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Cath and Duncan
High-Risk Pregnancy ~ Unmedicated Vaginal Delivery Followed by Emergency D&C

I have decided it is true that each delivery is unique and no two are alike. I had one high-risk pregnancy and went back for another "round." This time was possibly scarier than the first, as I had the overwhelming feeling that I had "used up" my good luck and that something was going to go wrong. By the time I got to 8 months, I was pretty nervous, but thankfully, one morning, about 2 weeks before my due date, I had some contractions and called my husband, Robin at work, to take me to the hospital. I was disappointed to learn it was false labor, but very encouraged to hear I was 4 cm dilated. The saga of all my false labours is a story in itself, but suffice to say, I was admitted 3 times over the next week with false labour.

A week before my due date, I woke in the middle of the night, thinking my membranes had ruptured, but as soon as I turned the light on, I saw I was haemorrhaging. It suddenly occurred to me that I had not felt the baby move for a couple of hours before I went to bed. We arranged for a babysitter for Bill and made a dash to the hospital. Still no movement from the baby, and I cried all the way. Thankfully, when we arrived, the fetal monitor picked up the heartbeat immediately, and it was fine and healthy. An IV was started and I was restricted to bedrest. After a full day, and no more bleeding, the OBGYN said I could go home again in the morning and wait until I went into labour. But just before midnight, I had began to bleed heavily, and he decided it was time to get the baby out. I have a uterine vascular abnormality, so a C-Section would not be safe for me, but the doctor felt it would be safe to induce, so we called Rob to come back in, and I was moved to the delivery room, right next door to the one our son Bill was born in just over 2 years ago.

As soon as Rob arrived, I was started on a Pitocin drip, and only one drop put me into full labour! I was already pretty well dilated so I didn't have far to go. I had a GREAT labour. It was only 51 minutes in total, no drugs needed and no tearing. My baby boy, Duncan Campbell Peat, was born at 2:41 am on August 26 1996, weighing 8 pounds and after just 2 pushes. He had perfect features, healthy apgars, brown hair and big bright eyes. The only regret I have about the actual delivery is that it was too fast. It sounds strange that anyone would WANT to be in labour for a longer time than she was, but I would have preferred it to be a little longer as it was all over so fast and I have few memories of the experience.

->Within about 20 minutes, it seemed that all was not right. I had asked to breastfeed the baby to assist in the expulsion of the placenta, but it seemed that this was not working. I tried nursing again, and although I could feel the contractions, nothing was happening. Then things started moving very fast. Apparently I was bleeding quite heavily, and more people started coming into the room. More doctors and nurses appeared and someone came and took Duncan from Robin. People started talking about the bleeding and telling me to push/not push/relax/pant and goodness knows what else. Someone was pushing hard on my abdomen, and I was begging them to stop as it was horrible. I was in a LOT of pain, much more than with the delivery of the baby. I found out later, the doctor was reaching up into my uterus, trying to manually remove the placenta which had broken up and was partially adhered to the uterus. He was pushing on my abdomen to expel the blood which was collecting in the uterus, as he was concerned it would fill up with blood and rupture. I felt people sticking needles in my arms and legs trying to find a vein to start a second IV, and heard a nurse calling out that she could not get a vein. I looked up and saw what looked like about 4 bags of IV fluid hanging on the pole. I figured I was seeing double and closed my eyes, but Rob later told me I was losing blood so fast, my veins had collapsed and the nurses were squeezing the bags to get as much fluid into me as possible. If I was not in so much pain, I would have believed I was dreaming, as everything was so vague and hazy, but the last thing I heard before I lost consciousness was somebody calling out my blood pressure and the words "BP 28 over 18" I was glad to black out as it felt much better and didn't hurt a bit, so I was pretty ticked off when I woke up after somebody gave me oxygen. I remember seeing the nurse tape my wedding band and hearing the doctor ask Rob to sign a consent for surgery, and the next thing I knew, I was being wheeled to the OR. I really knew it was serious then, because they were running and for the first time, I thought I was going to die. I was not scared because I felt too woozy and crummy, but I was worried about the baby and my husband and son.

I woke up in the recovery room and felt incredibly cold, sore, and thirsty. The nurse told me I had a D&C and blood transfusions. Duncan was fine, Rob was a wreck and the L&D staff were all completely stressed out. I had placenta accreta, which is quite unusual. The placenta grows too deeply into the wall of the uterus with "roots" and it does not detach after the delivery of the baby, so blood continues to be delivered to it. I was lucky, as it frequently requires a hysterectomy to stop the haemorrhaging. Rob came to stand by my bed and tell me Duncan was in the nursery and doing fine. He barely recognized me as I had received so much intravenous fluid, my face was about twice its usual size and my arms and legs were all swollen. (I almost cried when I looked in the mirror the first time).

I was very lucky. I have wondered what would have happened to me if I had not had that IV. I felt completely horrible for about a month after Duncan's birth and now that he is 6 weeks old, I only feel exhausted! He is a beautiful baby and of course he is worth all the trouble it took to get him here, but I would certainly have preferred a more "routine" delivery. He will be our last baby, so I will be sure to enjoy him.

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