Birth Story: ‘I developed a life-threatening pregnancy complication’

Posted in Birth Stories.

A newborn baby wears a pink beanie

After being together for 10 years, Mandy and Ben decided the time was right to have a baby and they were lucky enough to fall pregnant quickly.

Aside from a bit of morning sickness in the first trimester, Mandy’s pregnancy was about as easy as they come – right up until she reached 38 weeks, when everything went downhill fast.

It was touch and go as doctors rushed to save both her and her unborn baby, when it was discovered she had developed a severe type of preeclampsia called Hellp Syndrome, a serious complication that affects the blood and liver during pregnancy.

Pregnant women selfie in 2nd trimester vs 3rd trimester

I tried to ignore the pain

“I went from being completely fine at 5pm Sunday afternoon to excruciating pain on my upper right side and vomiting at 6pm. Being that it was my first baby, I initially thought I was in labour and tried to ignore the pain, eventually, I called the hospital at 11:59pm who told me to come in ASAP,” shares Mandy, a member of the Mum’s Grapevine Winter 2021 due date group.

“I got to the hospital’s private emergency where they were adamant I was in labour from gastro, it took them roughly 30-60 mins to realise that wasn’t it and took me up to the maternity ward where things escalated very fast.

“The doctors realised pretty quickly that the pain was due to liver failure caused by undiagnosed HELLP syndrome. I was wheeled up to the maternity ward and from there, a MET call was made and I had doctors grabbing all my limbs trying to get a drip into me, eventually, they got one in and the OB told me they had to get my baby out NOW.

“To say I was shocked and upset is an understatement, a c-section was something I really didn’t want initially.”

An ultrasound photo of baby

‘I lost over 1.8 litres of blood’

With no time to get her head around what was happening, Mandy was quickly wheeled into the theatre where her baby girl was delivered by emergency caesarean. Thankfully, despite the chaos, she says it was a positive experience.

“I remember feeling overwhelmed but surprised at how peaceful the c-section was. I had an amazing nurse taking photos for me. Sadie was born at 2:57am on 02.08.2021 at 38+2 weeks gestation.

“So, after the emergency c-section, I was wheeled into recovery where things escalated again pretty quickly. The nurse monitoring me found that I had clots bigger than cricket balls coming out of me, called the obstetrician and they rushed me back into theatre and found I haemorrhaged and had lost over 1.8L of blood. I had to have a balloon placed into my uterus to stop me from bleeding out as my blood pressure was too high to do anything else.

Mandy in a hospital bed reaches out to newborn in crib

Baby Sadie

A family photo

“Two blood transfusions and an iron transfusion later and one week of being in hospital.

“All of this happened while my husband was stuck overseas during Covid. He didn’t meet our daughter until she was three weeks old.”

Mandy is now 38 weeks pregnant with baby #2, a boy, and is hopeful her next birthing experience will be a lot easier than her last! We wish her all the best in the coming weeks!

Heart with bandaid

Support Services

If you are experiencing or recovering from Preeclampsia or HELLP there are plenty of support services available for you including …

More birth stories from the Grapeviner community…

About to (or just had) a baby?

We know that the wait to meet your baby can be nerve-wracking, but we’re here to remind you that you’re not alone. Our private Pregnancy & Baby Groups are a great way to connect with other Aussie mums who are due or had their babies around the same time as you.

Got your own birth story you’re itching to tell? We’re always on the lookout for new stories to feature. Submit your birth story.

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