pregnancy

"I remember asking if I was going to die." Jessica lost 3 litres of blood during childbirth.

On the 26th of December 2018, my husband and I woke at 5am to head to the hospital for my induction.

I’d had three spontaneous births prior, so an induction was something new to me. I was nervous but I knew it was common. I also knew the potential risks associated with being induced, and although I always had this feeling that something would go wrong, this time I went with the flow and began preparing to meet my new baby.

Got a few questions about childbirth? Watch our video for all the answers. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

We arrived at the hospital around 8am, began monitoring, and before I knew it I was moved to the birthing suite to begin the process.

On arrival, I met the most wonderful midwives who put any anxiety I had at ease.

That changed pretty quickly when they started to read my file and came across my 20-week ultrasound results. The results indicated that I had placenta accreta, but given the fact this wasn’t listed on any other ultrasound reports and I was never told about it, they decided to continue with the induction.

I had my waters broken and a drip inserted into my hand. Contractions began instantly but were mild. Things continued that way until about 2.30pm when they decided they would turn the syntocinon up. Within a few minutes, my contractions were coming thick and fast. By 3.15pm I was ready to push!

I gave birth to baby Harrison standing up at 3.26pm with his cord tangled around his body, with his arm beside his head (how he came out… ouch!).

Alert but shocked, there was no cry. I remember asking if he was alright over and over.

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While in shock myself, I looked down and could see I was bleeding a bit. I turned to the midwife for reassurance, which she gave me. I then climbed onto the bed to have my placenta removed.

I remember looking down at Harrison. He was so content, so relaxed… everything was perfect. He was perfect.

I then remember looking down towards the end of the bed and noticing the midwives struggling to get my placenta to come out. I don’t remember what they were saying, but the first indication something was wrong was when they lifted a plastic sheet up full of blood and took it over to the scales to be weighed.

I heard the nurse turn to the other nurse and say, “600.” With my placenta still attached inside me, the emergency button was pushed and a team of nurses, midwives, surgeons and doctors raced into the room.

This can’t be happening, why is this happening? I thought. I’d had 3 perfectly normal births before.

I remember feeling cold. I remember asking Karl if I was going to die. I remember them taking Harrison away from me. Then and there, I knew something was horribly wrong.

It seemed like I was laying there forever with the team of medical staff working on me. With every minute passing, I felt like I was closer to death. My anxiety was out of control; I was living my worst nightmare.

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I was going to die giving birth and leave my children, my new baby and my husband.

A surgeon then appeared with a piece of paper asking me to sign permission for hysterectomy. I signed – without even thinking I signed. I was feeling weaker by the minute, I knew if I didn’t I would die. Without my permission, they wouldn’t be able to proceed.

jess-birth-image
Image: Supplied.

After I signed I was wheeled up to the operating theatre. It was exactly how it looked in the movies, a sea of green, blue and white and lots of big lights. I was put to sleep with the doctor holding my hand.

When I finally came to it was three hours later. I knew immediately what happened but it hadn’t sunk in properly. I was still overwhelmed with my surroundings.

It was 6.30pm, I had lost three whole hours without my newborn and still had no answers.

I remember staring at the clock, and then my midwife appeared. She sat beside me, grabbed my hand and explained everything. We both began to cry. She was just an incredible midwife; very compassionate and honest.

I suffered severe PPH, or primary postpartum hemorrhage. I had lost a total of three litres of blood, my placenta had become stuck and was manually removed. I somehow managed to avoid a hysterectomy.

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I was wheeled back to the room where I was going to stay overnight with Karl. As I came around the corner, I could see Karl standing there with Harrison.

We looked at each other and both broke down. You see while I was going through all this, Karl had to stand there and watch it all unfold. Feeling helpless. Not knowing what was going to happen.

And not only was I a mother to a newborn, but I had three beautiful children waiting at home too. I was needed.

 

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Listening to some led zeppelin ????????????

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My recovery was long. Prior to my haemorrhage, I suffered from low iron. I received blood transfusions, I was in the hospital for days and still to this day my mental recovery is ongoing.

Some days are good, others not so much. I still think about the events of December 26th almost every day, but I’m thankful I’m still here. I appreciate the little things more than ever.

PPH happens in 5-15% of births. PPH is a loss of 500ml or more. Severe PPH is a loss of over 1000ml.

I’m not telling my story for sympathy, and I’m not telling my story for attention. I’m telling my story because birth trauma is real and isn’t spoken about enough. It’s something that affects so many women every single day.

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Many feel it’s insignificant so they don’t speak about it. But this is me telling you that’s it’s okay to speak up. To have a voice. This is me telling you that your mental health is important. This is me telling you that you are not alone.

 

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Harrison is about to celebrate his 1st birthday - my beautiful Boxing Day baby! And although the day will be filled with joy and laughter, I also know that it will be an emotional day full of reflection. I’m just glad I’m here for it.

Jessica is a relatable mother of four, full time stay at home parent and writer. She’s quirky, outspoken and her signature look is a mum bun and a pair of her husband's tracksuit pants. No topic is off the table. If she lives it, she writes it. 

Some of this content originally appeared on Instagram. It has been republished here with full permission. To read more from Jessica, follow her @houseofhoods_.

Feature image: Supplied.

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