When Hannah Gregory went into labor four weeks early, doctors were concerned about the baby. But it was after baby Ben was born that the real battle for life began when Hannah lost 32 pints of blood and had to be resuscitated twice. Defying doctor’s predictions though Hannah made it through the crisis and was finally able to hold her baby.
After going into labour at 36 weeks, Hannah was rushed to the hospital from home at 3:00 am in the morning. Two hours later she delivered a healthy baby Ben but all was not right with Hannah.
Doctors at Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, East Sussex found she was bleeding heavily because blood vessels from the placenta had grown into the adjoining organs. They put her under general anaesthetic and performed a hysterectomy to remove the uterus.
‘The placenta had multiple supplies of blood going into it so when they took it out it just hemorrhaged blood. If Ben had come later than he did I would have had my bladder and bowel taken out,” said Hannah.
In just a half an hour she had lost 32 pints of blood and had been given four times the amount of blood in a normal person.
“As quickly as they were putting the blood into me it was coming out. I lost 32 pints in about half an hour. All my blood cells started failing and I crashed. I had to be resuscitated twice,” recalls Hannah. “My body was so out of balance which made my heart go completely erratic. They had to put me on life support afterwards and I was on it for 36 hours.”
It was a terrifying situation for her husband Sean.
“They told me about the hysterectomy then the next thing I hear is that she isn’t going to make it,” he said. ‘I couldn’t believe I was going to lose my wife. It all seems so surreal now.’It is a miracle she made it. She had so much blood going into her but no clotting agent – it was a vicious circle which the doctors just couldn’t stop.’
He could not believe he was looking at the prospect of raising Ben and their three year old daughter Eleanor all by himself.
But Hannah made it through thanks to the doctors’ efforts.They bandaged her from inside. Mini swabs were pumped through her veins to put pressure on the blood vessels, and plasma was added to aid clotting.
She was under observation for three days and was finally reunited with Ben who was in the special care nursery.
‘I wasn’t going anywhere – I had a husband and baby to look after. I had been through so much but holding Ben made it all worthwhile. Seeing him for the first time was the happiest moment of my life,” she said.
Having fought a life and death battle, Hannah is now thankful to the 32 people whose donated blood she was given to save her life.
‘(Ben) is a perfectly healthy little boy now, and I am a healthy woman. I had no idea that it was possible to be given that much blood. I have 32 people who I really need to thank. If they hadn’t donated their blood when they did, there might not have been enough available and my children would be without a mother. I would encourage anyone to give blood. It saved my life.’
The new mother is finally enjoying some mommy time with her baby boy now.
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