Falling pregnant had been a long-time dream of mine. So I couldn't believe it when it happened the first go! I was over the moon. I felt like all of the stars aligned, and there was nothing that could take away my happiness.
I was convinced I was having a little girl. Much to my surprise, my blood tests revealed that I was pregnant with a little boy! We decided to call him Thomas. Within two weeks of finding out the sex, his drawers were filled with clothes and every baby-related item thinkable. I had it all!
I am quite a control freak and don't like to leave anything to chance. So, I was very sure about the type of pregnancy I wanted to have - even down to the foods I was eating or leaving out.
At around 22 weeks, I was having my scan when the obstetrician paused and made a comment about my placenta. Of course - I instantly freaked out! What does it mean?
The first thing I asked was "Is the baby going to live?". It just came out. I burst out into a hot sweat - it was awful. I had no idea about potential pregnancy issues. All I knew was that whether it was serious or not - something seemed off.
I went straight to my obstetrician's room across the road, and she explained that I had placenta previa. She drew some pictures and explained it very clear to me; but honestly, it is like I was staring and taking in nothing. I got into the car with and bawled my eyes out.
I rang my sister in law, my mum and my best friend and was petrified.
Then, I googled... and I found a ' placenta previa survival group"?! Hang on I thought this was not a big deal?
Anyway, as typical me, I calmed down found out more information about a low lying placenta and read so many stories about the placenta moving. Even though I was told medium exercise shouldn't encourage bleeding, I didn't want to take the risk. Some people in other countries such as the US are put on best rest.
I kept thinking I saw blood and would have to double-check. I was so on edge; I said to my husband "if I bleed or anything just make sure they save the baby".
I was booked for a caesarean at 37 weeks. While the night before you are going to get cut open is really daunting, I must say the controlled atmosphere of planned caesarean really suited my personality. I worked for a surgeon at the time and have the utmost respect for them and loved not leaving anything to chance or waiting!
We waited in our room and got prepped, while my husband had me laughing non-stop. It was at this stage that I really calmed down. I realised I was here - I didn't bleed, and everything was okay.
I got wheeled in to meet with my obstetrician and anaesthetist and then got wheeled into the op room. The spinal went in, which for me wasn't bad at all. I laid back and waited. And waited. And waited.
"Lift your legs," said the anaesthetist.
BANG they shot up!
So, he said we would have to wait a little longer. Then roughly 10 minutes passed. It felt more like one hour to me. And nothing. I got up, and they put in another spinal and an epidural. I will never forget the anaesthetist telling me that I had enough in me to numb a horse!
Eventually, my husband was brought into the room. "I was shitting myself out there," he said as he explained how agonising the wait to come in was.
I was laughing with my anaesthetist and surgeon. By this point, I was numb to my chest, and he said "do you want me to let you know when she starts", I replied, "uh nah it's okay".
He responded, "good we are halfway through."
We laughed and joked for the next 5 - 10 minutes and then the surgeon told my husband to get up and watch.
And just like that, he was here!
They wrapped him up and bought him around the curtain for me to see him. I wasn't allowed to have a clear screen or hug him too much as there was a significant risk I would lose too much blood when they took out the placenta.
I touched his head, gave him a kiss, and then he and my husband were gone. Now they had to make sure I was okay. A really weird feeling came over me, where I thought "he is here, he is safe, whatever happens to me now, happens." All my stress had left; I felt like my job was done.
Luckily I didn't lose too much blood. I gave birth to a beautiful but rather little 5 pound 10 baby. Still, he was here and healthy, and so was I!
Strangely, I remember always feeling guilty for worrying, as I knew women were undergoing a lot more serious high-risk pregnancies. But as soon as you are a mother, the slightest risk to your child can send you into such a panic.
I wish when I googled I had read uplifting placenta praevia stories; unfortunately, all the ones I found were horrible. It also seems as though in some countries the condition is still considered high risk!
I am forever grateful for my fantastic obstetrician who reassured me the whole way.