AFE Survivor Gia
I experienced an amniotic fluid embolism at age 33. I got pregnant with my second child, we were expecting a boy. I remember two years prior to my AFE, my daughter was born after only 16 hours of labor. I remember every moment that lead her into my arms.
On March 30, 2010, I was scheduled for an induction. I was 39 weeks and 2 days and I had been experiencing contractions on and off for a few weeks. My doctor suggested an induction because I was retaining water and I was gaining a lot of weight.
I was feeling exhausted and felt like my huge belly would pop. Ultimately, we agreed with the induction and scheduled to go to the hospital the evening of March 30th. I don’t remember the night clearly; my husband recalls checking in and going into the labor and delivery floor. The nurses began to hook me up to the equipment to monitor the baby and they administered a Pitocin drip. I have no memory of the doctor coming in to my room to rupture my amniotic sac that next morning. She told me later that she struggled with the instrument but my water eventually ruptured and she left the room to allow labor to progress.
Within minutes, I started to feel distressed and wasn’t able to breathe properly, my husband said I coded and he pulled the alarm to call for help. The doctor remembers it was a devastating situation, I had no blood pressure and no pulse and she immediately started to work on resuscitation.
I stopped breathing for 7 minutes and blood flow stopped reaching my unborn child, at some point my doctor decided that she had to perform an emergency C-section right there in that room not equipped for surgery; time was running out and my baby’s heart had stopped beating. My husband refused to leave the room he said he was doing a lot of praying, calling out to God. He was watching his wife’s lifeless body and his baby boy not breathing, ” it felt like my life was about to end right before my eyes”, he later expressed to me.
The medical staff intubated both my son and I since we showed signs of a slight pulse and slow heart rate. The hospital decided to transfer my son, Mateo, to another, better equipped hospital to give him the best care possible.
I was on a ventilator for 3 days and 4 nights when I finally came to; it was Easter Sunday April 4th, 2010 my original due date. When I woke up I was told I experienced an amniotic fluid embolism, they said it was so rare that only 20% of women survive this child birth complication.
I felt confused, I had no idea what happened to me, I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck, I was bruised every inch of my body, I was swollen and in terrible pain.
At this point, I was told that I had bled out my entire blood supply and they had to administer lots and lots of blood products and transfusions, they also said I experienced DIC and kept bleeding. I experienced massive organ failure during the 3 days in a coma and slowly regained function one organ at a time, they called it something more than medical was taking place. They said it was a miracle that spared our lives that day.I met my baby boy 10 days later when he was released from NICU and my family brought him to me at the hospital I was staying at. It was the hardest time of my life to have him taken away at birth and to finally meet him and try to bond with him.
Upon returning home, reality set in the severity of what had happened. I began to experience fear, panic attacks and anxiety. Those early days my brain was not processing accurately and I felt numbness all over my body. I felt devastated to have been told that I died and my son almost died and I had no memory of his birth and I couldn’t find closure.
I struggled for years after my amniotic fluid embolism, my family all resumed their lives and I was left alone picking up my shattered pieces, my whole world came tumbling down on me.
I didn’t know how to process normal day to day activities and couldn’t express myself. My two- year old daughter and newborn son were dependent on me and I failed miserably. I started to feel depressed and my husband began to drink all of the time. He would come home from work and lock himself up in his office and we would not talk; I wanted to know what happened to me, why did it happen to me, he wanted to forget that awful day.
My faith, everything I believed in didn’t make sense anymore. Why did this happen to me, why did God give me a miracle and I couldn’t understand why I was brought back to life to suffer hardship, loss of my house and financial stability, and most important, almost losing my marriage. I knew I had to seek help. I needed to sort through my pain and emotional stability.
Shortly after has I cried out to God, he began a work inside of me and I began to understand that ultimately it worked out all for my good and that his plans for me were for good and not disaster.
I began to attend church and He began to strip the layers and walls from around me so I could see that he loved me so much that I was chosen and that the miracle of resurrection was bestow upon me and my son. I knew I had to seek mental health and medication to help me through the panic attacks.
Life has gotten easier; the children have grown up a bit and I’ve begun to write my thoughts on paper and hope to one day soon write a book. As we get closer to our 9th survival anniversary on March 31st I began to rejoice and celebrate my son’s birthday and my rebirth to life again, “What a miraculous day it is indeed”
I no longer hold on to the pain that I experienced back in 2010. I will forever be grateful to all the people that prayed for me and to my husband for not giving up hope on that horrific day. I had to lose it all, to find myself and to find my true identity in Christ. My AFE story is my miracle story.