was having a miscarriage there wouldn’t be tissue at this stage of the game but it didn’t comfort me as I knew that it was bad. I don’t remember what I said or did at that point. I don’t know if I was crying or just panicking. I know my mom told my husband we needed to go to the ER.
We managed to get me clothed and walked to the door. It seems strange to me that no one noticed our procession with my husband rushing out the door to get the car and my mom steadying me as she guided me out. I know that if anyone had really looked at me they’d have noticed something was wrong. I even had the forethought to grab some of the plastic bags to put on my seat. I remember a woman standing in front of the store loading some things into a van. She kept looking over at us and I think she knew something was wrong. By that point I was very calmly freaking out and kept praying “Please God, save my baby. Keep my baby safe.” It only occurred to me once on the ride over that I could be lost as well. I got in the car and we started the 8 minute drive to the hospital. Of course we hit most of the stoplights before the highway on-ramp but we made it to the ER in much less time than I expected us to. The whole time I was praying that God would save my baby. I didn’t know what was happening; I just knew it was bad. I don’t think it occurred to me I might give birth that day, though.
We got to the ER and I told my husband I would probably need a wheelchair. It’s funny the things you say when you’re in a situation like that. Of course I was going to need a wheelchair. He ran in and grabbed one and helped me out of the car into it. My mom took the keys and took the car to park as we went in. I swear the next few minutes felt so long as they took my name, my OB office’s info, and had us set to the side as we waited for someone from Labor & Delivery to come get us. I didn’t understand why no one was doing anything faster. I felt like time was running out as the whole time I could feel the blood pulsing out. It hadn’t stopped and was just getting worse. Just as my mom came in someone came to get me and headed inside.
When we got to L&D they made my mom wait outside in the waiting room as my husband came in with me. We got into our room and waited for what seemed like several minutes before a woman came in to get my info again for registration. I remember feeling annoyed because I had sent my registration paperwork in weeks before but apparently wasn’t in the system. I felt like we were wasting more time with stupid tasks but was finally given a gown and told to change into it. I took off my sweater and tank top but stood there wide-eyed as I told my husband I didn’t think I could take off my jeans because there was just too much blood. When the nurse came in I told her this and she gave me a towel so that I could cover myself while getting into bed. I asked for water because I was so thirsty but they told me I couldn’t have any. I also had to pee really bad but I was afraid to for fear of increasing the amount of blood. Every movement I made resulted in more blood. I kept thinking to myself that I had felt Gavin kicking not that long before all this started and that he had to be ok. I couldn’t lose my little boy. The nurse found his heartbeat which sounded pretty good and was listening when the doctor finally came in. The doctor started an ultrasound and was explaining the possible scenarios as he went along. Placenta previa or placental abruption were his two main concerns and since I had had no previous issues concerning previa, he was thinking abruption. He couldn’t find any evidence of an abruption on the ultrasound and was talking about how we’d proceed (monitoring, possible bed rest, possible early delivery) when Gavin’s heart slowed to a horrible crawl. To me it sounded like his heart was beating through molasses. The sound was sluggish and terrible. At that point the doctor decided it was time he came out.
They started prepping me right then and there. I’m honestly not sure all they did in that room. I had started to feel very nauseous and lightheaded. My husband said they started trimming the area that the incision would be made and I have memories of lots of people milling around. They asked my husband to remove my earrings but he only managed to get one out before they were literally wheeling me out the door and on the way to the OR. At some point my husband was sent to the waiting room and I was taken in.
I remember asking once in the OR where my husband was. I was scared. I was shaking badly. They had me move from the bed I was on to the operating table and I remember being scared to move due to the blood loss. At that point it was a whirlwind of people. There were people working on every part of me. Strapping down my arms, my legs, washing my belly, putting the sticky monitoring pads on me, and putting an oxygen mask on my face, among other things. I was told to take deep breaths and then the next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery.
The first question I asked when I came to was “Where’s my baby. How’s my baby?” I was told he was doing well and was in the NICU. He came out breathing on his own and I found out later that he cried when he was delivered and everyone in the OR was thrilled to hear it. I also half joked about how I really hadn’t had wanted to go to work the next day (I had been contemplating not going in to spend time with mom before she left). I was in pain from the incision because I had had general anesthesia instead of an epidural so there was no pain management until the morphine drip kicked in. My throat was coated and I couldn’t clear my throat enough to be comfortable but the effort of coughing and attempting to clear it was felt like lightning through my belly. When my husband was finally let in he flew through the door do my side. I was in recovery for awhile and was visited by the lactation nurse from the NICU and honestly I’m not sure if there was anyone else. I was allowed to hit my morphine drip every 8 minutes so I was watching the clock in order to not miss any time. They kept asking what my pain level was on a scale of 1-10, a question I’ve always hated and never know how to answer. I believe I told them “6.” Within the next few days I believe I’d answer anywhere from 3 1/2 to 5. My mom also came to see me in recovery and I remember I kept asking for something to drink. I’d been thirsty all day but they wouldn’t let me have anything to drink – just ice cubes. I went through at least a cup of ice before I made it to my room.
I’ve never been through something like that before. I don’t just mean the abruption; I mean the trauma and the terror of the situation. I’ve never been so scared. And I’ve never wanted anything as badly as I wanted Gavin to be ok that day. I thank God for the events that led us to be where we were and that we were able to make it to the hospital on time. I thank God that my mom was still in town and was there with me to reassure me and to help keep me calm. But above all I thank God for the precious little miracle he gifted me that day.