Welcome to birth trauma stories Podcast

Delivery day 9.19.19

Around 10 the next morning I was exhausted and decided to get an epidural. 

My L&D nurse Kristi came to check me and I was at 4 cm but there was still a “bulge” in my water. I sent a text to my prayer group to pray that the rest of my water would break. Through early afternoon, my sweet prayer team sent bible verses and memes to encourage me. 

1353 “My baby and I are working together” 

1353 “Women all over the world are birthing with me” 

1608  “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 18:6

Then around quarter of five our world as we knew it, would be forever changed.

My husband said I suddenly woke up from a nap and screamed my heart is racing! 

He then looked at the monitors and they were reading nothing but he did not think anything of it because monitors slip all the time. He then left the room to get my nurse. Kristi has told me that when she first walked into the room she didn’t notice I was slumped over. In one motion she grabbed my wrist which was posturing and the blood pressure cuff to check my vitals. Once she didn’t feel a pulse she grabbed my shoulders and shook me several times. 

Next, she pressed the staff assist button and several L&D  & NICU staff came running. 

Typically when the Staff Assist button is called it is for a baby in distress. Unbeknownst to the staff running, it would be two lives at stake. 

At this point Kristi was already on my chest trying her hardest to save my life. 

After about 5 minutes the decision was made to call a Code Blue. This calls several other teams. Several more nurses and doctors rushed in and began moving my stuff from around the bed. My husband then thought “that’s something I can help with” and joined them.  After another minute or so someone called out, “Family still in the room”! A nurse named Samantha ushered Eli and Brittany out of the room. 

Samantha's patient had an AFE just three months Prior to mine.

Unfortunately that mom didn't survive. So it was understandable as to why she volunteered quickly to be the escort. Samantha tried to lead them to the waiting room, but about halfway there, Eli saw a bench and collapsed. Which was special because he was able to hear our daughter’s first cries and meet her on the way to the NICU. The code blue team decided to do an emergency cesarean in the L&D room which probably saved my daughter from further trauma. She did have to be resuscitated, but was in the NICU for "only" 4 days.

Then they continued working on me. 

After about a 30 minute code and multiple shocks, the doctors stabilized me and rushed me to an operating room. The doctors initially thought I had a clot in my heart (based on imaging) but thankfully I did not. When my lung filled with fluid and collapsed, it compressed the right side of my heart. The clot was actually in my lung, but a sternotomy was still needed to decompress the hemopneumothorax in my chest. 

As the cardiothoracic team was working in my chest, the Obstetrics team began their work. 

The bleeding from my c-section would not stop. I went into disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) which medical professionals call death is coming. This where you are bleeding so uncontrollably that you “bleed” out the clotting factors in your blood. So medical staff try to replace blood as fast as you are hemorrhaging. It is challenging to find the balance of restoring blood and clotting factors (hemostasis). 

I would need to have my uterus removed. 

After a few hours in the OR the surgeons decided I was stable enough and needed to rest. So they packed my incisions and sent me to the CTICU. After the first surgery the doctors came to talk to my husband and mother in law Suzanne or as we affectionally call her Nana. They described the situation and how sick I was, but said at least they did not have to put me on ECMO. 

At least for now...