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Birth Stories

Unexplained Blood Clots – Chantelle’s Story

blood clots chantelle

Trigger Warning: This birth story involves birth related PTSD, emergency caesarean and unexplained blood clots. if you are triggered by these topics you may wish to skip this blog or read it once you have support available. If you are seeking support for your birth trauma, you may wish to contact our Peer Support Service.

Last year in January 2019 I found out I was pregnant with my third child. Quite a shock considering I already had two beautiful son’s ages 8 and 10.

I spent most of my 20’s in and out of hospital getting multiple surgeries for PCOS and Endometriosis. I was told I would never have children.

My first pregnancy was ectopic and my second was a long road to conceive due to the long cycles caused by the PCOS.

My first son was born after what my own Doctor describes as the worst pregnancy he had ever treated. Diagnosed with hyperemisis at 9 weeks, emergency surgery for acute appendicitis at 10 weeks and Listeria poisoning at 33 weeks, which required medication to be flown in from another state.

I was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted when I gave birth vaginally but the scarring of the episiotomy wasn’t something I was prepared for.

An uneventful second pregnancy and birth also resulted in the episiotomy site being re-cut and my husband stopped counting the stitches as he said the sounds were horrendous.

Fast forward to September 2019 and my third pregnancy. At 34 weeks I started having bleeding, passing big clots once a week. Each time I would have to go into hospital and be checked and sent home with no explanation of why or where the bleeding was coming from.

On September 11 last year I woke up to more bleeding and passed the biggest clot yet. I messaged my husband from the hospital at 6am and told him that I would be back in time to take the kids to school.

I was told that the bleeding was too unpredictable and I would be having my baby that day. I was induced with the gel twice over a 12 hour period and then just after 9pm that night, the midwife attempted to break my waters.

On the second or third attempt she walked out the room to call my OB. I told my husband to get her back in and I sighed in relief as I felt the trickle of fluid down my legs. My husband looked down and told me it’s not water, it’s blood.

What happened in those next 30 minutes will ultimately change my life forever.

Suddenly the room was full of people. I’m signing forms as nurses dress me for surgery. I can’t feel my baby.

I asked everyone if I am going to die. I see my husband’s face frozen in terror with tears in his eyes, as I ask him to look after our children and tell them I love them.

I beg the doctors not to put me asleep. I beg them to find the baby’s heartbeat before they perform the emergency c-section.

I go numb and something inside me checks out. I am not prepared for seeing the entire operation reflected in the mirror.

After the baby is born perfectly healthy, my husband and my son leave the room whilst doctors turn their efforts to finding the source of the bleeding. My OB pushes down on my stomach and a blood clot the size of the baby’s head is pulled out.

As I am getting stitched I am told that they can’t find any reasoning or where the bleeding came from.

I am wheeled back to my room at 2am. Everything from this point on can only be described as a completely terrifying haze of panic, uncontrollable fear and manic behaviour that plunged myself and my family into the horror of Post Natal Depression and Anxiety and severe insomnia.

The traumatic events of my first pregnancy and subsequent PTSD made me strong and I healed myself. I had suffered trauma before and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t fix this trauma as well. I spent days awake, my central nervous system always on edge. My heart rate was constantly through the roof.

I didn’t want anyone near the baby. I couldn’t eat and worst of all I felt like I was supposed to die that night my baby was born.

My bond with my baby felt like it was being kept in a locked cupboard I couldn’t open.

Being undiagnosed for the first three months was absolutely devastating. By the time I ended up where I needed to be, I was so far gone that a year later I am still recovering from the psychological trauma and the huge toll it took on my mental health.

I always ask myself, how can 30 minutes change my entire system? Trauma changes you in ways you can not describe. Something happens to you when you think you are going to die. Something happens to you when you lose litres of blood and you feel the life draining out of you.

Quite literally it shook me to my core. I will carry this trauma and past trauma for the rest of my life. It doesn’t define me, but it does scar me however I won’t let it take away the love I have for life.

As women and as mother we need to come together and share our stories to raise awareness of the devastating impacts birth trauma can have.

If you would like to connect with a mum who has experienced birth trauma, please contact our Peer2Peer Support service to connect with one of our Peer Mentors.

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