Isabella Grace Fromme was born on April 13th, 2018. While her entrance into the world went well, I faced life threatening complications after giving birth. Hang tight because this is going to be a longer post than usual! Here is my birth story with Isabella:
From the second trimester of pregnancy, I was put on bed rest because Isabella was having large growth spurts that was taking too much from me and I also ended up having hyperthermia (essentially, my body would get overheated but wouldn’t recognize it until it was really bad and I almost passed out). I had a miscarriage before getting pregnant with Isabella, so I was already frightened at every quiet moment during the pregnancy. Everything that was going on throughout the pregnancy lead my husband and I to decide to induce right after her due date. The induction went well and she was born at the hospital after over 20 hours of labor. I had a natural birth because I wanted to be in control of my body and I did not want any weird feeling after giving birth from the pain medicine. I also have scoliosis, so having an epidural done can sometimes be difficult for those with scoliosis. I had also read a few stories where those with scoliosis had an epidural and it went up rather than down and started shutting down their vital organs. It freaked me out a bit! So I decided to suck it up and go natural. I don’t regret that decision and would do it again! Honestly, it really wasn’t that bad! I just kept in mind that after it was over, I would have our beautiful baby in my arms.
My husband, Mark, said that during labor I went into sort of a meditative state. I closed my eyes, focused on steady breathing, and stayed that way for hours. When contractions really picked up, my husband was an amazing coach at keeping my breathing steady. Have you seen the show Parks and Recreation? You know when Ann says that Chris was such a great coach that the nurses had him help out with another delivery? Well the nurses and my doctor was so impressed with Mark’s coaching that I half expected them to ask him to help out with other deliveries! Ha!
Isabella entered the world after only a few pushes. Our rainbow baby was absolutely perfect and healthy! I did have third degree tearing and had to have many stitches. After an hour of bonding time with her, she went on to bond with dad and I took a shower.
After that, things started to go down hill for me. I was losing a lot of blood through massive clots and my heart was working twice as hard to try to make up for the blood loss. My blood levels were at a 5 when normal levels are a 12. The nurses were afraid that I was going to go into cardiac arrest and so much blood was being lost that they were talking about weighing the clots to know exactly how much blood I was losing. Oh yeah, and our families were about 7 hours away from us through everything. On top of all this, my bladder shut down. I was persistent on trying to get it to work but ended up passing out from all the blood loss. So a catheter was put in for my bladder and my doctor came in to talk about the loss of blood. I had to remain flat on my back because if I was even slightly inclined then I started to pass out. I had no energy and was unable to hold Isabella or breastfeed her. I had not held her since after giving birth to her. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I just wanted to hold our baby again.
To keep my heart under control, my blood pressure at a normal level, and prevent organs from shutting down (along with my heart, my vital organs were strained and over worked) my doctor suggested a blood transfusion. I hate needles and did not want this to happen at all. Mark seemed really freaked out through all of this and I honestly did not think what was happening was that bad. He was very adamant that this transfusion needed to be done, so I said yes to it and thank goodness because it was 100% necessary to keep me alive. Halfway through the first bag of blood, I started running a fever so they had to stop the transfusion. That blood and my blood were sent off for testing. After a few hours, results came back okay and they were able to start the transfusion again. I was so exhausted and wanted to rest, but the nurses were in every half hour because they had to closely monitor my blood pressure, temperature, and awareness. Many hours later and 3 and a half units of blood later, my levels went from a 5 to a 9. I was finally able to get some rest without interruptions.
God definitely gave me blinders throughout the whole situation. I did not think that it was as bad as it actually was. I had no idea that I was fighting for life. When my husband would start to freak out, I just reassured him that I was fine and that the doctors were there to help. I told him that God had a plan and this was part of it. It was evident that God was 100% in control of the entire situation. He always is because God is Sovereign.
The next morning, I was able to hold our daughter again and it was the best medicine ever! I held her and took care of her as much as my body allowed me to. We had to stay another day in the hospital so that I could be monitored and was there for a total of 5 days. On the last day in the hospital, I was allowed to put on my own clothes and I got so emotional because my clothes smelled like home! I was so ready to be home and to have uninterrupted time as a little family. I was on bed rest for a month and had to take it easy for a few months. My body was healing from the trauma, trying to build my blood levels back up to normal, healing from giving birth, and my organs needed rest after being overworked. I had to sleep on the couch because I didn’t have the strength to lift myself up into bed. I was not allowed to get off the couch except to go to the bathroom and occasionally shower. Mark had to walk me everywhere and help me shower because I was so weak. It was a rough time and the hormonal emotions on top of the physical/mental emotions made me a mess. Many thanks to my husband for caring for me, loving me, and putting up with me!
Unfortunately, all the complications kept us from a lot of things. I was never able to breastfeed. My body was so focused on other things that my milk supply stayed at next to nothing. I was torn because with bed rest and weakness, I was really only allowed to hold Isabella. I lost out on the one thing that I was able to do to care for our daughter. It was a very hard time being about 7 hours away from family and friends. I felt alone for months. We also missed out on family pictures and Isabella’s newborn pictures. I was in bad shape and in no condition to be able to do these things. It was a big struggle just to get Isabella to her first weeks doctor appointment. I get a little jealous when I see friend’s pictures of their family and newborn photos. I am so happy for them that they get to have that experience and those memories. But it is something we will never get back and that always makes me sad.
This birth experience has taken me many months to process. I didn’t even remember everything that had happened until a month or two after it was all over. I started having PTSD-like episodes with little triggers that would bring up memories of these events. The memory would completely engulf me to where it was like I was actually there and feeling everything all over again. It was extremely rough. Many months later, we found out that I have PCOS, triggered by the pregnancy/birth, and was told that there is a chance that we will never be able to have kids again. What happened makes us very nervous to have more kids because we do not want this happening again, but knowing that we may never be able to have kids is worse than that fear we have of giving birth again.
We thank God for taking care of us and pray that someday he will bless us with another miracle baby.
Enjoy some baby pictures:
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