I really wanted to make sure that part of my recovery from my birth was getting every detail of my journey out so that I could never forget all those feelings for what transpired the day I had my daughter. I also hope to inspire women to be more aware of themselves and their body to have a safer pregnancy.
My pregnancy journey...
It all started on a Monday in December, it was about 5 in the morning and decided what the hell....let's take a test! I remember sitting on the toilet laughing at how ridiculous I was being because we had been trying for so long that this may not be our moment and I'm wasting an expensive stick to pee on. I turned my head looked down at the test and saw two pretty little lines. I jumped up so quick to grab another test and just like the other it was positive. I remember calling my twin and Brezi and cried and laughed at how excited to be able to tell Jon when he got home! I devised a little plan and caught Jons reaction on camera of course and we just laughed and cried the whole day full of happiness and optimistic views of our life the next 9-10 months....
We realized it was going to be quite the journey when at almost 13 weeks I ended up in the ER with some slight bleeding. I kept thinking "damnit Tammy you work too hard slow down" I was for sure it was a miscarriage.
But then the ER staff kept asking for blood....and more blood....and hours later...more blood...
Turns out I just had low platelets, which could have meant anything from a bad cold or a deadly blood disease. I obviously adopted the idea of bad cold and it wasn't a big deal to me but they sent me to a hematologist just to be on the safe side.
Through my once a month visits to my obgyn and my hematologist everything was normal and I didn't seem to be to bothered! Morning sickness, allergies, nose bleeds, pregnancy brain was my worst enemy, and my happy little girl showing us how healthy and normal she was every single time, truly the best feeling was knowing she was perfectly fine.
Fast forward to around month 7 I was feeling on top of the world. I looked and felt amazing pregnant. I was still working hard at work and eating healthy so baby was getting full force of mommies body so I felt no worries. I went to all my hematologist appointment like normal and he sat Jon and I down and said a few things I wasn't too fond of.
My platelets were dangerously low, and that when it came time to birth Id really have to consider some options for mine and my daughters safety. I looked at him dumbfounded I remember saying "but I'm so healthy and I do everything right, I haven't noticed any changes."
He was very honest about it and I truly thank him for it because for what transpired on the day of my daughters arrival; I didn't know I'd be replaying those options in my head over and over again.
Vaginal birth-bleeding more, no epidural, transfusion if necessary
C-section- bleeding more, transfusion necessary
Risks: my life in either scenario: uncontrollable bleeding
Jon held my hand, not gently like he had been through every appointment so far, but firm as if he wanted to hold tighter just in case. I remember telling our families and trying to process this all in the moment and saying "I just have to get my platelets up and I will be fine!"
I went over to Brezi's house and told her everything , I was truly distraught over the whole situation. She asked me " did you want me to keep on taking pictures if anything happened?" I said "yes I do, if anything happened I want you to be there to capture it." Honestly wanted to make sure that if anything happened my husband and daughter would have those memories to show how strong I was regardless of the situation. Never the less, I could feel myself worrying seeing that I didn't have long to get my shit together. I had to have an honest talk with Jon where I said " Jon If we have to chose and I'm not awake please know I chose Izabella's life over mine, I need you to know this. I don't give a fuck about me please save our child first." His look when I said that had never scared me so much in my life. He instantly walked away, devastated that I would say that to him. I remember him saying "nothing's going to happen to you we are going to have our daughter and we are going to be a family, stop it!"
As I look at him sleep with our daughter in his hands....I know now he was absolutely right, still doesn't change the hardship that soon developed.
Month 8 was a quick breeze; I felt big
I started getting the comments of "when's that baby due...any minute?!" Id happily say "NOPE, August is around the corner though!"
I felt great and my platelets shot up for a solid 100,000 which is essentially great! I had been sitting in a weird 54,000-70,000 count for most of the pregnancy so everything felt like it was in place!
Had a lovely intimate baby shower thrown by the family, focused so much on getting baby ready with Jon that everything seemed to fly by!
Then August happened.
By then i was on month 9, I was utterly exhausted! My stretch marks were itchy and annoying, I'd cry over anything, my feet swollen from all my hard days work. At this point everyone would say "any day now!" And in my mind Id say "better not be." I kept thinking I had to keep working; we needed the money. I knew something was wrong when I ended up going to a fetal medicine doctor to check if any platelet/bleeding issues were going to come up for my daughter. It was a beautiful day with some scary news about treatments for me,baby and for after baby. I just sat there and thought "Really?? treatment, what the fuck for?"
Turns out I had ITP short for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
Which means that my immune system was attacking my platelets; thus making my platelet count fluctuate into a dangerously low count.
Jon again held my hand but switched to my thigh and gripped so hard I almost had to tell him to let go. The doctor said I'd have to get on steroids to help my platelets, take out my spleen in maybe one or two years. I really didn't think it was that serious because I felt fine, I guess my body was telling me otherwise...
Couple of weeks went by and I kept myself busy with work and trying to get baby ready because in my mind I had til the end of the month. Little did I know that August 12 would change my life!
My birth story...
I remember waking up to go to the bathroom like always around 1 am I just went to pee came back sat up and all the sudden a rush of what I thought was my water breaking came out and as I got up to observe it in the light it was nothing but blood....and a lot of it...
I yelled for Jon, he looked over, saw the blood still running down my legs and kicked it in to high gear. I've never seen my husband move so fast in my life. He took over on everything; hospital bag, dressing me, car on, dogs and cat set in 15 mins. I was scared, all that blood did not feel right. I called Brezi and she picked up instantly and got me to calm down, to breath, and to get to the hospital. So on we rushed to the hospital with my cousins and mother in law waiting we figured out my little Izabella wanted to be on her way sooner rather than later. The doctors suggested bed rest to keep her from coming any earlier because she may have been ready but my body was not. After this whole scare we took as much precaution as we could, although I will say staying in bed rest is easier said than done. I was not the person to sit in bed and relax when there was so much to do. We still ended up at the doctors most of the week because I kept bleeding and feeling pressure and it was to the point that I didn't know what to do. I finally went to labor and delivery again that Thursday and I was 1 cm and 100% effaced ! That meant that she could come within the next 3 days or a week, so back home we went.
Friday around 1 am again I woke up to contractions, 10 mins apart and by 5 in the morning they were strong and almost 5 mins apart. I told Jon it was time...I could feel it. So off we went again to labor and delivery and through my contractions we made jokes on how the nurses are going to make fun of us for being there so many times in a week. The ride wasn't long until the contractions became stronger, my twin on the phone kept breathing and telling me how proud she was of me, and that soon we would meet our little angel! As we got to the hospital I felt sick as if I couldn't walk or talk I threw up everywhere and Jon panicked grabbed a wheel chair and wheeled me up to labor and delivery. As they looked me over the nurses asked if my water broke and as soon as they went to exam me, BAM water broke on the nurse. I laughed so hard and out it poured on this lady. As she got up she said "alright you better be ready you're not going home today" I could have almost hugged her, We were all ready to meet her. As quick as they put me in the room, my family, and Brezi showed up ready for the big debut. I ended up doing anything to make myself dilate(tub, walking, lots of moving)! After a couple of hours I was 5cm and could tell I needed the epidural ( I could hear women screaming for it, I really did freak out over it). As I sat there waiting to push I don't know what happened but it slowed down so bad that I kept falling asleep and feeling so disappointed because I was physically and mentally ready. Here I was 10pm at night as my family waited; my husband being up now almost 24hrs let me sleep to try and give me energy for when I had to start pushing. Midnight rolls around and my nurse Stephanie said "alright you ready to start pushing?!" And I sleepy said "yes!" As I start pushing, I could feel my efforts but no results. I had not eaten the whole day so I felt my efforts were just not giving in to the amount of energy I was trying to give in. I kept falling in and out of sleep and my nurse and Dr. Williams kept trying to get me to push, I kept trying to climb up and pushing what I could. It was so hard, and I could feel the epidural wearing off because I kept forgetting to push the button. Here I was with my family all watching and no results. I felt like a failure, as if I couldn't get my body to have this baby. I couldn't breathe (oxygen mask came on), I could feel Izabella make her way down and then push back up. I could see my doctor's face disappointed in our efforts to get her out. Nothing seemed to work, even after reaching in and trying to get her my pelvic bone just wasn't opening. Izabella was stuck, and going through distress. I could feel myself in panic and then pass out from not only the pain but all that I work I was putting in made me exhausted! Finally a little after 7 am and my doctor and nurse stepped out. I already knew what they were going to say before they said it. I could tell Dr.Williams was worried, as was everyone else in the room. I was trying to avoid a c-section because of my platelets, I wasn't sure how the bleeding was going to go and I really didn't want to risk bleeding to death. But in walked Dr.Williams and nurse Stephanie with a plan and solutions. I remember her telling me they needed to get her out and a c-section would be needed. Jons face went into panic, and I went completely calm. I remember her telling me we are going to get a transfusion ready and get me set up. Jon and Brezi would be the only ones in the operating room. I remember looking at my husband, he kept kissing me and telling me how much he loves me crying. I could tell he was scared, but I already was mentally ready that if anything happened I needed Izabella to be ok regardless of what happened to me. Within minutes they had me rolling to the operating room. I remember them picking me up and setting me up to get ready. They pulled the blue cloth up and Dr. Williams said if you feel anything say sharp....2 seconds later I yelled "sharp sharp sharp!" I wanted to panic over the pain but I started to shake. I couldn't tell what my body was going through but I remember the doctor next to me putting me down because I could not get myself to calm down. Jon was on the other side holding on to me and then there was that sweet baby cry....
Loud and in charge she came out screaming and ready. I kept saying "I hear her, I hear my baby!" In a moment Jon had her in his arms wanting me to hold her but I couldn't move. I just remember seeing her and seeing my husband cry and hold her close. And just like that I passed out, and remember waking up to Jon praying I simply said "hey handsome." We kissed and talked about Izabella (she ended up in nicu for a couple of days for oxygen and infection ) It was the most amazing craziest moment in my life. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. Although my recovery had been long because of the scary outcomes of that day I feel as if letting women know that platelets are important to having a baby! They keep us from bleeding out and thankful for my platelets transfusion or I probably wouldn't be here right now. The journey to Izabella has been truly worth every part of my birth story. It's unique and crazy but I'm thankful Brezi was there to capture every moment of it. I am blessed to be able to have these photos for life but also to call you my best friend. I love you, Izabella loves you, Jon and my family loves you, thank you.