It was 12:30 am on May 24, 2013, and after a three hour very hard labor, our baby was born into Daddy's hands. What surprise and joy to discover that after two girls we had a little baby boy! This was my third normal pregnancy, and third normal birth at home--that is, until it was time for the placenta to come. Being a midwife myself, we had decided to do the previous births and this one on our own. My husband became an amazing labor coach and midwife's assistant, doing exactly as I told him, as well as having the honor of catching all three of our children. I was wrapped up in our newborn, as he was already nursing, while my husband was trying to coax the placenta to come. I wasn't having good contractions, but I wasn't really bleeding either, so I knew we had time to wait. Finally, I got up to go to the bathroom, squatted, nursed some more, but it just wouldn't come.
Then I began to bleed, and we still couldn't get the placenta to come. I knew we had to do something. My midwife on call was sick, so we called the ambulance. After waiting for a long time for the ambulance, having the EMT's take their dear sweet time getting me in the ambulance, and starting an IV, we were finally on our way, with my husband, baby, and parents following.
The on-call doctor arrived and proceeded to work on pulling out the placenta through my now closed cervix. After about 45 minutes the cord tore off and I was left with a D&C. We were told the procedure should only take about 30 minutes.
Several hours later I woke up to a room full of nurses, the doctor, my husband, and mother standing at my head, and the worst headache imaginable and terrible leg cramps. Everyone was asking me if I could hear them and how I felt. I was covered from head to toe in some sort of inflatable warming blanket. Looking around I could see an IV in one arm and blood dripping into my other arm. Things must not have gone as planned. One nurse asked if I wanted my baby and I said yes, so they placed him on my chest. I was happy to have him back in my arms, but still didn't really have a clue what had happened.
I found out later that my brother and his wife (who lived two hours away) were coming up to see me on a work day! When the doctor came in to talk to me, I realized how near death I had come.
The doctor had worked on scraping the placenta off my uterus for two hours, and finally stopped before he did more harm than good. He said he thought he got about 90 percent. Being a midwife and knowing there was no reason it should have been that difficult, I asked him if it was an accreta, or at least a partial, which is where the placenta actually grows into the uterine wall. He said there was no way to know for sure without taking my uterus out and examining it, but felt it was at least a partial.
I was stunned. Why would that happen to me? I had no risk factors such as previous D&C's, miscarriages, C-sections, endometriosis, or anything that would cause uterine scarring or adhesions. It made absolutely no sense. He admitted he didn't realize how much blood I had lost and should have started me on blood in the OR. I had lost so much they couldn't get an IV started because my veins kept blowing. My blood pressure dropped to 60/32. It was only when they called the oldest guy in the hospital to get my IV started that I finally woke up.
After about 36 hours and three units of blood later, they released me to go home. I was still incredibly weak and felt as if my head was about to explode. My biggest concern for the time being was that my milk would come in. Would I have enough for my baby? He was a hungry little guy. For a few days, he nursed constantly and lived on milk from three sisters-in-law and two friends who brought frozen milk and colostrum to me. What a blessing to have people close to me who were nursing babies of their own!.
On day four my milk did come in, but there was very little. I pumped, nursed, and took every herb and nutrient to help rebuild my blood and body. We realized that for the time being we would have to supplement him with something. Formula was my last wish. I knew all too well the horrible GMO soy and additives they put in formula. I would make my own goat's milk formula before using conventional formula.
While I was still trying to just get through each day, feeling terrible and very emotional over everything that had happened, my mother-in-law found a gold mine. Some longtime friends of theirs have a granddaughter who was nursing a baby two months older than mine and having to pump. She had nursed twins a couple of years ago and her body was producing milk for this baby as though she still had twins. She had been freezing her milk, considering donating it to a milk bank, but due to the hassle, expense, and the fact that they pasteurize the milk, she held on to it, praying for someone who needed it. Needless to say, my in-laws made a six hour trip and picked up 900 oz. of breastmilk on day six! I was overwhelmed by God's goodness.
Over the next two months my baby did very well, but unfortunately I was never able to build up my milk supply and could only get about ¼ to ½ oz. off each side. He still fights me and will only nurse for a few minutes, but I am determined to make it work as long as emotionally I am not ready for him to be done.
Back to the milk miracle. We had been taking the bags of milk off the bottom shelf in our freezer before opening any of the other four boxes stored in a second freezer. I couldn't believe we hadn't had to get into any of the other boxes. Finally, when my baby was about three months I decided to email the mom to see if she had any more milk. She said she had about another 300 oz.
Before we planned to meet to get the extra milk, I decided to count the bags to know how much was left and how long it would last before we picked up the rest. I started counting the bags and they just kept coming! How in the world did we have so much milk left? I knew that at the rate he was drinking it should have only lasted two months. I was nearly three months already! The final count was 122 bags, each with 8 oz. of milk in them!
I ran upstairs to check my calculator. Sure enough, that came to 976 oz.! PRAISE THE LORD! God more than doubled the milk for my baby. I couldn't hold back my tears of joy and thankfulness for how God miraculously had provided for my sweet baby.
I have struggled with all I have been through and what the future could hold for us due to the complications of this last birth. I deal with fear on a daily basis. But, I cannot ignore the very many ways God provided above and beyond what we needed. He didn't have to have three sisters-in-law who were nursing their own babies available to take care of my baby for the first several days. He didn't have to provide 900 oz. of breastmilk. But, He not only provided it, but DOUBLED the blessing! And yes, when we went to pick up the second batch of milk, it turned out to be another 900 oz, instead of 300 oz. as she thought! This is the God I serve. I didn't have to put him on formula!
He also provided loving friends who did much needed house and yard work, including six weeks of nutritious meals. My wonderful teenage sisters stayed with me during the weeks my husband had to work, managed my home, and took care of my children.
I write to encourage you that no matter your trial, God is bigger! He will come through in ways you cannot even imagine, simply because He can. It may not always be in the way you want (I certainly did not want to have to go through the D&C and hemorrhage), and I would have preferred that He just increased MY milk, but He works in His own marvelous ways. Whatever you are going through, take heart, cry out to God, and just rest in knowing that He will provide your needs, even above and beyond!
Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, USA