When you’re at a hospital to give birth, many different things cross your mind about the whole experience. You start to ask questions about how you and your little one will cope, and if you’re not a first-time mom, you may even question how different this birthing experience would be from the previous one.
These are normal reactions to such a life-changing moment. For c-section moms, you’re about to undergo major surgery to birth your new bundle of joy, and it’s only normal that you have a lot of thoughts running through your mind as you go through it.
For one woman, she was completely relaxed when she traveled to the hospital at 36 weeks for an emergency c-section. As a mother of 7, she already knew what to expect, and how the whole process would play out.
Ella Clarke had her first child at 18. It was an unpleasant birthing experience, and what she had gone through made her opt to undergo c-sections in her succeeding pregnancies. By the time she was about to give birth to her 8th, she already considered herself a “pro.”
However, unlike her previous elective c-sections, the seventh one was for medical reasons. She was diagnosed with placenta previa, a condition where the placenta partially covers the cervix, which meant a c-section was imminent.
When she was in the operating room, Clarke recalls telling her husband Ian how excited she was. They had been dreaming of going on a holiday vacation together, and it was all about to happen really soon. It took doctors 45 minutes to birth her daughter Winter Rose. She came out weighing 6 pounds and 5 ounces and was given to her mom for some skin-to-skin contact.
Clarke realized things weren’t going well when she was only able to have her daughter beside her for less than a minute. Right after, she heard something that sounded like a big bucket of water dropping on the floor, and the doctors immediately placed a mask over her mouth to put her to sleep.
That was Clarke’s final memory before waking up from her induced coma five days later. She was in complete shock when they began to walk her through what had happened. Little did Clarke know, the gush she heard was actually blood she lost. She went through a complication commonly found in women who had undergone consecutive c-sections in the past called placenta accreta.
After discovering this, doctors did an emergency blood transfusion on Clarke to save her. They also performed a hysterectomy, hoping it would somehow stop the bleeding.
After the surgery, Clarke was placed in an induced coma where she was monitored by doctors in the intensive care unit. She was monitored every hour as placenta accreta was a condition known for causing blood clots.
However, Clarke insisted it took doctors six hours to check on her. By that time, she no longer had blood circulating in her legs.
She was immediately rushed to the operating room where doctors tried to get the circulation going again. Unfortunately, it was too late – doctors needed to find away to stop poisonous toxins from spreading from her legs to the rest of her body.
The doctors decided to act quickly by seeking permission to amputate her legs. They informed Ian of their decision, and he agreed for as long as it meant saving his wife’s life.
The amputation took eight hours, and Clarke remained asleep for a couple of days until she finally woke up. When she did, she thought she was still waking up from her c-section, and that it was time to finally hold her baby girl.
Instead, doctors revealed the whole story and it devastated her. Realizing the gravity of the situation, she said:
“I went from being an active mom to instantly wheelchair bound. I couldn’t stop crying.”
t not only affected her but her older children as well. One of her children refused to look at her without a blanket on because she was frightened, and her eldest daughter also began to perform poorly at school. Her entire family dynamic changed, as she could no longer do normal activities with her children like she would before. She could no longer run after her kids, play with them at the park, and care for them like she used to.
The hospital she was in issued an apology for what had happened to her, but the apology could no longer change Clarke’s fate. The hospital’s oversight changed the course of her life forever, and that’s something she and her family would have to deal with for the rest of their lives.