Birth and Inversion Story – Where this all began

Birth Story

On Wednesday, in Feb 2011, I had my 39 week check up, and my OB took the opportunity to strip my membranes, to get things going for my scheduled induction for the next morning.  Earlier that week, I’d had an ultrasound that showed I had roughly 3.85 cm of fluid – a healthy range being anywhere from 5 – 25 cm of fluid – and they were concerned about the baby due to the low fluid.  Fortunately, my body was already initiating labor on its own, so the doc’s plans and baby’s plans seemed to be perfectly in sync.

Wednesday evening, after my doctor’s appt, we checked in the hospital they started me on cervidil.  We stayed overnight and I started having regular contractions around 3 am Thursday morning.  At about 6:30 am, my nurse let me take a hot shower (which I wanted to hug her for) and they started me on pitocin at about 7 am in order to make sure my labor was progressing.  From there, my contractions became very frequent and intense, which is normal with pitocin.  I got an epidural around 10 am, which was wonderful and definitely something that I would do again.  The epidural allowed me to take a nap and rest up until about 11 am.  At around 11, I called in a nurse because I thought maybe it was getting close to time to push.  They had me wait for just a little while longer, but sure enough, it was getting to be time to push.  I started pushing at 11:44 am and delivered Baby CJ at 12:17 pm.

Baby CJ was absolutely perfect from the beginning.  He had great/strong lungs and the cutest little cries and he peed on the doctor right after he was born (oops!).  They laid him on my chest for a minute before cleaning in him up, which was the best moment.  After they took him to get a little more cleaned up, they handed him to my husband for some bonding time as well.

Uterine Inversion Story

As you might already have guessed, this was the point where I had to unexpectedly go to the OR.  As my husband says, this is when “it got real” in the delivery room.  As mentioned earlier, Baby CJ was delivered at 12:17 pm.  At 12:24, I suffered a complete uterine inversion, and was in the OR (or, as I called it, the “Oh Shit!” Room) by 12:27 pm.  The inversion occurred immediately following the strongest contraction I’ve ever felt – and that is saying a lot having JUST delivered a baby and having an epidural in at the time.

A complete inversion is when your uterus is delivered out of your cervix and vagina, whereas a partial inversion involves the uterus collapsing on itself but not actually exiting the body (or, as I like to say, abandoning ship).  My uterus tried to abandon ship by hitching a ride with the placenta.

My doctor was right there as the uterus and placenta were being delivered and knew immediately what was happening.  It is a rare complication, and the key to survival AND keeping your uterus is having a doctor who knows immediately what is going on and can act without delay.  Thankfully, my OB happened to have seen a UI (uterine inversion) during his residency and another several years later and knew exactly how to act.  It is rare to have a OB/midwife who has even had one UI case.  Unfortunately, my husband was also RIGHT there went my uterus inverted and was delivered.  Needless to say, he was terrified.  It didn’t help that, when they rushed me out, he was left standing in the delivery room, alone, holding our 7 minute old.

As soon as the inversion happened, my doctor tried to manually place it back.  This is always the “first line of defense” and the preferred way of correcting the problem.  It was very clear that manual manipulation wasn’t going to work at all, and he then told me, “You need surgery now, and you may lose your uterus.”

Nurses seemed to appear out of the walls at this point (I suspect the “Oh Shit” button was pushed, calling all available to help).  I signed 3 release forms, gave the nurse my glasses, and fought with everything I had to remain conscious.  This is why inversions are so bad and potentially deadly – the placenta, which is still attached to the uterus, is a blood factory for baby.  I literally saw the blood pooling and bubbling in my uterus walls within seconds of seeing my uterus out of my body.  I was bleeding out, and fast.

I knew if I passed out in front of my husband, he would really get scared, so I did my best to stay alert.  I told the nurse, whose name is Angel (how perfect, right?), that “I was getting VERY light-headed,” and thankfully, she knew immediately that I meant “I’m bleeding out.”  Since my husband was right that, I was trying to keep him from realizing how fast I was losing blood.  I also reminded her that my blood type was A+ (of course, they already knew it, but I’m a control freak and was trying to help them every way I could).  Unfortunately, once I lost a fair amount of blood, I started to lose my vision, but was still fighting for consciousness.  The nurses ran me down the hall, I felt like I was in a scene from “ER” (which, coincidentally enough does feature an inversion in the series finale episode).

Once we got to the OR, everyone got to work immediately.  They started IV anesthesia, started a blood transfusion, and got the mask over my face.  I heard my nurse from the delivery room say, “She already had an epidural,” which likely means they were able to start cutting my belly open immediately.  To this day, I’m still so, so grateful that I had an epidural and had generally been as surgery-ready as possible.

I heard them say, “grab the O+!”  When the guy doing the transfusion crammed the needle in my arm, not realizing I was still “with it”.  I cringed and heard him say, “Oh, I’m sorry!”

When the mask was put on my face, they said, “Take a deep breath.”  The only thing I could do to help was breathe deeply, so I took the biggest, deepest breath I could muster.  I didn’t want to know what was happening anymore and I wanted to go to sleep and let them fix me.

A redheaded nurse woke me up from the best nap ever.  Going to surgery immediately following birth wasn’t what I’d hoped for, but man, that was a good nap.  She told me that my doctor had saved my uterus and successfully corrected everything.  I responded with “Hey, I’m just happy to be here.”  My anesthesiologist from surgery was the same one who did my epidural.  He looked at me and said “What are you doing here???” and I responded with, “I wanted to lose the baby weight as fast as possible and thought dumping off organs and blood would be a great way to do that.”  He thought I had lost my mind, I thought it was hilarious.  I mean, if you can’t laugh in these situations, you have to cry, and I was not in the mood for tears.  I was happy to have survived and wanted my baby so, so badly.

Fortunately, for my husband, the surgery was quick and they told him as soon as they could that I was doing great, which was around 1:00 pm.  He went and held Baby CJ, watched him get a bath, took a ton of pictures, and got our stuff situated in our recovery room.

I was able to get back to my recovery room a little after 2 pm to be reunited with Baby CJ.  The rest of the day was a fog, but I was able to nurse immediately, and I was given a morphine pump for the pain as all of the other meds wore off.  The anesthesia made me vomit and sleepy, which wasn’t so great.  To my doctor and nurses’ credit, the pain management I was given was wonderful and very effective, making the whole experience much easier to cope with.

I stayed in the hospital until Sunday, which was entirely my call.  Saturday was rough, as all of the stronger meds had worn off and I was having to move around more and more to help the healing process.  I was on a combo of Ibuprofen and Percocet, along with wearing a binder on my belly to protect my staples/stitches on my incision.  All of which is pretty standard, from what I’ve heard.

Next up: Post-Op Recovery

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  1. #1 by Carrie on May 22, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    Wow, I am so glad to have discovered your blog. I had a uterine inversion last week (May 16) after the uncomplicated, unmedicated birth of my daughter at 37w6d. They were able to replace my uterus manually (twice, because it came out again after the first try). Thank you for what you are doing to share your experience of the inversion, recovery, and now another pregnancy. We hope to have another as well. I’ve been told by the doctor that it should be possible but I should consult a high-risk specialist and should always deliver in a hospital. I look forward to hearing about your experience and thank you for sharing it.

    If you want access to any academic papers on uterine inversion, please email me. I can get them through my university and send them to you.

    • #2 by katielynn221 on May 22, 2013 - 3:20 pm

      Carrie- Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad you were able to find this blog. I’m sure you are running into the same issue I ran into with simply not being able to find a great deal of information out there on inversions. We aren’t exactly a large group.

      I’m so glad they were able to replace it manually for you without surgery, I hate it happened twice though! Keep me posted on your recovery, I’m sure you are still hurting a good bit this week.

      I’ll definitely let you know if there are any specific papers that I need access to. I appreciate the offer!

    • #3 by Montserrat on January 15, 2016 - 2:06 am

      I’m interested in everything about this. I need to know how long does it take for the body to heal what are the chances of a second pregnancy? Please email me at montse.eilen@gmail.com

      I’m trying to conceive, it’s been eight months after my first one but I want more babies and I hate it that this happened to me. Thank you.

      • #4 by katielynn221 on January 15, 2016 - 10:22 am

        I sincerely believe that the body needs a minimum of 18 months to fully recover from something like this. In speaking with my OB team and other nurses and medical professionals, they have echoed this every time. My OB recommended that we wait until 24 months to be very safe. While it may seem that you are doing better, almost every woman I’ve spoken with on message boards who’ve had a UI experienced a lot of abdominal pain roughly 6-9 months after the delivery/UI. A UI causes an extreme amount of pulling and tugging on muscles and tendons that a typical pregnancy and delivery doesn’t (don’t get my wrong, pregnancy and delivery does a lot of wear and tear on those abdominal muscles, but a UI doubles the amount of stretching beyond that).

        Consult with your doctor, of course, but I think that you should give your body more time for deep healing.

  2. #5 by Faith (@f_a_h) on September 20, 2013 - 5:30 pm

    I’m so glad to have found your blog as well. I experienced a uterine inversion as well 4 weeks ago. They were able to manually put mine back into place, but I almost required surgery twice – once to put it back and once to control the bleeding. I recently blogged about my birth (not to try to sound like a spammer or something) It really is a small group we belong to full of, “your what fell out of what after you had the baby!?” and I really wouldn’t wish it on anyone! I hope your pregnancy continues to go well.

    • #6 by katielynn221 on September 20, 2013 - 7:51 pm

      Yes! The most common response I get is “Wait, that can happen???”. I try not to tell my friends who’ve never had a baby too much because I’m afraid of completely terrifying them.

  3. #7 by Faith (@f_a_h) on September 20, 2013 - 5:31 pm

    and my husband was the same way. Poor guy saw it all and I think is still recovering from seeing the amount of blood that I lost as well as my internal organs outside my body. I don’t think anyone is prepared for that!

  4. #8 by Natali on October 7, 2013 - 1:42 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m 2 1/2 months post-inversion after a natural delivery of my perfect little boy at 39 weeks. I still don’t feel 100% ok and I haven’t been able to find any “standard” for a full recovery/not hurting/feeling normal for this type of thing.

    You sharing your story gives me hope, I was beginning to think I would never be normal again! Not quite ready to think about other children just yet…

    • #9 by katielynn221 on October 7, 2013 - 2:11 pm

      I’m so glad you found a bit of comfort and reassurance! I remember being at the stage you are with recovery and STILL having days where I needed to take pain meds and hurting, so I completely understand. Most people won’t understand why you are still hurting or feeling unlike yourself yet because (fortunately for them) they can’t relate at all – even if they have had a baby before.

      Hang in there and do what you can, when you can and listen to your instincts. Hugs to you and thanks so much for commenting/sharing your story!

  5. #10 by Carrie on October 7, 2013 - 2:15 pm

    Katielynn! I hope you are doing well and I’d love to hear an update!

    • #11 by katielynn221 on October 7, 2013 - 3:58 pm

      Thanks for checking in! I’ve been so bad about getting updates out – but I just posted one this afternoon :). How are you doing, Carrie? How is your recovery going?

  6. #12 by Allie on December 29, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    I am so so so so sorry you had to go through this! Its always a bittersweet thing for me to find other moms who have had an inversion. My story was so completely similar to yours. My was put back in manually, and i didnt need an incision. However, i feel like my midwife and Dr. both (it was a team effort) pulled on my placenta too much. I know i was in a lot of pain (not having an epiural working) before it actually inverted. I am so so happy to see that you are expecting again!!! My husband and I want to try again after my son (6 months old now) turns 1. My biggest decision is what Dr. to go to. I loved the Dr. who helped me after my inversion, yet what if it really was partially his fault? you know what I mean? Then again, he saved my life! and he did an amazing job taking care of me. I am very conflicted with this entire issue. And my son was a VBAC delivery and would love to have another one (as insane as that sounds considering everything that happened and that his labor wa 36 freakin hours haha). But as you an imagine, I’m very scared about having another vaginal birth….so much to think about! thank you for this blog! and congrats again!!!

  7. #13 by Alicia on December 29, 2013 - 5:02 pm

    I don’t have much time, but just Your story sounds so similar to mine. My baby will be 18 months in January. It’s been a crazy journey. Check out my blog at aftermyaftermath.blogspot.com. I’m excited to read your blog!! Us UI mamas need to stick together. There is a Facebook group called uterine inversion awareness. Come join us!!

  8. #14 by Joelle on March 28, 2016 - 12:04 pm

    Thank you for this blog. I had an inversion 3 weeks ago and I can’t find any information online about healing and what is normal. It’s also nice to know that I’m not alone. Did you experience pp bleeding and cramping for as long as 3 weeks? I didn’t have these symptoms after my first delivery and I’m assuming that it has to do with the inversion. Thanks again for this blog!

    • #15 by katielynn221 on March 28, 2016 - 6:54 pm

      Yup. Unfortunately, I had random pains/cramping for about 6 months post partum. Your muscles and ligaments were stretched to the max, it will take a while for your body to fully heal.

      • #16 by Joelle on March 30, 2016 - 10:41 pm

        Thanks for your reply! So glad to know I’m not alone in this and what I’m experiencing is normal (as normal as it can be to have your uterus come out of your body.) I will have to work on giving myself time to heal and not expecting the “bounce back” I had hoped for. Thanks again for this blog, very helpful.

  9. #17 by katielynn221 on April 1, 2016 - 11:49 pm

    Happy to help! Hang in there! I promise, you will feel “back to normal” at some point… our time tables are just a little longer post-inversion 🙂

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