Baby girl is here and 2 weeks old already! Our miracle girl, Rylee, was born on April 17th at 34 weeks 3 days due to preterm labor pains and a very scary and traumatic birth caused by my uterus rupturing. First and foremost, we are both okay, but it’s a miracle that we both survived. Once again things did not go according to plan. The plan was to have a scheduled c-section 3 weeks early in order to prevent the risk of uterine rupture from the classical incision on my uterus. For those who are not aware, a classical incision is a vertical incision high on the uterus that is usually only used in very urgent situations and with very premature babies. The abdominal incision (the incision you see on the outside) is low and horizontal, but the internal incision on the uterus is high and vertical. This is the type of incision I had from my c-section with Holdon and the reason I had to have a subsequent, though normal (low tranverse), c-section with Archer. It is very dangerous to have a vaginal delivery or even any contractions with a classical incision because the incision can split open. The classical incision is also the reason we were scheduled early for delivery. We were supposed to deliver today at 36 weeks 6 days. The hope was that I would make it to today and everything would have been fine. It was a good plan. But nothing about pregnancy for me has ever gone according to plan and the worst case scenario happened. On April 17th, 2017, I began to have contractions and my uterus ruptured due to the vertical incision splitting open. At 5:41 pm, our miracle girl, Rylee, was born nearly 6 weeks early.
Here is the story of her miraculous birth…
On April 17th at around 3 pm, I was working at my desk, when I began to feel some pretty bad cramps. After about 15 minutes, they hadn’t subsided so I decided to take a break and see if they would go away if I rested. I drank a full glass of water, and then laid down on my left side for a bit. This was my go to trick whenever I had Braxton Hicks contractions and they always went away soon after, but not this time. Another 15 minutes went by with no improvement. The cramps were really intense and becoming extremely painful and instead of getting better they were getting worse. It was becoming apparent that these were not Braxton Hicks contractions. I decided to get up and tell Arun. He had me lay down on the couch for a bit to see if it got better, but after about 15-20 minutes, it became apparent that they were not going to go away so we decided to go to the hospital.
After Rylee was born, we replayed the entire day out and realized that if any one thing had gone differently, Rylee and I would likely not have survived the day. For one, Arun usually works Monday’s and on a normal day, he wouldn’t have been home, but fortunately, he was off that day and even more fortunate, one of our friends who we had planned to take care of Archer while we were at the hospital for the scheduled date, happened to be off that day as well and he was only a few blocks away when we called, so he came straight over. If either of them had been at work, I probably would have waited for them to get off work and if that had happened, I wouldn’t be here to write this update. That’s how critical the events that played out would become. I also have my doctor to thank because she stressed to me at every appointment that I was to go straight to the hospital if I felt any cramps or labor-like pains that persisted and didn’t go away after resting. It was her voice in my head that made me tell Arun to take me to the hospital right away.
We headed to the hospital as soon as our friend A arrived. It was just before 4pm at this point. It took about 25 minutes to get to the hospital and I was cramping bad the whole way there. When we got there, Arun dropped me off at emergency and went to park the car. It was crazy busy in emergency and there were people everywhere, but the nurse put me in a wheel chair and assured me that an orderly had been called and I would be taken up to labor an delivery right away. Some time went by and no one came to get me. I glanced at my phone. It was 4:42 pm. It had been nearly 2 hours since I first began to have contractions and I began to get a little nervous. I asked the same nurse at the desk if someone was coming to get me, and she looked genuinely startled to realize I was still there. Instead of waiting for the orderly, she decided to take me up herself. God bless this woman. She literally ran me to the closest elevator and raced me up to labor and delivery on the 4th floor. I remember telling her not to worry. I stubbornly refused to believe I was having my baby that day. Boy was I wrong and knowing what I know now about the events to come, every second counted in saving mine Rylee’s life, so I also have her to thank for not wasting any time getting me up to labor and delivery.
Arun, had already parked the car and was waiting for me when I arrived at labor and delivery. Once I arrived, things moved slowly and quickly at the same time. They had me get changed into a hospital gown and then they put us in the same triage room we were in the night before we delivered Archer. It was a strange coincidence that did not go unnoticed. We both felt it was a bad sign that we might be delivering that day, but I remember telling Arun there was no way that was happening. It was too soon. This was not the plan we had. Our daughter was supposed to be born today on May 4th. I just kept saying to him over and over that it was too soon and we were not delivering that day.
Everything was calm and casual at first. The nurse set up the paddles on my belly to monitor Rylee’s heart rate and to see if I was in fact having contractions or if I was experiencing something else. She then left us to wait for the doctor. It was now about 5pm. After what felt like forever, but was probably only about 10 minutes, the doctor came in. This was not my regular doctor, but the doctor who was covering labor and delivery for the day, Dr. H. First she looked at the monitor and told us Rylee looked great. She had a great heart rate and she was moving around. Then Dr. H looked at the paper spitting out from under the monitor. She told me several contractions had been recorded but she didn’t seem overly concerned so we relaxed a bit. She then examined my cervix. This was an extremely painful procedure and I had really bad cramps during the entire exam. After she was done, she told me my cervix was short. Not a good sign. For the first time, I began to really worry. She said that since baby looked great and had a great heart rate and didn’t seem to be in any distress, she wanted to see what she could do to stop me from going into labor and keep her in there as long as possible. We discussed the classical incision and the risks of continued contractions. She said she was putting a call into my parinatologist to see what he thought and in the meantime, she recommended a Terbutaline injection. Terbutaline is a medication to stop contractions. She recommended it to see if the contractions would stop and buy us a little time. We agreed and she gave instructions to the nurse to administer it. She left the room to call Dr. F, my parinatologist, and the nurse left us to get the medication. The nurse was only gone a few minutes, but it felt like forever. It was at this time that things began to take a drastic turn. The contractions which were bad before, but still manageable, became extremely painful and I began to panic and cry out for help. Poor Arun, he kept telling me to relax and that the nurse would be right back, and I told him I couldn’t wait. I was squirming around all over the exam bed and felt like I was going to split open, which isn’t at all an exaggeration because that’s exactly what was apparently happening. The nurse finally came back with the medication. Arun explained that I was in a lot of pain and she reassured me that I would feel better after the Terbutaline injection. At this point I wasn’t even really paying attention because I was focusing on my breathing and trying to get through the contractions which were not subsiding at all and I could barely nod my consent to proceed with the injection. She had Arun help her turn me onto my left side so she could inject the medication into my upper right arm and that’s when it all went very badly. As soon as they turned me, I felt a horrible sharp pain and I began to feel really weak. I’m certain that is the moment the classical incision tore. I didn’t know this at the time because I couldn’t see the monitor or anything really, but Arun later told me that baby girl’s heart rate went from 158 to 28 in the matter of seconds. The next thing I knew, I was being moved. I think I might have been slipping in and out of consciousness due to blood loss or maybe it was just shock, I don’t know, but the rest of the details are a bit fuzzy from my point of view. I remember being wheeled down the hall and hearing the nurse say “we’re going to the OR, she has no IV”, and apparently this was a problem because she repeated it 3 times and then the next thing I remember was appearing in the OR and there were people everywhere.
The anesthesiologist introduced himself (I can’t remember his name) and he told me he was prepping me to be put under general anesthesia. At that point I was so confused and shocked that I began to protest and kept telling him I was only 34 weeks and couldn’t possibly be delivering that day, and if I was, I wanted to be awake. I honestly thought I still had a say in this. I had no idea how much trouble baby girl and I were in. I remember saying over and over again to anyone who would listen that my baby was doing fine. After all, the doctor said only a short time before that she looked great on the monitor. They were supposed to be giving me medication to stop the contractions so why on earth was I in the OR? It was then that Dr. H appeared at my side and she told me calmly but in a very matter of fact way that baby girl was fine before, but she wasn’t anymore and they had to open me up right away to save her. I wasn’t okay either but didn’t know it at the time. The look on her face convinced me that the situation was dire, so I consented to being put under and that is the last thing I remember.
The following details are what happened while I was asleep…
Everything was happening so fast. One minute I was having the Terbutaline injection and the situation seemed manageable and then suddenly baby girl’s heart rate plummeted on the monitor and I was being wheeled out of the room. The nurse told Arun to wait in the waiting room. He thought they were taking me to run some tests, but they were actually taking me to the OR. Somehow they didn’t communicate this to him properly and he had absolutely no clue what was happening. About 15 minutes later, a nurse came in and asked for his phone to take some pictures and when she returned there were pictures of our daughter’s first moments on his phone. He was still so confused, and didn’t realize she had even been born. He actually thought they made a mistake and that the nurse had taken pictures of someone else’s baby. Then about 10 minutes later, the anesthesiologist came over and talked to him and told him I was in the OR and they were still working on me but I was doing okay. This was the first time he realized the pictures of the new baby on his phone was our baby. Finally about a half hour later, Dr. H came and talked to him. She told him she only had a few minutes and had to get back to me, but wanted to give him an update. She asked him if he believed in God because what she witnessed in the OR was an absolute miracle. She explained that when they cut open my abdomen to get to my uterus, they discovered that the nasty classical incision had torn and my uterus was completely open and Rylee was floating in my abdomen in a pool of amniotic fluid and blood. She also explained that the only reason she survived is because the placenta managed to stay somewhat in tact and partially still attached to the uterus. If it had been anywhere else it would have completely detached and Rylee would not have survived. Shortly after Dr. H left to go back to the OR and finish working on me, the NICU nurse and the Neotaologist, Dr. C, wheeled Rylee out of the OR and they stopped by Arun so he could see her. They told him they were taking her to the NICU. They instructed him to take some more pictures because once she went to the NICU, he would not be allowed to bring his phone in and no more pictures could be taken. This is a relatively new rule that they put in place for infection control. No outside items of any sort including jewelry are allowed in the NICU anymore. This was very different from our days in the NICU with Holdon. At any rate, he didn’t really think about the implications of this at the time and only took 2 pictures. After that, she was taken to the NICU, where she would stay for the next week. They asked him if he wanted to go with them, but he was really worried about me so he stayed and waited until I was out of surgery. Two hours later, they came and told him they were done working on me. I had lost some blood and had to have a blood transfusion, but I was doing okay and they had managed to save my uterus. A short time later, I woke up and they brought me to recovery where he was waiting anxiously to see me.
When I woke up, I remember feeling extremely confused and asked the nurse who was moving me to recovery what had happened. They told me I had just had surgery and that the doctor would be in to explain everything. It was then that I remembered that they had put me under to deliver my baby. I began to panic and asked where she was and if she was okay. They were quick to reassure me that she was okay and in the NICU. I began to cry. The idea of having another baby in the NICU terrified me. Then I saw Arun and he reassured me that she was doing great and she would be okay. She was not as sick as Holdon was. It was not the same. It was then that I asked again what had happened. Arun waited for the nurse to leave and then sat down beside me and told me my uterus had ruptured. I was shocked. I knew that this was a risk due to the classical incision, but I never actually thought it would happen. He told me what Dr. H had said and that it was a miracle we had survived. He told me he didn’t even want to think about what would have happened if we hadn’t gone to the hospital when we did. It truly is unthinkable. A short time later, Dr. H came in and explained everything and again she told us she had witnessed a miracle that day. She then told us, that she had saved my uterus, but told me firmly, we could not become pregnant again. She told me it was not an option. I would not survive another pregnancy. You’d think after 8 years, of trying to become and stay pregnant and with the 6 losses before Rylee and Archer, we would have been more devastated by this order . After all, we had spent all these years trying to build our family so to be told that we had to stop should have been hard, but it wasn’t. We had already decided that were done after Rylee. After all we’ve been through, we could not ask for anything more. I truly believe God and Holdon and our angels were watching over Rylee and I that day, and we are so blessed to finally have our family of 4. Our angels in Heaven will always be with us and our two living children are more than enough for us in this world. We are so incredibly blessed and Archer and Rylee are true miracles.
The hardest part of the entire ordeal other than the ordeal itself was not being allowed to go see her until I was off the IV meds, had the catheter removed and was able to get up out of bed and walk around my room without passing out because my blood count was still pretty low. I didn’t get approval to go until 10 am the next morning so I didn’t meet my daughter until she was 1 day old. That was really hard. When I finally saw her, I thought my heart would burst with joy. She is so beautiful.
Now two weeks and 3 days since her birth and on the day she was scheduled to be born, Rylee is home and doing great. She spent 8 days in the NICU, mostly to gain weight and mature enough to go home. Since her discharge last week, she has gained back all the weight she lost after birth and then some. Also, my milk supply is so much better this time. She’s still a little young and sleepy so breastfeeding hasn’t been perfect yet, but her latch is great and we’re making progress. Right now it’s pretty exhausting because I feed her for 15 minutes on each side all while coaxing her to stay awake, and then Arun feeds her a bottle of my pumped milk to make sure she’s full and I pump to express all the milk she didn’t get out of me. It’s a lot of work and neither of us is getting any sleep. I’m confident she’ll get better at feeding off the breast in a few weeks, and the great news is she doesn’t seem to mind going from the bottle to breast and and vice versa. We didn’t have a choice because they fed her from the bottle in the NICU, but at least she still wants the breast too so that’s good. And the best news of all is I’m making more than enough milk for her so no matter what, she’s getting 100% breast milk. So all in all, Rylee is doing really well and we are just so in awe of her. She’s so tiny but also such a strong little girl already. She is a true miracle.
I’ll write another post soon about Archer and how he’s adjusting to being a big brother, but all in all he’s doing okay with it. It’s been a little challenging because he wants a lot of my attention and I can’t give him the same attention as before. I also can’t lift him up right now because he’s too heavy and I’m still recovering from surgery and he constantly asks to be picked up, but we’re managing. I’ll write more about it in a coming post.
Here’s our beautiful girl ❤️