Previous GBS experience On January 26, 2017 I found out I was pregnant with my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy ended at 11 weeks in miscarriage so to find out I was pregnant again was scary and I was hopeful. I had a very "normal" and healthy pregnancy. At week 35 I was tested for GBS and was told I was negative and that was "perfect" and once I went into labor it was "no big deal" and everything would be great. Little did we know our world would come to a halt. On September 27, 2017 I was induced due to my age (35 years old). After a very invasive and quite frankly horrific induction (28 hours) I gave birth vaginally at 8:16PM on September 28, 2017 to an extremely healthy and gorgeous little girl we named Finley Genevieve. She was 6 lb 8 oz with an APGAR score of 9. We were moved to my post partum room at 2AM on September 29, 2017. Finley was feeding but not taking in large amounts. She was fussy and her temperature was lower than where it should be. We were told this was "normal" and that she would be put under a warmer and be fine. At 4AM the nurses took her to the nursery so we could get some rest. At 7AM we were told she was having respiratory issues but not to worry and she was fine. At 11AM she was taken to the NICU where they began doing tests to see why her blood pressure was low as well as her temperature. We were still told she was fine and not to worry. Our little girl was in an incubator and still very responsive. She saw me and I held her hand, her blood pressure spiked up and at that moment I felt hope that she was going to be okay, she knew who I was and felt safe. At 1PM we were rushed to Children's Hospital NICU and were told she was going to be put on ECMO and we were in complete shock...how did she go from being "okay" to needing to be put on a machine where it was going to work for her? By 1:30PM we were told ECMO was not going to work as they did a scan of her brain and they found no brain activity. To hear this as her mommy and daddy was gut wrenching and extremely surreal. I held her in my arms and sang "you are my sunshine" until she passed away peacefully at 2:26PM. Two days later we found out she passed from GBS Sepsis. We were dumbfounded to say the least. I tested negative, how was this possible? Full Story
How long did you wait before conceiving again? Six months, I also had another miscarriage in April 2018
Emotional state during pregnancy: Anxiety and stressed the whole 9 months
How did your provider address any emotional concerns about losing another baby? I chose another OB Office that had six providers and all of them were informed of what we went through with Finley and I was considered very high risk. When I spoke to any of the physicians they were extremely empathetic and listened to my concerns. We would then come up with a game plan to any situation that was discussed. I also was seeing a therapist during this time which was helpful and not so isolating.
How did your provider address any medical concerns about losing another baby? The providers I had were very understanding and recognized why I would have concerns about losing another baby to GBS, they never made me feel uneasy about my concerns. We would discuss best practices in regard to regular hand washing. We also discussed in depth how I would have antibiotics in labor due to what happened with Finley.
Pregnancy/birth plan: My pregnancy began in October 2018 and was relatively easy until February 2019. In February I found out I had a DVT Blood Clot behind my right knee. I thought I had injured myself exercising. I got a CT and found out otherwise. I ended up having to inject Lovenox twice daily in my stomach for 26 weeks in hopes that my blood clot would dissipate and not travel to my lungs. Thankfully my blood clot dissolved by week 34. My birth plan was to be induced at week 39 and have four hours of antibiotics prior to labor. After I gave birth the plan was to test the baby for GBS. I did receive the full round of antibiotics and when Pierce Finley was born the medical staff tried to get her tested and did not succeed so they gave her three rounds of antibiotics over a 48 hour period.
Medical plan after birth: The medical plan after birth was quite frankly on my husband and me and our family who was going to be around Pierce. Knowledge about GBS is extremely important after giving birth. Late onset GBS was very concerning to me and my family. We all became quite educated on the signs and symptoms to look for and if this was to happen we had a game plan of the hospital we would take her to and let the medical staff know of her sister's background. Educating ourselves on GBS and advocating for our daughter was the best thing we could do for her. Pierce's pediatrician is great and if I had any concerns along the way I was to call her anytime.
What did you do personally to help alleviate stress, anxiety, etc. during this pregnancy? To alleviate stress and anxiety during my pregnancy I met with my therapist twice a month which was very helpful in not making me feel so isolated. I also would meet with friends for lunch/dinner. The one thing that truly helped me the most was educating myself on GBS and knowing that I was doing everything I could to protect my daughter.
What did you do personally to help alleviate stress, anxiety, etc. after this baby was born? After Pierce was born I was able to get back to exercising which has always been a huge part of my life. This has helped me immensely in feeling stronger mentally and physically. Also, spending time with Pierce has made me miss Finley so much more so I write letters to Finley and this has been very cathartic.
Additional information you would like to share about your story: Our daughter Pierce Finley is extremely special in more ways than one. She has Finley's name as her middle name and when Pierce was born on June 15, 2019 she was born at 9:28 PM... 9/28 is Finley's birthday...Finley was with us and Pierce the night she was born!
How do you share GBS information with others? I share a lot of GBS information on Twitter as well as I send out packets of information twice a year to OB offices in the area. When I do see pregnant woman I hand them a brochure and just let them know to educate themselves on GBS. My family is very active in that when they meet or come in contact with pregnant women they also share the brochures. Every year in July we have a walk in Finley's honor as July is GBS Awareness month.
If you would like, please leave encouragement for parents having another baby: Losing a child is something no parent should ever go through regardless of how old the child is. Having another baby is extremely terrifying and the unknown can make you feel utterly alone. I encourage anyone who is having another baby to arm yourself with information on GBS, signs and symptoms as well as a game plan if anything should fall out of place. When your rainbow baby is born and you look into his/her eyes you will have the utmost faith that you are armed with the power to protect that little one because of what you have been through.