I have written a series of posts about a recent trauma I went through experiencing secondary postpartum haemorrhage.
I find writing helps me to make sense of my feelings and hope it can help anybody going through something similar.
It was Wednesday 28th March and I was three and a half weeks postpartum and experiencing a pretty good recovery. I felt very lucky that my recovery seemed to be much quicker than after the birth of my first baby which had been quite traumatic.
It was also the first night that my Husband was staying away in London for work since our little girl, Ava had been born.
I was slightly nervous at solo parenting two young children so I’d asked my Mum to stay over for some moral support.
It had been a normal kind of Wednesday. My three year old son, Thomas is off nursery on Wednesdays and my sister in law had been to visit us for a couple of hours for lunch and a catch up.
My Mum arrived at around 4pm and I took advantage of being able to escape for a quick walk and some fresh air at around 6pm.
About five minutes into my walk I felt a little wet down below and at the top back of my knickers. I thought it was odd as my lochia (postpartum blood flow) had been tailing off, as it was supposed to.
I had noticed earlier that my blood flow seemed a little heavier today but I’d read it can increase if you’re over doing it so put it down to that.
As discreetly as I could, I checked my leggings and could feel wet, I checked my fingertips and they were tinged with blood.
Now I felt I little panic rise in my throat, this wasn’t normal. I debated whether I was overreacting and if I should carry on with my walk, I’d been dying to get out for some exercise all day. My gut feeling told me to turn around and go back home to check how heavy the bleed was.
I called my Husband, Steven on the way back and told him I was freaking out a little about my increased blood loss. Always the voice of reason to my fretful mind, he assured me it was probably nothing to worry about and could maybe be my first proper period.
When I arrived home, I quickly sorted the children out and dashed up to the bathroom to check. My sanitary pad was soaked with thick red blood and I started to panic a bit. I sat on the toilet and wiped myself and found blood clots and more heavy red blood. The first thing that sprung to my mind was, postpartum haemorrhage.
I had been aware of the risks and signs of postpartum haemorrhage, especially as I’d experienced a heavy bleed with my first baby, although it was pre birth rather than post. I knew I was at higher risk of bleeding again but honestly three and a half weeks after delivery, I had thought I was out of the danger zone.
After calling my community midwife and the maternity hospital triage without success, I decided to call an ambulance. I knew that a haemorrhage was a medical emergency.
The operator kept me on the phone until the paramedics arrived and they were great. They assessed me upstairs and all of a sudden it was like the floodgates opened and I began to gush heavily.
A towel I was sat on was saturated with thick red blood and just after the paramedics laid down pads on the floor, huge clots started to fall out, they were the size of a slice of bread. I was in shock and thought it was placenta at first, the paramedics told me my blood was trying to clot to stop the bleed.
I was blue lighted to hospital in the ambulance and to my relief they took me back to St Mary’s Maternity Hospital where I’d delivered both babies, who I knew were brilliant.
My Mum came with me and I knew Steven was trying to get the next train back from London to be with me. My wonderful in-laws dashed straight over to look after the children.
We arrived at St Mary’s Triage Unit whilst I was given a quick assessment. As soon as the midwife saw the volume of blood I was losing, she admitted me straight to the HDU – High Dependency Unit.
This is where the drama and the horror would begin to unfold…