Cesarean Sections – more commonly known as a C-Section
C-Sections have become common now more than they have ever before. And there is a lot of controversy surrounding the benefits, risks, etc. Why women should or should not be able to choose C-section over natural birth, whether there is a certain number of C-sections a woman can have, whether or not a V-Bac is safe or risky and so on. I’m not here to talk about my opinion on any of those matters. I’m here to tell you about one of the risks associated with repeat c-sections, and why every woman should know about it. And hopefully in doing so, I can help share with you the importance of pre-natal care, and offer support to those that have endured pregnancy and delivery with this complication, or who may now be facing this complication.
Our first baby, born in 2003, was an unplanned emergency c-section. It was absolutely necessary for the situation, and I am very thankful for it. That being said, had I known the risks of c-sections, I likely would have been more firm in wanting to have my other children via VBAC. Our hospital at the time had a policy: “once a c-section always a c-section” and that was just the way it was. I didn’t know I could argue against it. So, in 2004,’06,’08,’10 and 2012 I had babies, all via cesarean.
With number 5 we learned of the risk of something called Placenta Accreta (my risk for it was 67%!). Fortunately we did not encounter it, but because of previous sections and the way my body likes to go into labor early he was born at 35 weeks. Very healthy, but early still.
We had thought about one more, and knowing the risk at this point, decided it was best to look at adoption or fostering if we were going to grow our family anymore.
We had JUST finished training and getting licensed as foster/adoptive parents when we surprisingly found out we were expecting. From the VERY beginning of this pregnancy everything was different. I had excessive bleeding on 3 separate occasions and thought we were losing a baby all three times. The first was right around when we found out we were pregnant, the second was around 13 weeks and the third time was at 23 weeks. At approximately 18 weeks Doctors determined I had a condition known as Placenta Accreta.
If you’ve never heard of it don’t worry. I hadn’t either until I had my 5th baby! But that’s why I’m telling you about it now, it’s so important to know this risk if you have multiple c-sections! It is a risk associated with pregnancy that can be life-threatening if not discovered before delivery, and even if found can still become life-threatening.
According to the ACOG Placenta Accreta is a cinical condition in which a part of the Placenta or the entire placenta invades the uterine wall. When the chorionic villi invade only the myometrium, the term placenta increta is appropriate; whereas placenta percreta describes invasion through the myometrium and serosa, and occasionally into adjacent organs, such as the bladder. Clinically, placenta accreta becomes problematic during delivery when the placenta does not completely separate from the uterus and is followed by massive obstetric hemorrhage, leading to disseminated intravascular coagulopathy; the need for hysterectomy; surgical injury to the ureters, bladder, bowel, or neurovascular structures; adult respiratory distress syndrome; acute transfusion reaction; electrolyte imbalance; and renal failure. The average blood loss at delivery in women with placenta accreta is 3,000–5,000 mL (2). As many as 90% of patients with placenta accreta require blood transfusion, and 40% require more than 10 units of packed red blood cells.
Women at Greatest risk of Placenta Accreta, Increta or Percreta are those with previous scarring or myometrial damage due to previous c-sections.
The risk of Placenta Accreta was 3%, 11%, 40%, 61%, and 67% for the first, second, third, fourth,
and fifth or greater repeat cesarean deliveries, respectively.
I was diagnosed with Placenta Accreta and Complete Placenta Previa (CPP) at the same time, commonly associated together. I was immediately put on pelvic rest (for those who don’t know,this means no Sex. Period.) and I was put on bed rest.
When I had bleeding at 23 weeks I was put on hospital bed rest for 1 week. It felt like the LONGEST week of my life. I was not able to get up unless I needed to use the restroom or shower. Nothing more. We were terrified we were going to be delivering a baby at 23 weeks. It was scary, and stressful.
Our maternal Fetal Medicine doctor had quite frankly told my husband it would be a wise idea to take out a life insurance policy for me. He wasn’t kidding. And that scared the hell out of me and my husband.
Any sign of bleeding with this condition is a HUGE red flag and could be a sign of the placenta tearing away from the uterine wall, which is extremely dangerous for both Mom and baby.
I went home after one week in the hospital, and was able to stay home a short time, before having more complications on Valentine’s Day 2015. Back to the hospital we went, and I was immediately put on hospital bed rest again. Indefinitely. This time, I was in the hospital 20 days. It was awful. I had to worry about 5 other kids at home, and whether they were getting enough love and attention from whomever was watching them, while my husband was at work. And I constantly worried that we would be delivering a baby incredibly early. On top of that, I was terrified that I wouldn’t survive the surgery.
After 20 days in the hospital I was able to go home and try to get to 35 weeks. They were not going to let me get past 35 weeks as the risk of pre-term labor and hemorrhage was significantly greater at that point, having had a history of early babies, due to pre-term labor.
I made it a few more weeks, and then on April 1st, 2015 I went into the hospital with consistent contractions. I was immediately put on magnesium. Magnesium is a drug used to stop pre-term labor. They attempted to stop the contractions with no luck. Not wanting to deliver a baby in the middle of the night, without a team of doctors prepared, they held off until 6:30 am on April 2nd.
Throughout this pregnancy I had been seeing a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor, as well as another specialist that was a gynecological oncologist. The reason for this specialist was that he was familiar with surgeries involving uterus as well as every other organ surrounding it. If they had to deliver in the middle of the night, it would have been scrambling, without MY doctors, and it would have been much more challenging. Every nurse and doctor there felt it was important to have a bit of time to plan and prepare, and I am SO thankful for that.
Early that morning, they rolled me into a general operating room on the main floor of the hospital. Lying flat on my back, surrounded by numerous people, I was terrified. I was going to be put under general anesthesia so that the environment could be well controlled. I look around counting, I counted 17 people in the room before I was completely out. I remember thinking, “please God, let me survive this surgery.” A few hours later, and I was being rolled into recovery, fighting the nurses because I didn’t want to wear the oxygen mask.
Here is what I know from the delivery:
Recovery After C-Section
Kinslee Grace Hall – April 2, 2015.
Weighed 5 lbs. at birth. Got down to 4.lb 4 oz.
Spent 15 days in NICU
Now a happy, spunky, goofy, wildly opinionated, strong willed, beautiful 4 1/2 yr old we love to pieces!
– – -UPDATE: 10/31/2019
Jalynne is a stay-at-home Mom to 6 kids; 4 boys and 2 girls. She enjoys homeschooling, baking, camping, spontaneous weekend trips as a family, and blogging in her spare time. Other posts that may interest you! Homeschooling ADHD
Want a peek into their life as a family of 8, you can check out their YouTube channel here