Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So there we are in triage, JK soaked in birthing fluid and blood.  I had phoned my mother, asking her to look in on Luke the Dog as the non-stress test dragged on.  Now I call her a second time.

"It's coming down now!" I tell her in a voice that betrays my lack of calm.

In the mean time, a gurney rolls in and JK soon rolls out and toward pre-op.  As she is prepped for surgery, I phone her mother and best friend.  I promise I will keep both posted.  But it's difficult to do so, because I'm in a daze myself.

Dr. B is there with one of her partners and they are scrubbing up for surgery.  It will be an emergency c-section.  A rush to get the babies out, because something is amiss.

A placental abruption occurs when the placenta shears away from the uterine wall.  A partial abruption risks fetal health, and depending upon the severity of the tear, sometimes results in stillbirth.  The fetus loses its oxygen source when the placenta shears completely away.

Placental abruption results in stillbirth 20-40% of the time.

Our son, closer to the cervix than our daughter, was the victim.  His placenta had sheared completely away.  Time was of the essence.

We've gone over it a thousand times, JK and me.  What if she hadn't paid attention to the signals?  What if I had not heard something in her voice that made me listen?  What if the abruption had happened on the way?  What if we were too late.  What if luck wasn't on our side?

The answer, as you might have guessed, and confirmed by Dr. B: our son would not have survived.

I will always be grateful to JK for listening to the signs.  She saved his life.  I figure she has about a bazillion samolians stored away against all future parental screwups.  Forever, she will be a good mommy, because she started so remarkably well.

Dr. B got the two of them out, and our daughter was fine.  Our son's one minute apgar score was five.  They got the blood out of his lungs, and the five minute apgar was eight.

Though we had passed the most awful obstacle, there would be others.  He wasn't in the clear.