Thursday, July 17, 2008

placenta shmacenta

I always enjoy having the luxury to obsess over mundane things, rather than actual serious ones. Most of the time, I have that luxury, but sometimes something demanding of real attention pops up. Today, I had another OB appointment so that she could explain to me that as of this week's ultrasound, I have complete placenta previa. This means that my placenta is completely covering my cervix.

Apparently, there are various levels of placenta previa. Partial, marginal, low-lying, etc. Then, there's complete, where the placenta is lying perfectly over the entire cervix. Lucky me, guess which one I have.

She told me not to worry, right before she launched into a whole litany of what this entails. It increases my risk of severe bleeding, increases the risk of fetal death, increases the risk of blood transfusions, increases my risk of having to go on bed rest, and if it doesn't correct itself, we'd have to do a c-section right at 37 weeks.

The OB also said that she is confident the placenta will move. According to her, 85% of all early cases of placenta previa correct themselves, but this figure is based on all cases of placenta previa, not just the ones that are complete previa. So the fact that my placenta is completely covering my cervix might lower my chances of the placenta moving to a safer location.

I listened carefully to everything she had to say, nodded thoughtfully, and then raced to get more information from Dr. Google when I got home. Of course, Dr. Google had lots of scary things to say. Any type of bleeding would put me in the hospital, and if the bleeding couldn't be stopped, the baby would have to be delivered, regardless of fetal age. The bleeding can quickly go from nothing to majorly serious in a matter of minutes, especially if I start having contractions or dilation. Dr. Google also said that placenta previa can be a problem even after delivery, because while pitocin helps the uterus contract after a c-section and stops the bleeding from the removal of the placenta, the lower part of the uterus (where the placenta is when you have placenta previa) is not as good at contracting, so the bleeding is harder to stop. PLUS, one in ten cases of complete placenta previa also have placenta accreta, where the placenta improperly imbeds itself in the uterine wall, making it difficult to detach the placenta. This increases your risk of severe blood loss, and increases your risk of having to have a hysterectomy.

Right about there, I closed the computer and walked away.

I'm starting to believe this baby might really be trying to kill me. First, the surprise pregnancy out of the blue. Then, the crazy nausea, the migraines, the exhaustion. Now, this placenta previa and the scariness associated with it. There is a long time between now and December 19th for me to obsess about all of this.

My next ultrasound is on August 19th, and we're keeping all fingers and toes crossed that my placenta has started its gradual move. In the meantime, I'm not restricted from anything, and I'm welcoming all positive stories about placentas moving quickly and completely and then gloriously easy vaginal births. I'll also take positive placenta moving thoughts. Please.

19 comments:

Rev Dr Mom said...

No experience here, but lots of good placenta-moving-to-a-better-place vibes coming your way!

KathyR said...

Ack. No experience here, either, but hoping the babe and his/her support system start cooperating ASAP.

Lasha said...

Mine was just "low-lying," but it did move out of the way by 30-something weeks. I will think positive thoughts that yours heads in the same direction!

Kai said...

Placenta moving thoughts headed your way!

Also here's hoping the baby comes out and is immediately a good eater, sleeper and skips those nasty grumpy teen years for all the pre-birth trouble he or she is giving you!

Maribeth said...

Thirty two years ago I had a placenta previa pregnancy. Back then the technology wasn't as good, so I cannot tell you how low mine was, only that it was a problem. I had bleeding in the pregnancy and they gave me shots to stop that. But I worried all through the pregnancy that something would go wrong.
As soon as I started to feel like I was in labor we high tailed it to the hospital where Mandy was born, safe and sound 9 hours later. But I will say that they got her out very quickly (vaginally). It took me a while to get back on my feet because I did have quite a bit of bleeding, but I was okay and so was she. Mandy is 31 now and beautiful and wonderful and worth every moment of anxiety!
I'm here for you!!!

Chatty said...

oh dear. am calling you.

Mel said...

I'm a lurker who's been reading your blog for a few months now. I just wanted to tell you that I hope you're feeling better. I know nothing about pregnancy, but I hope that this placenta thing will fix itself naturally. Good luck!

soleil said...

oh wow. I'll be sending lots of placenta-moving-vibes your way. hope to hear good news after your next appointment

divrchk said...

I've been reading you since you were very early pregnant with Gabe and I occasionally comment. With my first pregnancy, I had a partial placenta previa which somehow became complete. My husband was deployed and when I went to visit him in Singapore at about 20 weeks in, I had to break the news about the previa and the no sex rule that comes with it. I had a large amount of bleeding at 32 weeks, landed in the hospital on bed rest until my son was born at 36 weeks via c-section - all while my husband was still deployed. I got to keep my uterus and had a daughter 23 months later via vbac. If you have any questions whatsoever about my experience, please e-mail me. coreybc at gmail dot com.

Songbird said...

Oh, my! You have my good thoughts for appropriate movement!!

liz said...

Movin' movin' movin
That placenta will be movin
Movin movin movin
Aside
As December's nearin'
That cervix will be clearin'
That placenta will move up and to the side
Aside!

Beth & Rob said...

Oh dear! JUST the thing that you need. I am sending lots of moving thoughts your way. My best friend is about 30 weeks now and has this complete previa thingy as well. Hers hasn't moved but that's ok just means she has to have a c section (and rest more). Just try and rest as much as you can (with Gabe) and take it easy. I am sure that whatever moves or doesn't move it will all be fine. All this trouble throughout the pregnancy will mean a good baby when you REALLY need it (when they are out) AND try to stay away from Dr Google. It is evil and makes you think the worse when it's going to be FINE. Thinking of you though...this sucks...

My Wombinations said...

Ugh. I am so sorry to hear this. Like you really needed this stress right now. I am sending positive "move placenta" thoughts your way...

Lady Liberal said...

Just a little pick-you-up story... I had complete placenta previa at my 20-week ultrasound. They gave me all the risks and possibilities, too. I went home and tried not to freak the hell out.
At 30 weeks, it had moved right on out of the way. My daughter was born at 35 weeks, early but compeltely healthy and the placenta gave us absolutely no problems.
BREATHE! I know, easier said than done. :)

ccw said...

No experience with this but I will send plenty of placenta moving thoughts your way.

Meika said...

Sheesh... Dr. Google's an even worse fear-monger than the real thing! I know, all those things *could* happen and it's not good to be ignorant of them, but would it really be a sin for the medical establishment to be at all positive??? Gah. End soapbox. Sorry. Current pet peeve.

So I did another Dr. Google search for you, and discovered that 90% of complete previas diagnosed in the second trimester will resolve during the third trimester. If the ultrasound is before 20 weeks, it only persists in 2% of the cases! So depending on how far you are, you have a 90% chance of absolutely no problem at all! Ninety percent! (Repeat that over and over to yourself, please. Seriously. Out loud.) I'd take those odds! That means that all the "danger" stuff you read resides in that little bitty teeny tiny ten percent, and I'd bet that your risk of any of those circumstances is pretty darn small.

So if you only have a 10% chance of still having previa when it comes time to birth, that means that right now you're basically just looking at about a 10% chance of having a c-section. Not only is that not the end of the world, but you have a nearly 30% chance of the same just by walking in to an American hospital, which you did with Gabe completely without incident.

Be positive and imagine that placenta moving, and I'll be praying for the same!

Meika said...

And no more Google searches! Bad, bad news. :)

bigslowgirl said...

so sorry to hear about this complication! you may want to consider consulting an acupuncturist or perhaps a midwife/doula who may have some other ideas (i.e., exercises) about treatment. BIG hugs.

Knit and Purl Mama said...

Are you 40 weeks on Dec 19th? So 3 weeks earlier would mean November 28th? So maybe a November baby. Would that be so bad? Mack was born at 37 weeks - and he's perfectly healthy.

I hope that there is no other issues with the placenta, for other problems with delivery.