Published On: Sun, Oct 22nd, 2023

Understanding the Risks of Placenta Accreta: Insights from a Colorado Woman’s Post-Birth Experience

Understanding the Risks of Placenta Accreta: Insights from a Colorado Woman’s Post-Birth Experience
Understanding the Risks of Placenta Accreta: Insights from a Colorado Woman’s Post-Birth Experience

Colorado Woman’s Inspiring Journey Through Pregnancy Complications

Expecting their second child, Taylor and Kaleb Mckey initially anticipated a smooth pregnancy journey. However, their plans took an unexpected turn when doctors detected concerns related to placenta accreta during the early checkups. Placenta accreta occurs when the placenta grows abnormally into or through the uterus and doesn’t detach during birth, potentially leading to severe complications, such as uterine tearing or a hysterectomy.

This condition is relatively rare in mothers with no prior birthing complications but more common in older mothers, those who conceived through IVF, or those with uterine scarring from previous surgeries like C-sections.

The couple was initially hopeful that the doctors were just taking extra precautions, but as the pregnancy progressed, it became clear that placenta accreta was a real possibility. To be closer to the specialized medical team at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, the Mckeys relocated from their Eagle home to Denver, staying in extended-stay accommodations. This transition was filled with stress, particularly because they had a toddler and a dog to care for alongside regular doctor’s appointments. However, their network of family and friends provided much-needed support.

Placenta accreta comes with a 7% mortality rate for mothers due to severe blood loss, and it can also pose life-threatening risks for the baby and other organs like the bladder. Unfortunately, there’s little that can be done until the day of delivery except preparing for the worst and ensuring a skilled delivery team is ready.

Taylor’s extensive research into the potential outcomes of placenta accreta revealed the gravity of the situation. With a 7% mortality rate for mothers and other potential complications, she and her family braced themselves for what lay ahead.

Four days before the scheduled delivery, the medical team discussed all possible scenarios with the Mckeys, intensifying their anxiety. In an attempt to provide emotional support, Kaleb suggested that Taylor visit her “happy place” by summiting Mount of the Holy Cross, a mountain they had planned to hike before her second pregnancy.

When the delivery day finally arrived, doctors confirmed not only the presence of placenta accreta but also a severe case where it had grown through Taylor’s uterus. Despite the complexity of the situation, the specialized team at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center successfully performed the surgery. Baby George was born healthy, albeit a bit early, and Taylor was released from the hospital shortly after.

Taylor embarked on a challenging path to recovery, including counseling to address the trauma she experienced during the operation and throughout her pregnancy. She attributes her speedy recovery to a holistic approach that addresses both her physical and mental well-being.

Once medically cleared, Taylor fulfilled her goal of summiting Mount of the Holy Cross, a symbolic achievement signifying that life would continue despite the challenges they had faced. With their two sons waiting for them, the Mckeys found solace in the notion that they could still enjoy life together, cherishing their shared interests in outdoor activities like hiking and skiing.

Reflecting on her experience, Taylor emphasized that if there’s no medical necessity for a C-section, she would recommend opting for a vaginal birth. Scarring from her first C-section likely contributed to her placenta accreta during her second pregnancy, and data shows that mothers who have had multiple C-sections are 40% more likely to develop this condition. She encourages mothers to inquire about their birthing options whenever possible.

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