PORTLAND - At 28 weeks of pregnancy, Brittany Berry-Hill knew she was in trouble.
“I thought my water had broke but it turned out to be what seemed like buckets of blood,” she recalled.
The 22-year-old was rushed to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center where she received a massive transfusion.
As Brittany fought to save her baby, she was told to make arrangements for her 3-year-old daughter,
“I wrote a will and gave power of attorney and custody to my mother,” she remembered.
Brittany had placenta acretta - a condition where the placenta attaches to the wall of the womb and doesn’t detach when it’s supposed to. The problem occurs most often in women who’ve had previous C-sections. The placenta attaches to scar tissue left behind by a previous c-section.
“When you have scar tissue there’s the potential for the placenta to attach there and go deeper and deeper into the wall of the womb,” said Dr. Debra Guinn a maternal and fetal medicine specialist at Legacy Emanuel.
Brittany spent seven weeks in the hospital. Dr. Guinn devised a complicated birthing plan involving a vascular surgeon who used cardiac balloons to stop the blood flow to her uterus.
On November 29th, Brittany’s son Amyr was delivered.
“It was all worth it. We didn’t think he was going to make it but he did,” said Brittany’s mother Yvonne Berry.
Amy spent six days in the neonatal intensive care unit before going home.
“My daughter loves him to death. She’s thinks she’s the Mom and she takes care of him,” said Brittany.
While Brittany’s story had a happy ending, her doctor hopes it will warn other women about the risk of repeated c-sections. One in three babies is delivered by C-section and the rate continues to climb.
“The risk starts with the first C-section. If you have one you’re going to be at risk for subsequent issues in the future,” said Dr. Guinn.
Placenta acretta occurs in one in every 2,500 pregnancies. In 1950 it happened in only one in 30,000 pregnancies when the c-section rate was significantly lower.