Monday, December 5, 2011

Maddie's Birth Story

So... I haven't posted on the personal blog in quite awhile. Mostly because I was so insanely busy with work in October that I barely had time to eat, let alone keep updated in here. But... we had a bit of shock come into our life 2 weeks ago, and I think it will be good for me to write out what happened and continue back to updating on the kids.

So... as most of you know, Madelyn's due date was January 1, 2012. I had a completely uncomplicated pregnancy. We had a very stressful few months leading up to November 20th-- we bought a new home and closed on November 15, when we supposed to close on November 1st. We lived with my parents for 8 weeks during this transition. I also continued to work my busiest month of the year for business.

So on November 15th, I was hosting a newborn workshop for a friend of mine AND closing on our new home. Mission accomplished X2. The next few days were spent trying to move into our home and start unpacking. We thought we had 4-6 weeks before Maddie's arrival so we were not in a hurry to get our baby things together quite yet. We planned on getting things together after Thanksgiving.

On November 20th, I woke up feeling fine. I got dressed and went to shoot a boudoir marathon. Got through the sessions just fine. I came home around 4:30pm and was feeling a bit tired and having a few Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing out of the ordinary for being 34 weeks pregnant. I sat on the couch next to Bella, put my feet up and drank a big cup of water. Jerry told me he was going to Costco-- no big deal. Bella and I stayed home and were playing with Barbies.

At about 6:30pm, I noticed I was having a bit stronger contractions but still nothing that concerned me. Then I felt a little gush. It definitely got my attention. Enough to where I decided to stand up to head to the bathroom to check it out. When I stood up, I felt a bigger gush and this time felt a bit of pressure release in my tummy too. This really scared me...because this is what I felt when my water broke when I went into labor with Bella.

I went to the bathroom, and unfortunately Bella followed me. When I went in there, I filled the toilet with red blood. It was the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. My heart I think stopped for a moment. Bella looked at me and I knew I couldn't let her know I was scared. "Are you ok Mommy? Are you bleeding?" she asked concerned. "I'm fine Bella, Mommy is fine. Let's go play some more." and I flushed and pulled my pants up. We went back out and started to play again and then I called Jerry and told him to come back home, then immediately called my mom. I didn't know if I should call an ambulance or drive myself to the hospital. I couldn't fathom getting Bella scared so I didn't want to do either. Thankfully, on his way back, Jerry called my friend Megan who lives 5 minutes away and she drove right over and got to our house before anyone. She started playing with Bella...and a few minutes later Jerry walked in the door and we headed to the hospital, running a red light on the way.

I got into triage and told them I was bleeding heavily and was 34 weeks pregnant, no complications. I wasn't having any intense abdominal pain, but was having mild regular contractions. I was still bleeding heavily. They checked my cervix, and I was 2cm and 70% effaced. Hooked up to the monitor, thankfully Madelyn seemed fine. They thought I might just be in early labor, so they gave me a shot to try and stop it. It didn't work and I continued to bleed. They moved me to a L&D room and admitted me.

They continued to monitor the situation and Madelyn was fine on the monitors. However, I continued to bleed heavily and they had to change my bedding several times. I was feeling terrified...

Finally at 11pm, they called for an ultrasound to check the placenta because of the bleeding. I got one steroid shot for the baby's lungs. It took FOREVER for the ultrasound tech to get there..a good 2 hours. Then it took her an hour to do the ultrasound. It was on the ultrasound that they saw the placenta hadn't completely detached from the wall yet but was almost completely detached and had a huge blood clot behind it. It was a life/death situation for me and Madelyn and an emergency c-section was absolutely necessary.

Immediately, they got me prepped for surgery. I barely had time to think. I cried the entire way down to the operating room. My dreams of another natural delivery were gone and I was terrified something was going to be wrong with my baby. At 4:38am, Madelyn Kate Leonards was born. She weighed 5 pounds 10 oz and was 18.5 inches long. She has a full head of black hair and big dark blue eyes. She is absolutely beautiful and looks so much like her big sister.

However, the next few minutes were just as scary. The c-section was terrible. I hated not being able to hold my baby. I couldn't even see her. I was in pain and I felt claustrophobic from the drapes etc. Jerry was barely able to touch me during the procedure. I was so drugged up after the surgery I couldnt sit up in the bed. I felt terrible. Madelyn cried when she was born but then had trouble breathing and they had to immediately put her on a ventilator and took her to NICU.

We are now on day 15 of her NICU stay and the progress she has made is amazing. She is like a different baby now. She should be home soon. I am forever grateful to the doctors and nurses who took care of me and Maddie. I owe them my life and my daughter's life.

This birth story was probably the scariest moment of my life I've had so far..but I am so incredibly thankful for that beautiful baby girl sitting in NICU right now. She is our miracle baby and we can't wait for her to be home and meet her amazing big sister.


  1. I am having flashbacks to the phone calls I received in the middle of the night when my sister went into labor and had a placental abruption... my niece is now a healthy 6 year old 1st grader. Praying for you guys and so glad Maddie is doing so well!!!

  2. I am so thankful this story has been a positive one. I just cried thinking about you and Madelyn .. and Jerry and Bella, too. I just can't imagine the sheer terror and uncertainty you were feeling. I was praying for you and continue to do so. I appreciate the follow ups and to know that my (and everyone else's) prayers are being answered. I can't imagine a more wonderfully loving group of friends and family for you. xo Stacy

  3. I'm so happy that you two are doing well. I'm sure it was a scary moment and first days. Bless your heart and praying for Madelyn's homing!

  4. I can understand you so well because I had a placenta abruption at 24 weeks and 2 steroid shots because there was a real possibilty that Aubie had to be delivered at that time. Aubie was eventually born at 36 weeks and 3 days after my water broke. I pushed for over 4 hours and she was almost out when she got stuck. After 5 unsuccessful vaccuum attempts, I had to have an emergency c-section because she was transverse. A nurse had to push her from below back up and the doctor tried her hardest to get her out of me. Aubie was born, but did not show any signs of life for 7 long minutes after she left my body. Chris told me later that I tried to get off the operating table (I guess that was the mommy in me - I do not remember that, I just remember that I wanted to see my baby and know that she was okay); consequently they drugged me up. She was born at 7:10 pm; at 4 am I saw her and held her for the first time...and then I collapsed in the wheel chair. I was so tired, but I felt so relieved although she looked so bruised from the resuscitation attempts and she was intubated and not doing well...but she was alive and she was mine/ours.

    I do not want to take away from your story and experience, but I share my story because I want to let you know that you are not alone and that I feel with you and for your family during this difficult time...and that I am there if you should need me because it does hit home.

    I still struggle with all that what happened, but I hope you will not. I wish you well and hope that Maddie will soon come home.