A woman is saved by blood donations after delivery
Mary and Jerry Gay from Georgia were already the happy parents of three adorable children and they were soon to expect a fourth. When Jerry found out that his wife was going to deliver before the due date while he was still stationed in the Middle East, he knew he had to find a way to be with her.
The pregnancy had started out fine, but in the 30th week doctors noticed an abnormality on the ultrasound. It turned out that Mary was suffering from placenta accreta, a condition in which the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall. Doctors figured the cause was probably the scarring left by the C-sections she had undergone to deliver her other three children.
In cases like these there is a high risk of the placenta getting stuck in the uterus even after the baby has been delivered, which can lead to severe and often fatal bleeding.
So when Jerry got the news that the pregnancy had become complicated, he immediately applied for emergency leave so he could be with his wife.
When the delivery began, doctors prepared for the worst. They made sure to have more than 30 units of blood ready for transfusion. Mary and Jerry were understandably very nervous.
Yet despite all their fears, the C-section went smoothly and Mary's blood loss was minimal. The surgeons were relieved. The baby was premature and required a respirator, but otherwise it was in good health.
At last Jerry and Mary could breathe a sigh of relief. Jerry remembers: "At that point I'm ecstatic because this is a best case scenario."
But unfortunately the situation took a turn for the worse. It turned out Mary wasn't out of the woods just yet.
When she woke up from the anesthesia, she was in severe pain. She began to bleed profusely and was whisked back into an operating room for emergency surgery.
Jerry waited, pacing nervously up and down the hallway. When 90 minutes went by and he hadn't heard anything, he began to fear the worst. "It was the longest hour and a half of my life," he recalled.
In the operating room, Mary was fighting for her life. Doctors had the difficult task of stopping the bleeding while at the same time removing the damaged part of her uterus. It was a tricky procedure that required incredible skill.
As the operation continued, the units of blood that had not been necessary for the C-section were now vital. Mary was given all 30 units just to keep her alive. Thankfully Mary survived the operation, but she would need a long time to recover.
In the recovery ward, Mary was joined by her husband. She needed a respirator to help her breathe, but she was conscious and knew that the father of her children was at her side.
It was a harrowing experience — from textbook pregnancy to complications, a successful C-section, to a life-saving emergency operation. Mary and her family had been through a lot and were finally safely on the other side.
Friends and family were shaken by Mary's experience and asked what they could do to help. Mary's simple and selfless answer: "Just go donate blood."
It's a story that is both beautiful and tragic at the same time. Thanks to many anonymous blood donors, Mary survived an ordeal that could have easily taken her life. It's an important lesson about the importance of donating blood, so donate if and when you can.