AFE Survivor Cynthia

My name is Cynthia from Melborne Australia. I was a 31 year old mother of 2 beautiful boys aged 4 and 5 and pregnant with our 3rd. On the 31st of May 2016 I was very unfortunate to have had an AFE myself! We had a pretty rough pregnancy, the last few months of the pregnancy we were told that she was too little and in a breech position. I thought that the best decision at the time was to get our baby turned, so I could have a vaginal birth and try to avoid having a cesarean as I had only had vaginal births before and was scared to have a cesarean. D-day… we went to hospital to have an “ECV” a fancy abbreviation to get our daughter turned. We were told there will be no complications from this.

As I had the procedure done, my Fallopian tube was torn causing the Amniotic fluid to enter my blood stream causing a cascade of catastrophic events. I had a seizure then fell into a coma and to top it off, I then had a cardiac arrest! Whilst I was being given CPR I had a perimortem cesarean. (they cut our daughter out whilst I was was dead). This led to me remaining in a coma for a day with severe bleeding internally. In the first 17hrs I had three operations. I had 14 full blood transfusions and 30 bags of other blood products pumped into my body to keep me alive. I had a lacerated liver possibly due to the CPR and I was on life support for a few days. I was in ICU for about a week and stayed in the hospital for a further few more days to a week. I was told I had suffered an Amniotic fluid embolism. I had 62 staples down the centre of my abdomen where I was cut open to see where the bleeding was coming from. At the time of the AFE our daughter Alicia entered the world with her own complications and things didn’t look so good for her. She was transferred to another hospital.She was also on life support and in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She stayed in ICU for two weeks. In those two weeks doctors had tried to take her off life support 3 times! I was extremely lucky that I had gone on day leave from the hospital I was at to visit our little girl. I was able to witness her coming off life support. I was not able to be there for our little girl the previous times. She is the strongest little girl ever, and we are so proud she is ours. She has 2 amazing brothers that adore her.
I have been told that I am the only person in the world to have had an AFE during an ECV.

I have very little memory of being in hospital. I didn’t get to meet my daughter for a week and a half. To this day have very little memory of meeting her for the very first time. I now rely on photos that my husband took. I will forever cherish those photos. I can not remember the 1st time I got to see my beautiful boys post my AFE. I think one of the hardest parts about my AFE is having no memory. Not being able to be their for my daughter at a time where she needed her mum the most. Not knowing if I had given my boys a kiss goodbye and that I told them I loved them before I went for the procedure. Or telling my amazing husband how much I cherish and loved him.

Having an AFE is something I will never forget. Every time I look in the mirror I have a constant reminder due to the massive scar down my stomach. I do believe I have come such a long way in 9 and a half months, but it is definitely something that is going to make me stronger and live every day to the fullest. Yes some days are hard and I cry and then there are others where I think AFE will not defeat me or my amazing family.