Conditions that threaten women’s lives in childbirth & pregnancy

Kerry

Female
Age at interview: 27
Age at diagnosis: 25

Brief outline: Kerry was expecting her third child. She developed bleeding and was diagnosed with placenta praevia. At 28 weeks she started to haemorrhage. Her son was delivered by an emergency caesarian and was transferred to special care.

Background: Kerry is a receptionist. She has three children and lives with her partner. White British.

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This was Kerry’s third pregnancy. She got pregnant with her third child just eight weeks after giving birth to her second. Her children were four, two and 16 months old at the time of the interview. 
 
During her pregnancy, she had some instances of bleeding from 21 weeks. At 28 weeks she was diagnosed with total placenta praevia and told that if she did bleed, she should go to hospital to have it checked out. 
 
At 28 weeks, while in hospital being monitored, she woke up at 4.30 am with blood gushing out of her. She called the midwife and who quickly called the emergency team. She was given an emergency caesarean to deliver the baby. She was awake throughout but has no recollection of her son being born. He was quickly taken to neo-natal intensive care (NICU) where he was very poorly. He stayed in hospital for 11 weeks, and at 16 months (at the time of the interview) was developmentally delayed and had breathing and enzyme difficulties. Kerry described finding bonding with him very difficult.
 
Kerry stayed in hospital for 2 days before going home to her other young children. She was unhappy that she was put in a ward with three other women who had healthy babies with them. Once home, she was not able to follow doctors advice and drove regularly to the hospital and lifted shopping for her family. This extended her recovery considerably. 
 
She developed flash backs, and severe anxiety and post natal depression. Her GP has been very supportive, and she started counseling which she continued for a year. She had regular panic attacks, mostly focused around bleeding to death. Her partner found the hospital experience terrifying, and was left in the recovery room alone, not knowing if his partner was alive or dead. No one came to tell him.
 
The experiences have had a profound effect on her and her children. Her eldest son refused to come and see her in hospital and her youngest, now only two, is very clingy and anxious.
 

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