AFE Survivor Emily S.

I was one week overdue with my second pregnancy. I was hoping to have a VBAC after having an emergency c-section with my first after developing pre-eclampsia and subsequent HELLP syndrome. My pregnancy was going well and I had started having contractions and leaking fluid. A test confirmed I had ruptured my amniotic fluid and the induction with pitocin was started at 3pm. I labored all night. At about 9am the following day, I developed a sudden onset of some alarming symptoms. I suddenly felt short of breath, coughed with every sentence I spoke, felt nauseous, and was seeing stars. After calling in the nurse and doctor, my heart rate went rapid while my baby’s dropped. I was taken immediately for emergency c-section, and they safely got my son out in a matter of minutes. As I lay there on the OR table, I remember my doctor saying “what is that?” and that was when I went into DIC. I was bleeding profusely and they did multiple interventions to try to control the bleeding. I was in a holding room for an hour but I continued to bleed so I was taken back to the OR for a hysterectomy. I woke up feeling like I was drowning as I was in pulmonary edema. I required bi-pap and was transferred to the ICU. After ultrasounds and tests to determine a diagnosis, I was transferred to another hospital with specialists. It was confirmed 4 days after the event that I had an AFE. I hadn’t heard of AFE before, even being a nurse, so I had to research it. After reading about the severity of it, I felt that I lived through something I shouldn’t have. At the time, the medical providers don’t disclose how severe it is in order to not worry you. I spent 12 days in the hospital awaiting return of my kidney function as they had shut down.

After getting home, I read my doctors transfer records and broke down realizing how close to death both me and my son had come. I felt overwhelmed yet so grateful to be home recovering with my healthy and beautiful son. Our family and friends came to support us in every way possible which helped our recovery process tremendously. We didn’t personally cook a meal for weeks ad we didn’t have to worry about any baby items like diapers or clothes. My daughter was taken with friends and family the first week home so I could rest with the baby. Everyone was praying for us and that prayer carried us through. I am fully recovered and feel better than ever although it took a long time to get there. Our support system helped us get through this entire event. Without them, we would have struggled. Now we live our lives to the fullest and do what we can to make a difference in others lives.