I don’t know how it happened. On Wednesday my husband and I had seen our 13w + 2d baby on the ultrasound screen. We were so excited for our second child! Thursday, I started bleeding and abdominal pain at the zoo and I thought I was having a miscarriage. We rushed for an emergency ultrasound, but they said baby was fine except for a small “retro placental bleed”. Nothing to do except go home and rest. Friday, I started having high fever, chills, fatigue, more abdominal pain – with a busy toddler I just brushed it off as “not feeling well.” (Sepsis and Pregnancy & Childbirth)
By Sunday evening my husband is taking me to the Emergency Room, “just to check” even as I insist I’m fine and just need some water and nap. My waters broke as I was being assessed in triage. At 13 weeks pregnant, every mother knows that amniotic fluid is really important and that baby can’t live outside the womb yet. I started to panic for my baby’s life. My fevers kept rising and lasting longer, my heart was racing, I wanted more and more blankets, my blood pressure was all over the place, blood and foul-smelling pus were leaking from my womb. They started me on a cocktail of antibiotics, IVs, and blood cultures that I couldn’t keep track of and didn’t understand. At midnight a doctor did an informal ultrasound to confirm there was no more amniotic fluid but also my baby’s heart was still beating. They told us we needed to terminate the pregnancy so the infected placenta could be removed. They said I had “significant sepsis” and this could turn ugly very fast if we didn’t do something. I didn’t really understand “septic” – I thought it was a broad paintbrush term doctors used when someone was sick but they just didn’t know why. I didn’t learn until later what “sepsis” was or just how life-threatening it could be.
I delivered our 13wk old baby at 4 AM on October 11, 2021, and it was the worst experience of my life. And I didn’t improve. Another ultrasound confirmed a retained placenta and I was rushed to theatre for a D&C. After which I improved dramatically, almost magically! After another 24 hours in the hospital, I went home under my own power with a final precautionary course of antibiotics with no other side effects or relapses.
I’m glad to be alive for my husband and toddler and thankful to the medical team who recognized the danger to act quickly. But I’m angry at God for not saving my baby and for the terrible choice I had to make which saved my life but sacrificed theirs.