This week is National Blood Donor Week and this story is a great reminder about why we should all be donors.
A guest post by Jenna Michelmore
First of all, this story is full-on. I just wanted to let you know that now. But, one year on I am happy, healthy and well — as is my daughter, Lucy.
On 14th May 2015 I was induced at Mt Barker Hospital due to quite severe pelvic discomfort. It was only a day before my initial due date. While in labour I remember my obstetrician mentioning that they may need to prepare theatre due to the birth not progressing, but I had other ideas and within an hour Lucy was born at 6.34pm on 15th May 2015.
I had a quick cuddle of beautiful Lucy and then remembered that I needed to give birth to my placenta, but things had already taken a terrifying turn. My wonderful husband Simon was given Lucy and asked to wait outside in the corridor. A Code Blue (medical emergency) was called while my doctor was urgently trying to stop the haemorrhage. My obstetrician 28 weeks pregnant herself and relied on her training to keep me alive, she had never treated an inverted uterus patient before.
While she was physically scooping blood out of my uterus, one of the wonderful midwives was pulsating my abdomen in the attempt to assist in stopping the haemorrhage.
I was given three units of lifesaving blood at Mt Barker Hospital. My mum & sister arrived about 30 minutes after I gave birth to Lucy and I remember seeing their faces when they popped their heads in to see me. I gave my mum a hug and promised her that I would try not to die.
Medstar arrived and whisked me to Flinders Medical Centre in record time via an ambulance. All I remember looking up seeing the ceiling and thinking to myself ‘am I alive?’.
I arrived in theatre and there were people everywhere. I signed a consent form and understood the risks of surgery. I also understood that I would probably have a scar after surgery, 30cms across my abdomen.
Apparently I was out of theatre at 11pm and in ICU. Due to the amount of blood that I lost, (an estimated 80%) I needed to stay in ICU to ensure my body didn’t go into shock.
I didn’t get to see Lucy until the morning of the 16th at about 11am. My wonderful husband Simon spent the night at Mt Barker Hospital with Lucy and brought her to the hospital to see me. Lucy was simply incredible. She somehow knew how to breastfeed instantly, which is what I needed to help my uterus stay where it should be!
My haemoglobin was low. Normal range is somewhere in the 100-120 range where mine was below 80, simply due to the amount of blood lost. The Obstetric & Gynecology team decided that I needed to leave ICU to receive more blood on the ward to assist in breastfeeding a new baby. I was moved out of ICU & ended up visiting another two wards during my 6 day long stay at Flinders.
Shortly after, I had my first ever panic attack Simon calls me to tell me that the paediatrician discovered a small hole in Lucy’s heart and potential hip problems. The hole in Lucy’s heart thankfully cleared up at her one week checkup, however she needed a hip brace for hip dysplasia for three months.
It took quite some time to recover from the blood loss and surgery, on a physical level I am pretty good but on an emotional level, i found it was very hard to come to grips with what I had gone through.
Two to three weeks after Lucy’s birth I set out to thank everyone involved in my journey. The biggest thanks was to Dr Balvinder Dhillon & Dr Amy Schirmer, the wonderful staff in ICU & wards at both FMC & Mt Barker Hospitals, Medstar, my awesome student nurse Lisa, my amazing family & incredible husband.
Those who I can’t thank personally are the incredible blood donors who saved my life. I will be donating in a few months when I am able too as my way of paying it forward.
This experience has helped me become an extremely positive person. Since Lucy’s birth I have experienced devastating loss with my grandfather passing away in July & my best friend passing away in December of Stage IV ovarian cancer. They would have wanted my story told and they would have wanted me to remain positive. It’s because of them, I am who I am!