Jackie's story

Becoming a mother, whether for the first time or fifth time, is the most incredible journey of a lifetime. If you are an expectant mother reading this information, it probably means that you have been diagnosed with some form of placenta accreta. I am sorry that you are facing this scary and unpredictable pregnancy complication. Unfortunately, it will not be easy, but I assure you that it will be worth it!

Having been through a percreta pregnancy myself, I have a few tips that I would like to offer. My first tip - Don't let a placenta accreta pregnancy steal your joy! Being pregnant should be the most exciting and rewarding time of your life. Enjoy your pregnancy; do the things that make you happy. Take a long bath, go to dinner with a friend, get the massage, buy the outfit, and eat the cake. Whatever brings you joy, do it!

I was diagnosed with placenta previa and percreta early during my fourth pregnancy. In a way, being diagnosed early was a blessing. It allowed me time to process the information and become a patient expert on the diagnosis. Placenta accreta is a serious pregnancy complication. If you are scared and overwhelmed right now, it is well justified. My next tip for you - Allow yourself to grieve your diagnosis. No matter your situation, you are probably experiencing fear of loss. Perhaps you fear loss of your ideal pregnancy and birthing plan; perhaps you fear loss of your fertility; or perhaps you fear loss of your own life or your baby's life. All those fears are justified. You will go through a mourning process - allow that mourning to happen. For some, this is a relatively quick process, while others might need much more time. You are unique in your own grief.

Having a solid support system through this journey is going to be critical. My tip for you - Be open and honest with your spouse, family, and friends. None of them can completely relate to your situation, so you will need to communicate often about your feelings and needs. You will likely be facing an extended hospital admittance before or even after delivery. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Lean on your loved ones to provide you support and help carry you through this difficult time. There are online support systems as well. These online groups are full of women who have similar experiences as your own. I would highly recommend looking into the National Accreta Foundation. Their members have social network groups where you can connect with others to read about their experiences and ask your own questions. I found these groups to be invaluable during my pregnancy and recovery!

It is hard to feel a sense of control during a placenta accreta pregnancy. For me, knowledge was power. I wanted to read and question everything related to placenta accreta. The internet is a wonderful resource, but make sure you rely primarily on medical journals and other valid resources. My tip for you - Educate yourself so that you can advocate for you and your baby. While it is certainly important to trust your medical team, YOU are the expert on you and your baby! Ask questions and tell doctors about any concerns, but do take comfort in knowing you have chosen the absolute best medical facility to care for you and your baby! Overland Park Regional Medical Center and its providers have done extensive research on the matter, and they will put your safety at the forefront of every decision.

Overland Park Regional Medical Center has assembled a team of qualified medical professionals for your delivery. My tip - Ask to meet each key medical professional on your delivery team and your baby's medical team. Doing so will allow you to ask questions and become more comfortable with the delivery plan. Personally, I chose to write out my understanding of the delivery process, along with my wishes for my own recovery and newborn care. I made copies and ensured that each provider was given this information when we met prior to delivery. This gave me peace of mind, knowing that we were all on the same page and my desires had been communicated.

This next tip is a difficult one to discuss - Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. Of course, everyone is hoping that your placenta accreta is manageable and the delivery goes smoothly. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The hospital team will be prepared for the worst; you need to be also. Take the time to get all your affairs in order. This might mean creating or updating legal documents, writing letters to loved ones, or anything else that is important to you. Hopefully, none of this is needed, but having it in place will give you some much needed peace prior to your delivery.

For me, prayer was an extremely important part of my journey. I prayed for my own safety and recovery, for my baby's strength and well-being, and for my medical team's knowledge and steady hands. You might also find great comfort in the power of prayer. Or, you might decide meditation is right for you. Whatever you feel comfortable with - Take time daily to pray, meditate, or simply quiet your mind. You will experience a great deal of peace after you have acknowledged your fears and offered them up. So much emphasis is placed on the delivery (and rightfully so since it is a major operation); however, this might mean that you haven't thought much about your recovery process. During my delivery, my placenta was found to have invaded my bladder, and I required a complete hysterectomy with bladder resection. My recovery was quite difficult, more so than I could have imagined ahead of time. My tip for you - Allow yourself ample time to recover - physically and emotionally. Your physical recovery could take weeks or months, but your emotional recovery will take much longer. This experience will change you. For me, bonding with my baby didn't come as naturally as other pregnancies, and I had a difficult time re-engaging at home after my 30 day hospital stay. Your struggles might be similar, or they might look quite different than mine. Be kind and patient with yourself. Be ready to see a licensed therapist or ask for help in other ways.

I am extremely grateful to report that I have a healthy, handsome, and intelligent 18-month-old little boy, and my personal health is now better than I could have imagined. Miracles do happen! My prayer is that you overcome the placenta accreta beast, and that this experience will reveal your inner warrior!