Preeclampsia & HELLP Syndrome at 28 Weeks Birth Story
Danielle’s birth is not what she expected. Danielle knew she would have a c-section because of a trauma to her hip in the past but she did not expect it to be at 29 weeks. Danielle went in for her 28 week check up only to find her blood pressure dangerously high and traces of protein in her urine. Upon being admitted to the hospital it became increasingly hard to control her blood pressure.
Along with preeclampsia, Danielle was developing HELLP syndrome, causing her platelets to plummet and her alt levels to rise. Eventually it became too dangerous for Danielle to remain pregnant. At 8am on 10/24 the doctor decided it was time to have a baby. Danielle was wheeled into the OR with tears in her eyes. She feared it was too early for her baby.
66 Day NICU Stay
Sean William was born at 8:35am weighing 3 pounds exactly and 15 3/4 inches. Danielle saw Sean briefly before he was brought to the NICU. That would be the last time she saw him until the next day. Danielle spent every day in that NICU even though it was the hardest place to be. Sean is a strong boy. He spent 66 days in the NICU and is now a sturdy 14 pound boy.
Danielle Foster Bio
Danielle lives in Hanson, Massachusetts and works as a quality assurance coordinator for an insurance tracking company. Danielle and Brian have known each other since high school but never spoke in high school. The magic of the Bruins playoffs in 2011 brought them together and it’s been love ever since. Danielle and Brian began their journey to start a family in October 2016 and she finally got her big fat positive in April of 2018. Connect with her on Facebook.
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Fertility Journey, Placenta Previa/Accreta Diagnosis and NICU Stay
Kathleen spent 2 years in pursuit of conception, hitting a few roadblocks along the way, including an auto-immune thyroid disease diagnosis and the death of her mom, which took a toll on her mentally and emotionally as she grieved. After year 1 of casually trying without success, Kathleen decided to take a more serious approach and worked in a group with fertility coach Lisa Hendrickson-Jack of the Fertility Friday Podcast. Lisa guided a small group of women for a 10 week session on learning the Fertility Awareness Method of cycle tracking. This method can be used for conception or pregnancy avoidance, and it enabled Kathleen to pinpoint the best days for conception based on several key signs she had not previously been able to recognize with confidence. She also learned ways to support her thyroid, which seemed to improve her cycle.
When Kathleen became pregnant naturally in January of 2018, she and her husband were elated. Besides the standard sickness and cramping of early pregnancy, everything was going smoothly up until midway through the 2nd trimester. Around week 13, her doctor observed the placenta was low-lying over the cervix. At her 20 week anatomy scan, everything with the baby looked wonderful except the placenta was still in the way and had not budged. At this point, Kathleen was diagnosed with complete posterior placenta previa; but, there was still the hope of it moving because it was diagnosed so early. This condition comes with a high risk of hemorrhage so the doctor advised Kathleen to limit her activity considerably.
Kathleen joined a facebook group for previa and began learning all she could. Through this group, she also discovered that women with previa are at a higher risk for another, even more dangerous condition called placenta accreta. Somewhere in the back of her mind, fears of accreta began to eat away. Kathleen started experiencing frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, pressure, and cramping. Around week 24 she had regular contractions for 48 hrs and decided to visit L&D at her area hospital. The residents observed her contractions and immediately performed an internal ultrasound, and discovered something was “wrong with her cervix”. Although it was closed, it appeared distorted. They chose to observe Kathleen overnight and she was ultimately discharged with a diagnosis of irritable uterus + polyhydramnios, and a follow up ultrasound was scheduled to look further into previa/cervical complications.
After an emotional visit and an MRI, it was determined Kathleen indeed had an accreta where the placenta was growing into her cervix. She and her husband were devastated, as this would mean their first baby would need to be delivered at least a month early via c-section and she would require a hysterectomy at delivery. Her case was taken over by the MFM department of Yale New Haven hospital—the same team of doctors she saw at week 24. Even with the accreta diagnosis, these doctors hoped for the best. Thankfully, Kathleen avoided a major bleed that typically occurs in complete previa pregnancies, the polyhydramnios and irritable uterus resolved, and she was able to deliver on her scheduled date at 36 + 0 weeks. Her son was delivered successfully, and it was discovered that she did not have an accreta. The placenta was removed without issue. What Kathleen did actually have was an even more rare condition called cervical AVM, or arterio vascular malformation of the cervix. Her doctors printed her a case study which claimed to be the only known case. The cause is unknown. Unfortunately, Kathleen’s son suffered complications from being born pre-term and spent 12 days in the NICU overcoming respiratory issues. After 6 months postpartum, both mom and baby are doing well and enjoying the semi-calm after the storm.
Kathleen Harrington Bio
Kathleen is 33 years old and lives in Connecticut with her husband, Dennis, their 6 month old son, Cassian Robin, and 2 rambunctious rescue hounds Edie and Juno. Kathleen has a film degree and spent some time post-college working in TV production as a personal assistant; but, she has since branched out into other fields, including most recently, biotechnology. After learning she had hashimoto’s thyroiditis during her 2 year conception journey, Kathleen dove into the deep well of fertility knowledge the internet has to offer and began to learn ways to support her body from a functional medicine perspective. She truly enjoys connecting with other women and sharing what knowledge she has gleaned from her personal experience. Connect with her on instagram @kateye85
Fertility Friday | Fertility Awareness Method Cycle Charting
Placenta Previa & Accreta Support Group
Hope for Accreta Foundation- Placenta Accreta, Increta and Percreta
The Birth Hour
Fertility Friday Podcast
Emergency Cesarean for Preterm Breech Baby
Bek entered her pregnancy wanting an unmedicated birth. She went with a midwifery group in a hospital because of wanting to be in the best possible place in case she needed help due to her disability. She was confident that her limitations wouldn’t be an issue and her midwives were confident in supporting her. But when she went into labor at 34 weeks and her son was in an incomplete breech position and a whirlwind labor, she had to get an emergency c section. Baby and mama were safe and spent 11 days in the NICU before heading home. Even though it was much different than what Bek wanted, they made it through and look back knowing they were safe and didn’t have any complications making it home for unlimited snuggles.
Bek Moody Bio
Bek is a full time working at home recruiter who is married and mama to a 14 year old daughter and 14 month old son. She lives with a disability (genetic nerve disorder) and spends most of her time in a wheelchair. But this doesn’t stop her from living a full life enjoying being a wife and mama to her kids. Connect with her on IG @alwaysbmoody
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IUI Fertility Treatment & Surprise Triplets
Although Jody and Jeremy went through fertility treatment (IUI – intrauterine insemination,) they were told their chances of the procedure’s success was less than 20% due to small follicle size. Along with their physician, they decided to proceed anyways. After positive pregnancy tests and blood tests, it was confirmed the procedure was a success!
Jody experienced a significant amount of bleeding. After about 8 weeks, she and her husband went in for an early ultrasound to see if there was a reason for the bleeding. The doctor confirmed that triplets were the reason. Jody had a fairly insignificant pregnancy by triplet standards. No official bed rest or major medical issues.
Premature Labor and Eclampsia
At 32 weeks and 6 days, Jody went into labor. Medication helped stop the contractions, and 48 hours of steroids helped develop the lungs of the babies. Jody’s high blood pressure kept her in the antenatal unit of the hospital. Once her blood pressure was under control, she was set to go home. Listening to her gut feeling, she asked for one more night to be monitored.
That evening Jody went into labor and full eclampsia. Luckily she was right where she needed to be. An emergency cesarean section was performed and Jody and Jeremy welcomed three beautiful babies to their family (33weeks 4days gestation).
NICU Stay with Triplets
The NICU stay proved to be a challenge, with emotional and physical (for the babies) tribulations. The newborns needed to have 5 days in a row without a cardiac or oxygen related ‘event’. After 22 days of ups and downs the Wilson family was together once again.
Breastfeeding Triplets and Postpartum Depression
Exclusively pumping/breast feeding for triplets would prove to be a full time job in itself for Jody. The children had to have the breast milk supplemented to a higher caloric value to help with growth. Trying to find any type of balance in their home life was a struggle. Jody struggled with postpartum depression and sought medical help after trying to deal with it alone. Jody never really had a birth plan in mind prior to finding out she was pregnant—in the end the triplets made the plan for her.
Jody Wilson Bio
Jody is 36 years old and lives in Washington state with her husband, Jeremy, their goldendoodle, Opie(5), and their triplets: Audrey(4), Oliver(4), and Everett(4). Jeremy works from home part time and travels part time. Jody stays at home with the children and also works as a substitute group fitness instructor. Now that the kids have started preschool, Jody is looking forward to finishing the baby books and a few other projects that have taken a back seat. If you have any questions or just need a fellow triplet-mom to lend a listening ear, feel free to connect with her on Facebook, email or Instagram. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram or via email at email@example.com.
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Chamblee writes out a brief summary of her story below. Listen to the episode for the whole journey.
“On March 13th, 2017 my OBGYN called me at work to come in for an ultrasound. I thought this was weird, because I had just been there the week before for my 16 week check up (during that check up everything went well, & we got to see my daughter during a routine ultrasound). When I arrived at the office I knew something was off— they told me that some of my blood work results (from the week before) had come back a little high & they wanted to just recheck my baby’s progress via ultrasound.
Instead of being very chatty, like usual, the ultrasound tech was very quiet and diligent with gathering images. As I looked at my baby in the screen I thought “she looks fine. She is kicking her legs, moving her arms and head, her heart rate was normal, etc”. Later, my doctor came into the room and explained that my daughter had a neural tube defect called Spina Bifida—my heart hit the floor. “What is that?” I asked because honestly I was ignorant to any details of SB. She explained that I would need to see a perinatal specialist to get specific details, but that as a “whole” babies with SB would never walk & would have a lifetime of struggling with hydrocephalus (water on the brain). I fell apart—my child would never walk & have mental issues.
Fast forward to our appt at the perinatal specialists. Instead of being supportive, comforting, and positive (like my OBGYN), the doctor took more invasive images and delivered very bleak news. He said that my child would live a hard life filled with struggles—but then he directed his attention to me and my husband. As we sat shivering in a conference room he said “unless you want to live a life of constant obligation & hardships, you may consider abortion. Legally, in the state of GA, you are still within the timeframe to eliminate your pregnancy.” Luckily for me, I got to see my baby that day during the ultrasound. She was moving. She was wiggling and she was kicking. She had life in her & so far was enjoying it just like every other baby in a mommy’s womb. Abortion wasn’t the path for us.
After thorough research, I realized that there was a surgery available that could help lessen the effects of SB. I immediately called Children’s Healthcare of Vanderbilt, who was one of three places in the U.S. that can perform the surgery. They scheduled a consultation, and after a rigorous weekend of evaluations, we were approved for the fetal surgery! On May 2nd both me and my daughter underwent surgery. The recovery process was intense, and I had to remain on bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy.
On June 27, 2017 our daughter Bryce Magnolia Madani made an early 2nd arrival into this world. Born at 32 Weeks. 4 lbs 1 oz. 17 in long. Now, she is a strong 6 month old baby girl! She kicks her legs and mentally meets every milestone for her age!
As far as walking, she may walk normally or may never walk at all; but, based on her SB level she was suppose to be paralyzed from the waist down. The Fetal Surgery maintain those exposed nerves in her back & allowed her back to heal more normally! We may never be able to have other children, based on how harsh Fetal Surgery is on the uterus— but God blesses us with a miracle! He gave us strength during tough times, & has showed us how to truly see the positive side of life. Not to mention, we have a beautiful, little baby who continues to enhance our lives tremendously!”
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Emergency Cesarean after Preeclampsia & Long Induction VBAC Birth Stories
On this episode, Amarachi shares her two birth stories. She had an uneventful pregnancy with her firstborn, but a very eventful emergency c-section at 32 and 6 due to severe preeclampsia, including: a 48 hour magnesium sulfate drip; a 26 day NICU stay for her baby; and, PPD upon arrival home. During her second pregnancy, which was considered high risk due to her previous delivery, Amarachi had morning sickness from weeks 5-28. At week 28, she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (non-insulin-dependent). Amarachi was induced at 39 weeks; and, after a 43.5 hour labor, she had a successful VBAC delivery!
Amarachi Ukazim Bard Bio
Amarachi lives with her husband, Mike, and their two tenacious daughters – Auden (3) and Joona (1) in Central Connecticut. She spends her days taking care of her family, (most likely) eating tacos, being shop manager for a Christ-centered women’s magazine called Deeply Rooted Magazine, and blogging at simplyamarachi.com. She captures her everyday life on Instagram @amarachibard.
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Today’s episode was sponsored by Ergobaby. Founded in 2003, Ergobaby is dedicated to building a global community of confident parents with smart, ergonomic solutions that enable and encourage bonding between parents and babies. Ergobaby offers a broad range of award-winning baby carriers, strollers, swaddlers, nursing pillows, and related products that fit into families’ daily lives seamlessly, comfortably and safely. At the end of today’s episode I spoke to Rebecca about what makes them unique and the features of their newest sleeping bag. Use the coupon code “thebirthhour” to get 20% off any sleep product Ergobaby.com or ergobaby.ca for our Canadian listeners.