· By Tiny Hearts Education
Hi Tiny Hearts, my name is Natasha Gildea, and my husband, Ryan, is a fireman who worked for tiny hearts a few years ago. We had our third baby this year, which nearly took my life through human error during a c-section.
I thought I’d submit my unconventional story and hope other women and their husbands never have to go through the same thing. I was lucky enough to have three very uncomplicated and easy pregnancies. For our third baby, my 20-week ultrasound showed I had placenta previa, which is a low-lying placenta covering the cervix. The plan was to scan again at 32 and 36 weeks which showed my placenta had not moved up - which it usually does. A plan was made to have an elective c-section. After having two vaginal births, I had no idea what to expect in a c-section. But I was on board as I knew the complications of trying to give birth vaginally having placenta previa.
I was booked in for my c-section at 38.5 weeks on a Friday - April 1st. It was surreal driving to the hospital, not in labour, to have a baby. It seemed to be a much calmer experience than my previous births. It also meant my two older children, Yazmin (4) and Bobby (2), could be organised. I knew they were happy and cared for as my family were able to fly over from New Zealand. I was the first caesarean of the morning at 7am. It felt so strange going in and laying down on the table to have a baby. George was born at 9.05am. They gave me an estimated blood loss of 600ml, which they were not concerned about as 500ml is considered standard. I was stitched up and wheeled into recovery. After an hour in recovery, I was taken to the maternity ward. Shortly after, a MET call was made as I felt very faint and passed out.
The next thing I knew, I was in so much pain, and another MET call was made. I don’t remember much of what happened next. I think I have blocked most of it out. But, over the course of a few hours, two more MET calls were made. On the final and 4th MET call, they established my haemoglobin was at 49 (normal is over 100), and I had gone into tachycardia (fast heart rate). I likely had a bleed as my kidneys had shut down. There was no output despite all the fluids they had given me. I was rushed down for a CT scan and found that during the c-section, my left uterine artery had been ruptured. This had been missed for hours.
An interventional radiologist was called, and he went in through my femoral artery and put a coil into the artery that had been ruptured to stop the bleeding. I was taken back to ICU, but within 24 hours, they realised my haemoglobin levels were not rising. So they had to go back through my femoral artery once more to glue the surrounding vessels. I stayed in ICU for three nights and 4 days and received 6 blood transfusions. I remember nothing of George’s first days and missed out on changing his first nappies or doing any skin-to-skin time. I wasn’t able to breastfeed due to the amount of blood loss and the heavy medications for pain relief I was taking. My husband, being in the line of work he’s in, knew the signs of an internal bleed and also shock; although he expressed his concerns on the first MET call, they were dismissed.
Everyone should know the risks associated with a c-section, including an internal bleed. The pain was consuming. Before the surgery, they advised there was a possibility of another organ of mine being nicked or a possibility of the baby being cut or a bleed but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I could have nearly died. I am still recovering physically and still have bruising from where the bleeding pooled in my abdomen. Although my experience was extremely unfortunate and traumatic, I have my lovely healthy boy, and I am here. And for that, I am extremely grateful.
Birth & newborn course
The Bump, Birth & Beyond course will educate you and your co-pilot (support person) on what to expect during pregnancy, birth and the first trimester with your new little love.