‘She’s going to slide right out, right??’ Suddenly, my midwife’s eyes went wide. The color drained from my face.’: Mom survives extremely rare Group Strep A placenta infection, delivers miracle baby

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“Georgia’s birth story doesn’t actually begin on October 27th. It begins in March of 2019. I had 3 babies back-to-back and my body was having a really hard time adjusting. My anxiety was at its worst and I was at my heaviest I had ever been. I just couldn’t take it any more. I needed something to work. I needed something to calm me down. I needed something in my life to feel normal so I could feel like I could start taking my life back. My partner and I knew we wanted four children, and this wasn’t going to happen unless I could get my physical and mental health under control. So, I went to my general doctor. First mistake. While I trusted him and had known him for a long time, I should have known to first talk with my midwife about what was going on. So, I was talking to my doctor and telling him what was going on. We had tried anxiety medications before and I just didn’t like how they made me feel. I felt like a zombie mom. The anxiety was gone, but so was who I was! So this was not helpful at all with three small kids who need their mom to be present.

So, I was sitting in my doctor’s office, willing to do anything at this point. I was thinking maybe birth control would help. Maybe my hormones hadn’t really settled down and that was the problem. However, I had tried almost every possible birth control and my body hated every single one. He suggested the Depo Provera shot. At the time, a once-every-three-month shot sounded amazing. I didn’t have to worry about keeping track of a pill or a ring. (And really all I was thinking about was my anxiety.) Anything to help, I was all for it. He told me some of the things about the shot, but I think I tuned him out. I heard it could take a little bit to get pregnant again, but at the time we were okay with that. He told me I could get my first shot that day if I wanted. ‘Heck yes,’ I said. A nurse came in and gave me a shot in my butt. Not super pleasant, but I was just so ready to get my life back on track. Well… I was in for something much worse. Let me spare you the details and just tell you, DON’T EVER DO DEPO PROVERA!

It almost ruined me. It took us almost a year to get pregnant! It completely wrecked my digestive system and my overall health. It did more harm than good. I was absolutely miserable. After talking to my midwife…something I should have done in the first place…about how I was doing and feeling, I told her I got the depo shot and she was shocked! She said she never gives her patients that shot. Later, while I was pregnant, I talked to an OB about depo and he told me it is the second worst form of birth control out there and he never suggests it to anyone!

We were getting really frustrated that we weren’t getting pregnant. It had come so easily before and this was new territory for us. I now have such a deeper appreciation for those who suffer for years of trying to have a baby, especially when it doesn’t happen like they planned. I finally ditched the apps because depo had messed my cycle up so much I couldn’t even keep track anymore; I just started listening to my body. I got ovulation strips and it turns out I ovulate right after my period! After a few months of tracking my ovulation and listening to my body and going off my gut…we got pregnant February of 2020.

Courtesy of Catie McHardy
Courtesy of Catie McHardy

During my whole pregnancy, I just had this feeling she was going to be early. I didn’t know why. My babies never come early or on their own. I was so confused and I even told my midwife and she just laughed because my track record shows inductions are the way to go when it comes to my body.

Fast forward to October 25th, 2020. On Sunday night, I started getting consistent contractions. They were about 3-5 minutes apart. They weren’t painful, but they were definitely annoying. I got in the bath to see if I could relax and maybe get some sleep. Well, I tried sleeping and I couldn’t. My adrenaline was racing and I just couldn’t get comfortable. I texted the midwife who was on call and let her know what was going on. She didn’t seem too concerned, because again, I don’t go on my own.

Courtesy of Catie McHardy

Well, around 1 a.m. on Monday morning I couldn’t take it anymore and I woke up my partner Tobi and called my mom. I was convinced we were going to have a baby! I was just so freaking uncomfortable and exhausted! So, we get all checked in and I’m dilated to a 1-2. I was feeling pretty good about myself. The nurse wanted me to walk around for an hour and see if we can get more progress. I even found stairs and walked up so many flights of stairs….realizing now this was a terrible idea.

After an hour, I was a 3. They wanted me to sit in the tub for an hour…so I did. The contractions got stronger and I was feeling all the things. After another hour, I was a 4 and they were going to finally admit me and get me into a room. I’m pretty sure they all thought I was crazy. Apparently, there were a lot of laboring moms that night and it took forever to get us into a room.

I walked so much. Bounced on a ball and did all of the things. I just wanted her out of my body. They checked me again and I was close to a 5, but nothing was really happening. I was getting so discouraged. Here’s the kicker though. Because I was under 39 weeks, they couldn’t intervene medically to start labor. I had to do it all on my own. They couldn’t break my water or do gel. Nothing. I was just in tears!

Ultimately, we left feeling defeated and frustrated. Things got really interesting when we got home…of course! When we got home I just didn’t feel good. I got in the bath again, hoping I could relax and get some sleep! I had been up who knows how long at this point. I just wanted to sleep and have this sweet baby in my arms!

Tuesday morning, I was rudely woken up with painful contractions that were 2-3 minutes apart. My midwife was on call and I texted her that something wasn’t right and she needed to come out of my body. I just had this feeling she needed to come out…this feeling was divinely given for sure!

They get me checked in and now I am a 6 and they do all the things. Drawing my blood, they noticed my blood pressure and heart rate were really high. But they knew I was in labor, so it can be a little high. Still, that was the first red flag for them. Epidural is in. Everything is going good. Or so I thought.

I started feeling nauseous and just really blah. After about an hour of the epidural being in, I was an 8! Heck yes!! I was expecting to have her quickly and be done. I mean she’s my 4th. She was going to slide right out, right?? My midwife comes to check on me and she has this concerned look on her face and said all the color was gone from my face. I told her I didn’t feel super great, so she asked the nurse to pull up my blood work…that’s when I knew something was wrong. Her eyes went wide. She just stopped. She immediately got out her phone and was calling everyone!

Everything stopped. The next thing I know, the other midwife and two other nurses are in my room. My midwife is on the phone to the OB trying to figure out what to do. Monday, when they drew my blood, my white blood count was 16. Not terrible. But a little high. My body was trying to have a baby. Tuesday when I went in again…it was
38,000. Yes, you read that right. My midwife was in absolute shock. She had never seen a white blood count that high, ever. And she had never seen it jump that high in a 24-hour period.

My mind was spinning. My thoughts immediately went to my little Georgia in the womb and if she was okay! My water wasn’t broken yet. A godsend actually, and I was immediately started on 3 different antibiotics. They knew there was an infection in my body, but they had no idea where it was. I think my body and mind went into shock. I didn’t know how to feel or what to think. I kept looking at Tobi…seeing this panicked look on his face. I kept trying to reassure him I was going to be okay…but I was freaking out on the inside!

My temp was 102.6 and I couldn’t stop shaking. I was freezing! There was a nurse in my room and her sole job was putting cold wash cloths on me to try to bring my temp down. Antibiotics go in my IV. 3 of them, just to make sure. One is just for our miracle baby to make sure she didn’t catch this! My body had stopped labor to focus on the infection. My contractions stopped. Baby was in a weird position, but we knew we needed to get her out.

We break my water and start Pitocin. My temp is still high and those damn adrenaline shakes were just so freaking annoying. It was hard to focus. I had cotton mouth so bad. They were rolling me from side to side as my contractions were picking up. They were trying to move her down. Then that feeling came. She was coming. We started pushing. 15 minutes later, she was here. She wasn’t breathing. The NICU team was there to help her and now we needed to figure out what was going on with me.

But as soon as she was out, I instantly felt better. I could finally relax. My temp went down. I wanted to eat and drink. I hadn’t really wanted to eat or drink anything since being in labor for almost 3 days! Tobi went with Georgia to the NICU so they could monitor her breathing and her blood sugars. Everything wears off and I can go into the NICU and see my sweet love. She is perfection. She was doing great and her numbers were going up. I got to nurse her and she only had to be there for about 8 hours!

Courtesy of Catie McHardy

We found out that Wednesday afternoon I had gotten a rare strain of Group Strep A in my placenta!!! This never happens. EVER! We have no idea how it got there…and it could have been deadly had we not delivered Georgia! We are both healthy and forever grateful for our amazing nurses and midwife! Also so freaking glad she’s our last and
our family is complete! If you had a high-risk pregnancy as well, I am with you.”

Courtesy of Catie McHardy
Courtesy of Catie McHardy

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Catie McHardy of Idaho. You can follow her journey on  Instagram.  Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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