On Saturday, May 21st 2016 I had just finished eating dinner with my parents and two sisters. We were getting ready to watch a Doris Day movie. My sisters and I had spent the weekend at my parent’s home watching old movies, eating junk food, and sewing burp cloths for the sisters in my ward who were expecting. I was just about 28 weeks pregnant myself.
We finished dinner and I went to the bathroom. While there I noticed I was bleeding. I had my phone with me and immediately called my doctor. There was a recorded message saying, ‘If you are pregnant and bleeding go to the hospital’ I hung up and told my sister, Mashelle. I went upstairs to gather my things and I felt like I needed to go into the bathroom again. The blood wasn’t stopping. I called my husband to let him know that my sister would be driving me to the hospital. My mom and other sister came with us. We were in Evanston, Wyoming, which is a little over an hour’s drive from my hospital on Ogden, Utah. During the drive I really didn’t know what to think. I could feel my baby boy moving so I knew he was okay. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I did my best to remain calm. Thanks to my sister’s lead foot we made it to the hospital in record time.
I was admitted and stayed in the hospital for a few days. The bleeding had stopped by the next day. They kept my baby on constant monitoring to make sure I wasn’t in labor and to ensure that the baby wasn’t under any stress. On Monday, I had an ultrasound with Perinatology. They found that I had a slight placenta abruption but that it clotted, that’s why the bleeding stopped. They sent me home the next day on strict bed rest. I could only get up to shower and use the bathroom. I had no idea how I was supposed to do that for the last 11 weeks of my pregnancy with three kids at home. I was thankful to go home but I was a nervous wreck.
As soon as I walked in the door I started spotting again. I stayed off my feet for the day and did my best to remain calm. They told me that if I started bleeding again that I would need to return to the hospital and stay there for the remainder of my pregnancy. The thought of staying 11 weeks in the hospital made me sick. How could I be away from my girls that long? Who would take care of them? How often would I be alone there, knowing that my hubby would be splitting his time between the hospital and home? I did NOT want to go back. But I was scared. I had no idea why my body was doing this. I had carried three previous babies to term with zero complications. Why was this happening? I went to bed early that night. As my girls came in to tell me good night something felt different. I think on some level I knew that I would be back at the hospital in the morning.
I tried to sleep but I mostly just tossed and turned. Around 11:30pm, I got out of bed and just felt like I need to go into the bathroom. As soon as I sat on the toilet I started hemorrhaging blood. My husband came in and we both knew right away that we needed to get to the hospital. Thankfully, my mom was staying with us for a few days so we were able to leave right then. Once again, we made it to the hospital in record time. I was back at the hospital exactly 12 hours after I was discharged. I walked up to the desk and told them what was happening. They asked how heavy the bleeding was and I told them that if I was out there any longer it would soon be all over the floor.
They whisked me back to a room. As I was laying there, telling the nurse everything that had happened the previous few days I could feel the blood coming and coming. I asked her to check me. As soon as she pulled back the sheet she said, ‘I’m calling your doctor now.’ She left the room. I started shaking. I knew I was losing a lot of blood. I got really cold. I could still feel my baby and I could hear his heart beat on the monitor. I knew he was okay. However, I didn’t know if I was okay. I honestly don’t remember if Russ and I said much to each other in those few minutes. He looked and saw how much blood I was loosing. I wonder what he must have been thinking.
The nurse came back, in what seemed like less than 5 minutes. Right away she said, “Okay, we’re taking baby.” All I could say was, “Okay.” The nurses immediately started prepping me for my C-section. This being my 4th, I was pretty familiar with the prep process, but this prep was filled with anxiety and fear. Russ, who was there for the birth of our girls, was all gowned up ready to go into the OR with me. My doctor walked in and informed us that Russ wouldn’t be able to come in this time because they didn’t have time to give me a spinal. They would need to put me completely out. The anesthesiologist started talking to me about the process and how they were going to put a breathing tube down my throat. All I could think was that Russ wouldn’t be by my side. With a nervous, ‘I love you’, to Russ, they wheeled me out of the room. Russ was left there alone.
On the way to the OR I had assurance again that my baby boy would be okay. But I still didn’t know if I was going to be okay. Would they be able to stop the bleeding? Would I need a hysterectomy? Would I survive? As soon as I thought that last question I was reminded of a phrase in my patriarchal blessing that says I will be able to bear and raise my children. I knew that I would be okay. I wasn’t sure what condition I would be in, but I knew I wasn’t going to die.
Upon entering the OR they helped me move from my hospital bed onto the operating table. I glanced over at my bed and was shocked at the amount of blood. Could someone really lose that amount of blood and be okay? Was my baby really okay? Was this amount of blood loss affecting him? These thoughts were racing through my mind and the fear was returning. Just then, a sweet nurse grabbed my hand and told me that was her job, just to hold my hand. Another nurse, Hope was her name, told me it was okay to cry. The tears freely fell down my face. The anesthesiologist team was ready. The surgical team was ready. I heard my doctor say, ‘Scalpel’ and I was out.
My first memory of coming to was pink. That was the first color I remember seeing in my minds eye. Pink clouds almost. I also felt as though I was running. Running back. Back from where, I don’t know. But I felt like I was running back and I had something urgent to say. I had felt my Grandpa Welling. My grandpa had passed away just a few weeks earlier. He played a major role in my life and I knew he was with me during my surgery. I knew he was standing over my right shoulder. I felt him. I knew he was there and I had to tell someone.
As I started to become more aware of my surroundings, I could hear nurses talking. I discovered that I was in recovery and they were waiting for me to wake up. I asked if my baby was okay. They said, yes! He was doing just fine and that he peed all over the doctor when he was born. I then asked if I was okay. They said, yes! I then asked if my husband was okay. They told me that they were sure he was doing just fine and that he had been updated on our status. I asked those three questions, in that order, probably three more times.
They took me back to my room where Russ was waiting. I still hadn’t been able to open my eyes. My brain was fully engaged and I was aware of my surroundings but my body was exhausted. As soon as the nurses left I felt like we needed to say a prayer. I asked Russ to pray for us. I don’t remember what he said but I remember feeling so peaceful. After the prayer I asked Russ to stay by my side. I didn’t want him leaving. I needed him right there beside me. We held hands for a few moments. Then I heard him cry. I finally let my body get the sleep that it so desperately needed and I drifted off to sleep.