Where it all began…..
On the morning of 18th May 2009, I awoke in the Intensive Care Unit in our local hospital. I could not feel my body from the chest down, had no recollection of the previous 12 hours and laying next to me on either side of my bed, were people on life support machines. I remember a man coming to my bed and I asked him why I was finding it so hard to swallow? He said, ‘oh that will be from the intubation, the tube to help you breathe during the operation.’ Operation? What operation? I said I was confused and he sent for somebody to come to me.
Moments later, the consultant was holding my hand, explaining he’d already been previously to explain what had happened but I was obviously not fully conscious and had forgotten. The moments that happened then, and the words I heard will never leave me; ‘You were losing a lot of blood, we had to do the operation, you do understand why we had to remove your womb don’t you….it was the only way to stop the bleeding, I’m so sorry…..’
‘Stop! Stop it! What are you saying? I don’t understand, go away you’re lying, I’m in a nightmare, I want to wake up. No No….’ It was all too much, what on earth was he saying, they had to remove my womb? WHAT?! where was I, I just could not understand at all!
‘I’ll get your husband.’
I’ll never forget my husbands face as he came from around the curtain; exhaustion, relief, deep sadness…. I needed him to explain everything, what was going on?
I had gone to the hospital the day before, in labour with our 3rd child. After some time in the birthing pool, it was becoming apparent that things were not progressing as they should. I was taken out of the pool and examined on the bed by a consultant. He left the room and returned soon after with a form I had to sign, while he very quickly went through the risks involved in an emergency c-section, blood loss, blood transfusions, death….. Our baby was showing distress and was facing the wrong way in the birth canal and they needed to get him out quickly. From being relaxed in the birthing pool, the atmosphere changed quickly into one of confusion and urgency. I scribbled my signature on the form, and the next thing I knew I was being wheeled down the corridor to the operating theatre.
The emergency c-section happened really quickly. It seemed almost immediately that our son was born, I was looking to my right to see my husbands happy face, holding our new son and my feeling of utter relief and happiness to see everything was ok!
Moments later, the atmosphere in the theatre changed. A nurse came to me and held my hand and told me they were going to put me to sleep.
And that was it. Darkness. Numbness. Nothing…..
My husband watched the drama unfold. Several new medical staff entered the room, lots of instructions, questions, an air of controlled panic….. I had one moment been smiling up at him and now lay motionless on the bed……He looked further down my body and all he could see was blood. So much blood which just seemed to be everywhere, on the floor, the bed, the sheets…… ‘What’s going on’ he asked, ‘what’s wrong’, ‘is she going to be ok?’. We don’t know said the nurse, we don’t know…..’
My uterine artery had hemorrhaged. The main artery with highly increased blood flow during labour. The blood loss was high and fast. It wasn’t clear that this was the cause of my blood loss initially. My uterus was not retracting and it wasn’t clear where the problem was coming from.
The consultant agreed, in order to save my life, stop the bleeding, the only option was to perform a hysterectomy. After removing the womb, it was clear to see the reason for the bleeding was actually the hemorrhage of the uterine artery. Speaking to her months after the operation, the consultant said she knew the enormity of the fact she was making a decision that would mean I could never have any more children. But she had no choice. Many women have died from this same complication. In some countries, hemorrhage and blood loss is one of the biggest reasons for mortality during childbirth.
I was 32yrs old. I had had 2 normal deliveries with our first 2 boys and had no reason to think my 3rd labour would be anything but straightforward…..
I left the hospital after 10 days and the time which followed was difficult. The first 6 weeks were spent in bed healng whilst nursing a new born. I had counseling to process the event; age 32 and I could never give birth to another child, near-fatal blood hemorrhage, anxiety and panic attacks. My hormones were affected by the hysterectomy and my gut microbiome and digestive health suffered and I developed food intolerances and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
I was 35. In just 3 years I felt like my body and world had completely turned upside down.
Many visits to the doctors and the hospital for tests gave little insight on how to resolve my digestive problems so I began reading a lot about nutrition. I had a food intolerance test and omitted foods which I was reacting to. I took probiotics and supplements I was deficient in and after only a short time I could feel the improvement. In fact, I felt amazing for the first time in years. I had boundless energy, felt really happy and positive which I know was due to my food choices, daily meditation and relaxation practice and the incredible support I had received from my husband throughout the whole experience.
Although the whole experience was very sad, the journey ultimately gave me so much strength and a wider perspective and appreciation for life. I decided to set up an Instagram account and blog to share my recipes. I’ve always had an interest in health and fitness but if it were not for my life-changing experience, I’m not sure it would have grown to this level where I find myself now.
I give special thanks to my husband for being by my side in my darkest moments and for never, ever failing me – I could not have got through this without you. And my 3 boys who are my absolute world and for whom I strive to live a long, healthy and happy life. A special thank you to all the hospital staff who saved my life that night and helped me recover whilst in hospital.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoy visiting my website 🙂