Delivery Uncertainty

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When I was pregnant with Abby lab tests showed that I had low platelets in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I was warned that if my platelet count fell too low that I would not have the choice to get an epidural, as low platelet count affects the body’s ability to clot blood, and they didn’t want to give me an epidural and then have hard to control bleeding on my spine. That was not a comforting thought, but I wanted a medication-free birth anyways, so I was OK with it.

After almost 20 hours of contractions I changed my mind and I asked the anesthesiologist if I could have an epidural since I was exausted. My platelet count was on the border of being too low, but he let me make the choice to get it or not and I did. It was an immediate relief.

My OB/GYN has been monitoring my platelets closely during this pregnancy and I have been diagnosed with gestational thrombocytopenia. Thrombocytopenia is a condition where blood does not clot notmally, caused by a low platelet count. It is diagnosed by blood tests. Gestational thrombocytopenia happens during pregnancy. According to my doctor, it occurs in only 7 to 10% of pregnancies and generally appears in the mid-second to third trimester. It poses no harm to the baby and should resolve by six weeks after the baby is born.

Since my hospital does not perform VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) I will have to deliver via a planned c-section with a transfusion of platelets first. My doctor has warned me that if my platelets are too low when I enter the hospital I will have to be put to sleep using general anesthesia, rather than being given an epidural or spinal anesthesia and being able to be awake for my child’s birth.

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I am hoping that I don’t have to have general anesthesia; I want to be awake and witness my baby boy’s first moments of life. I want to be able to do immediate skin-to-skin and breastfeed right away, I don’t want to be groggy and tired and miss such an important event. Plus, anesthesia often makes me nauseous, and I don’t even want to imagine puking with an incision in my abdomen. Don’t get me wrong, the hour of chills and shaking after my precious c-section sucked. I felt so cold, even with several heated blankets on me. The anesthesia made me shake so hard that I was afraid that I would drop my baby when she was placed in my arms in Recovery.

I have already told my husband that if I do have to sleep through delivery I want him to do immediate skin-to-skin with our son until I am awake and able to myself.

So much of pregnancy is waiting. I have already waited twenty-nine weeks to get this far. I can wait longer, but the more I wait, the more anxious I become. I just hate the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen. I hate waiting another ten weeks to know.


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