I had suffered 2 small bleeds in the first trimester of this pregnancy, but early scans had shown a heart-beat and a viable pregnancy. I had no further complications after that and my 22 week scan showed a healthy baby but a low lying placenta.
At 23 weeks I had a bleed which woke me up and I went straight into hospital where I was admitted straight away. Scans were done and this was when placenta accreta was mentioned to me. I was given steroid injections to bring on the baby’s lung development in case they needed to deliver the baby. I was put on bed rest and was monitored very closely. This was such an emotional and terrifying time for me. I was visited by neonatal doctors who explained what would happen should my baby need to be delivered in the coming days and what it’s chances of survival were. Along with all that would be done for the baby I was told that the condition was extremely dangerous for me. The surgery is major and would most probably result in a hysterectomy being done at the time of delivery in order to reduce risk of fatality. With all the medical examinations beginning done on me and my unborn baby I was also having to deal with leaving my girls who were 5 and 3 years old for the foreseeable future until the baby had been delivered. I had never left them before and so this was an extremely anxious time for us all.
Luckily things stabilised and the bleeding stopped and after 6 days I was allowed home. The relief was huge but I felt like a ticking time bomb as I had been told it could happen again at any time and when it did I was to come straight back in. 2 weeks later I began to bleed again. Once again, I was admitted into NMH. Although the bleeding stopped again I was told I wasn’t going to be allowed home until after delivery as it was too dangerous. I was in hospital for 5 weeks before Rian was born at 31 weeks. During this time I received the best care I could have hoped for. The staff were amazing and I was lucky to be invited as the first placenta accreta in-patient to the Placenta Accreta Ireland (PAI)support Group meeting. This for me was a big confidence booster…I met the survivors which gave me such hope and a bit of light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.
3 weeks into my stay another accreta patient was admitted into the same ward, we became close friends and great support for each other. After I had attended the PAI meeting one of the PA survivors came to talk to us and offered such reassurance. She was so open and honest with us…we asked her every question that came to mind, our fears and concerns – big and small, and she answered them honestly. Nothing was sugar coated, and the reality was frightening but speaking to someone who had gone through it and being able to ask advice was very beneficial…and it gave me hope.
The Consultants would call into see me to give me any updates and go through the procedure nearer the time and talked about the hysterectomy they’d have to do in order to save my life. We discussed anaesthetic, possibility of blood transfusions and the placenta latching on to my bladder. Day of surgery was terrifying and so incredibly emotional. The surgery by all accounts went very well. Once the placenta had been separated from my bladder they did the hysterectomy. When I came round from the anaesthetic and saw my husband and I was very emotional but I was alive!!
Rian was born weighing just 4lb, he responded well to intervention and was taken to the NICU where he went from strength to strength.
Since then, I’ve been attending the monthly PAI support meetings. Sometimes I have really had to push myself to go as it can be difficult to talk about and emotionally draining at times. But the support I’ve received during them, from professionals and survivors, has been immense. And it makes me feel that I’m not alone.