Connor's Birth Story

On October 5, 2017 at 11:51 a.m., our son, Connor Leo, was born. Arriving 4 weeks early, he weighed 7lbs 4oz and was 20-inches long.

Connor Leo Farrell

I shared my journey of placenta previa during my pregnancy with Connor. At the time that was published, I was 34 weeks pregnant, and waiting on pins and needles to get to our scheduled c-section on October 5 with no issues.

celebrating my 34th birthday in the hospital!

On September 27, the day before my 34th birthday and the day before we reached 35 weeks, I had some more minor bleeding. So minor in fact, I was annoyed to even call the doctor because I knew what they would tell me, and what would follow. The bleeding was some light spotting and it was over before I even got on the phone with the on-call doctor. But, since we don't take any chances with bleeding and previa, Bryan and I grabbed our hospital bags and headed to Labor and Delivery.

Our last picture as a family of three!
I spent a few hours being monitored, where they determined no active bleeding, but I was having quite a few contractions. I stayed under observation to make sure I wasn't in labor, but once those were under control, we were moved back to antepartum, where we spent the night. The next day, they informed us that they wanted to keep me there until delivery. They said the chances of another bleed were good, and that I was not likely to be as lucky if it happened.

While not ideal, I did have some peace of mind knowing that if anything happened during the week, I was where I needed to be. After all, that was my big fear with going home after the second bleed. And, a week wasn't bad, in the grand scheme of things. I spent the week working from the hospital and trying to take advantage of the situation by resting, watching too much TV, reading and getting sleep when I could. Each day that passed brought us closer and closer to meeting our baby boy, and I could.not.wait.

As the week came to a close, I began to get more and more anxious about my c-section, and all that would come during and after. I worried about the risks and the recovery, and about Connor's health. I worried about Liam. Fear of the unknown, of course. I asked a million questions and tried to embrace the knowledge that a c-section is a common surgery. Millions of women have this routine procedure, and all necessary teams would be in place should anything happen.

Night before birth! 35 weeks, 6 days pregnant
I woke up early on Thursday, October 5 during rounds (which start around 6am). My nurses told me that our 9:30 start time was likely going to be delayed. (It was a full moon that night, and labor and delivery was a busy place!) I got some labs drawn, had my IVs put in, and was going to shower when the team came up and said they were ready for us after all. Eek!

They brought us down to continue prepping for surgery. They got me and the baby hooked up to our monitors. They struggled to get a second IV line in, which they wanted to have in case of emergency. (I learned in this process I'm a "hard stick." They always had so much trouble getting a freaking vein.) After using an ultrasound to find a vein, they finally got one in. My mom arrived, and I started to cry.

While I was waiting back there, several other mamas were coming back after their births, which made me really panicky and anxious. A woman arrived who clearly had a c-section and all I could hear (and see) was her moaning and groaning in so much pain. The whole "hurry up and wait" thing was awful. They had me do a series of other things - drink some drink that was supposed to settle stomach acid, continued taking my vitals, etc.

It seemed surreal that we would be meeting our baby in a matter of moments, but finally, they brought me back to the operating room to get things moving. I said goodbye to my mom, and while Bryan suited up in his surgical gown and scrubs, I walked back to the OR. My nurse from labor and delivery was with me as I sat on the edge of this SUPER skinny metal bed. (Can we take a minute to praise the L&D nurses of the world? They are seriously amazing.) The anesthesiologist started drawing on my back with pen, and my nurse had me lean forward and hug a pillow. She was pregnant, and I remember talking to her about her pregnancy and feeling comfort that she knew what I was feeling. I took deep breaths and focused on staying as still as possible while the anesthesiologist first numbed the area, then did the spinal block and epidural.

I sat up for a minute so as to have the drugs go to my legs and not my chest, and as I feel my legs get cold and tingly, I watched as my nurse moved my legs and put them on the table. Not being able to feel your legs and watching others move them around is pretty bizarre. I lay down and immediately felt like my right arm where they had placed the second IV was going to explode. I said something to the anesthesiologist, and could tell this was not what I was supposed to feel.

I heard mentions of "infiltration" which basically means the needle slipped out of the vein. There is a flurry of activity as they continue to prep me, and look for another place to put an IV. After what felt like forever, one of the anesthesiologists told me to clench my neck, which I did. He explained that they couldn't find anywhere to put another IV, so they were going to skip it, but if things started going bad during surgery, they'd put a line in my neck. Gulp.


They hung the drape and finalized the surgical prep work. The anesthesiologist did a bunch of tests to see if I was numb. I was, but again, the feeling of not being able to feel your body is so, so weird, and I hated it. The longer I laid there, the more numb I got, and the more numb I got, the more I tried to move. I got really antsy and just wanted to move, but couldn't. Bryan came in and tried to talk to me to get me to focus on something OTHER than the fact that I couldn't feel my body, but it was to no avail. The anesthesiologist asked if I wanted some more to drugs to calm me down, but added that I wouldn't remember anything if he did. I said no, and focused on Bryan and breathing. Tears rolling down my cheeks, they began.

seeing my boy for the first time!

I can't accurately describe what it feels like to be awake while people cut into your body. The tugging and pulling was so uncomfortable. Not painful, just so, so uncomfortable. And I just kept thinking about them putting different organs on the table...outside of my body...ugh. I just kept looking at Bryan and while I don't remember what we talked about, it was enough to keep me focused for the few minutes it took for them to get Connor out. 

The next thing I knew, the doctors and nurses where laughing because as they pulled him out, Connor started peeing everywhere to announce his arrival. As Bryan looked over the drape, I saw his tears, too. The nurses took Connor to clean him off and the neonatologist started checking him. I told Bryan to go to him and kept asking if he was OK. When I heard his beautiful cry, the relief I felt is indescribable. He was perfect. They swaddled him up and gave him to Bryan, who brought me our beautiful boy.

Gigi visiting Connor in the NICU
I'll never be able to describe what it felt like to see him. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and touched his soft little face. Next thing I know, he's being taken away to get checked out in the NICU, and it's just me and Bryan again.

The doctors kept working on me. More tugging and pulling. At this point, I began to get really agitated. I tuned into what the doctors were saying, because now that Connor was out safely, I knew there was another piece to this puzzle, which was my bleeding and possible hysterectomy. I heard the doctors talking about my placenta being "sticky" and I heard the words "has to come out." I started shaking and I kept trying to move my body, getting so frustrated that I couldn't. I got so worked up about I was hearing from the doctors and the anesthesiologist gave me that medicine he mentioned earlier (he didn't ask me this time).

Hearing test
A lot of what happened next is a blur. When I "came to" (I never went to sleep, this is just the next thing I remember), I was still in the OR, and Bryan was there. Everyone was laughing because I was talking about the weather? I asked where everyone was, as I was aware the amount of people in the room was significantly less than earlier. (I had no idea how much time had passed.) The nurses assured me we were done and I was getting ready to be wheeled back to recovery. While my memory is foggy here, I do remember the nurses complimenting my eyelashes and I told them all about Lash Boost!

As I laid in recovery, I was extremely tired, and out of it, and in a lot of pain. They gave me as much pain medicine as they could at the time, and monitored my hemoglobin (to see how much blood I lost) and pain very closely. Again, this part is so groggy, but I do remember Bryan and my mom both looking very worried. I began to stabilize a little bit. Everyone kept assuring me that Connor was doing great, and I could see him again as soon as I went back up to my room. Bryan and my mom went to see Connor in the NICU. It's a very weird feeling to have just had a baby and not know where he is.

I was pretty out of it for the rest of the day. We didn't know it at the time, but I lost a significant amount of blood during surgery. I was super lethargic and in a good amount of pain, despite keeping on up pain meds. Some time later I went back up to my room and I meet Bryan there with my mom. He shows me pictures of Connor, who passed all of his tests with flying colors.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, they brought my boy to me. 



We are so thankful he didn't have to spend any time in the NICU. Despite being 4 weeks early, he was a big, healthy boy. His lungs worked great, his hearing was perfect. He was a little yellow, but his levels weren't to the point of jaundice, so he got to stay with us. 


Liam came later that day to meet his brother. He was super excited at first, and pretty quickly lost interest, haha. I don't think he really got what was happening, but I knew he was happy to see that there was finally a baby, and that mommy wasn't "sick" anymore.


I wasn't able to get out of bed that first day, but the next morning, around 6am, my nurse came to test my hemoglobin, and then insisted that I get up and move. I'd heard this advice from other c-section mamas, so although I was dreading it, I did as I was told.

Ho-ly Shit. I have never felt more pain in my life than getting up out of that hospital bed. I cried and swore like I've never cried and swore before. But they were right - each time I had to get up and pee, it still hurt like a mother, but I felt better every time. Later that morning, we got my hemoglobin labs back and the results weren't good. Apparently a "normal" blood level for someone like me is around 12 - mine were 5.5. Yikes. 

Since I had lost more blood than they thought during my surgery, I had to get two bags of blood via blood transfusion that day. The OB came in to talk to me about how things went the day before. I knew the gist, but now was time for details.

The doctor said that as it turns out, I did have Placenta Accreta (when the placenta is attached too deeply to the uterine wall). They suspected it was a possibility, but said we just wouldn't know until they got inside. Once they did, they found my placenta was pretty stuck in my uterus—again, I heard the "sticky" reference. 

The doctor explained that after some hard work, they removed a good portion of the placenta from the uterus. Enough where they didn't have to do a hysterectomy (hooray!). They said that might be why I was in so much pain...there was more tugging, pulling and cutting than in a normal c-section. All things considered, the docs were very pleased with how things turned out, and so were we.



After about 4 days in the hospital, we were able to go home with our new baby and begin life as a family of four. 

 

We've spent the past two months settling into a new normal, and I've been enjoying my time home with Connor so much. Liam LOVES his brother, but has had his fair share of difficulty in adjusting to things. While I know he won't remember all of this in the future, it's hard because he remembers it NOW. He still clearly worries every time I go to the doctor, or if I'm not feeling well. He asks almost every night if I'll be there in the morning when he wakes up. It breaks me every time.




And it's funny...like all hard moments in life, while all of this was going on, it was positively the worst thing to be going through. But now that we're through it, and I'm still here with two healthy boys...all of this turmoil feels like a distant memory. I remain thankful that while I experienced a horrible pregnancy, Connor was none the wiser. I stare at him every day in wonder, so thankful for this little human that we love so very much.


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