AFE SURVIVOR KATIE

It was Sunday, July 22, 2018 and I was 40.2 weeks and admitted to begin what was expected to be a typical process to induce labor. The next morning, I received an epidural and all was going well. At 5 cm I began to feel nauseated, which of itself is not usually a red flag. I was also re-positioning my body every several minutes to help the process along. In one of the moves to re-position onto my side, I suddenly felt immense pressure in my abdomen and struggled to get a breath. The nurses by my side were attentive and kept a close watch on vitals of both my baby and me. After several seconds of having difficulty breathing, the nurse called for backup and was in the process of setting up an oxygen mask. Three additional nurses came to assist when my vitals began to drop and my baby’s heart rate dropped down into the 50’s. In what seemed like only seconds, my doctor arrived and called for an emergency C-section. 

During the C-section I was experiencing excessive internal bleeding and the operating staff administered several different IV medications to try to stop the bleeding. My body responded to the medications and the bleeding finally lessened, and they were able to close the incision. Despite the issue with bleeding, at this time everything appeared to be going normal and the OR support staff began to clean and prepare me for recovery. While cleaning and prepping me to go to recovery, one of the nurses noticed my fundus was sitting too high to have already delivered. She began to press on my abdomen, and quickly realized I was still having internal bleeding given a gush of blood left me and fell onto the OR floor. The staff called for emergency assistance, and my doctor quickly returned to the operating room. I was intubated and my doctor performed an emergency hysterectomy due to a condition called DIC. During this time, my vitals dropped so low that an arterial line was inserted into my wrist to monitor my blood pressure and draw blood. During the surgery, I received six units of blood, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate. Fortunately, after surgery when my vitals improved I was able to be extubated. Once stable, I was taken to the ICU where I spent the night and all of the next day. I received two more units of blood that day. Around 5:30 pm I was taken to the birthing suites to be reunited with my family and I was able to hold my baby for the very first time!!! After 3 days in the birthing suite to allow for recovery, we were able to all go home as a family.

We are very fortunate to have such loving and supportive family and friends. Once at home, we received tremendous support from family and friends through prayers, messages, calls, cards, and meals. Our family also helped by staying day and night through the first couple of months, which has helped us to get where we are today. When experiencing such a traumatic event, it definitely weighs heavy on your mind and heart. I suffered from PPD and PTSD, quite significantly. I reached a point where I had to get help. Trying to be wife, mom and take care of me was not easy, but it was a decision that I had to make for myself and my family. With lots of praying myself and from those around me, counseling from the women’s ministry at my church, and medication, I am slowly healing mentally and emotionally. It is something that I will never forget nor be able to stop thinking about but, hopefully with time it will become less distracting. I know without a doubt I am here today first and foremost because of the protection and grace from my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, but also due to the quick reaction from my L & D nurse and all the nurses, doctors, and blood donors!