Starting today, for the next four weeks, my Timehop will remind me of moments I’ve spent the better part of this past year trying to process and accept. It will remind me of the hopeful times and the terrifying times. It will remind me of the things God taught me and the ways I struggled. It will be good. But it will be hard.
It was a great weekend of rest, fellowship with other like-minded women, and studying God’s word together. I also had a nagging side ache that only intensified as I spoke throughout the day on Saturday. I chalked it up to a pulled muscle or just general third trimester achiness, traveled home that afternoon, and spent the evening resting.
The pain only intensified.
By 2:00 AM it was impossible to ignore, and nearly impossible to get out of bed. By 3:00 AM I was at labor and delivery, assuming it was appendicitis or gall bladder or some other minor ailment that makes pregnant women uncomfortable. By 9 AM (I think) contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, the pain was almost unbearable, and we were on the verge of an immediate delivery. For over 24 hours our hospital room was filled with a steady stream of doctors, nurses, and aides, all trying to assess the urgency of the situation, and all telling us that what we were experiencing was serious and unlike anything else we had seen before. And the pain just got worse.
A partial placenta abruption—when the placenta prematurely detaches from the uterine wall.
A full abruption is a race against the clock to save the mom and the baby (with the baby usually dying first). Mine was only a partial (determined only because we were still alive and Ben’s heart monitored well over time). But no one knew how long that would last.
Today is May 21.
One year ago today I checked into the hospital and didn’t go home for a month. Starting today, for the next four weeks, my Timehop will remind me of moments I’ve spent the better part of this past year trying to process and accept. It will remind me of the hopeful times and the terrifying times. It will remind me of the things God taught me and the ways I struggled. It will be good. But it will be hard.
There are things about that day I will never forget.
“Get her on her side now and give her that [steroid] shot,” my doctor said to the nurse.
We were still in triage and in that moment Ben’s heart rate dropped and stayed down for way too long. Moments earlier we had been talking about the pain. Within a matter of seconds she couldn’t take her eyes off the monitor. “If he does that again, we are going to the OR immediately,” she said.
This is not good, Daniel thought.
He went from half asleep in the triage chair to fully alert and bordering on panic. Just hours before that we thought we would be home for lunch. Now we were prepping for an imminent delivery, with no assurances Ben would be okay. Ben’s heart did scary drops many more times over the next 24 hours and with each one my medical team was weighing the cost of delivering a premature baby or letting the placenta try to do it’s work.
That was 33 weeks. I had him at 36. We stayed in that liminal space for 3 more weeks. Some days were better than others, but we were always afraid, always on edge. As time pressed on it became clear that it wasn’t just his life that was on the line. Mine was as well. A placenta abruption is deadly. It’s serious. It was our life for 3 weeks.
Abruptions are the things they fear in labor and delivery. They come upon you, often with very little warning. They can’t be detected on ultrasound. Sometimes the only symptom is pain (like in my case), which can be confused with pain from contractions. And they are almost always fatal.