A little-known reason why blood is required for hospital blood banks is complications during pregnancy, at childbirth, or post-delivery, leading to significant blood loss. Severe bleeding is one of the top five causes of pregnancy-related deaths1 in the United States.
One Mother’s Story
In 2007, Amy Prideaux’s future was uncertain as her pregnancy with twins became life threatening. At 30 weeks, Prideaux was rushed to a local hospital with a dangerous pregnancy complication called placenta previa, in which the placenta is in a position to obscure the cervical opening. In addition, Prideaux had placenta accreta, which meant her placenta had grown too deeply into her uterus. In Prideaux’s case, it was the rarest form of the condition, called placenta percreta, because the placenta was now affecting other organs.
Skilled surgeons performed a cesarean delivery (C-section) of the twins, then immediately turned their focus on Prideaux’s other complicated medical issues.
“My family, including Chris and my parents, were asked several hours into surgery if they wanted to call the chaplain because there was really nothing more they could do to stop the bleeding,” said Amy Prideaux. She said the circumstances were terrifying for her husband who had grave concern for his wife’s condition and anxiety about what it meant for the family’s two other daughters.
Prideaux endured a seven-hour surgery, receiving 50 units of red blood cells and 65 units of other blood products such as platelets and plasma. In addition to the C-section delivery, she had undergone a hysterectomy and partial removal of another organ.
“I was in the ICU for a week and then spent another two weeks in the hospital dealing with a blood clot and ileus. The twins were in the NICU for three months (89 days). I didn’t see them until three days after they were born,” recalled Prideaux.
Amy’s prematurely delivered twin girls also required transfusions – tiny doses of blood carefully monitored for volume overload.
The Blood was Available
Volunteer donors gave blood, plasma and platelets before the Prideauxs’ emergent circumstances ever existed; and the blood on the shelf ensured the capable surgeons had the blood products required for the transfusions to help save the young mother’s life and her preemie daughters’. Blood is essential for complex medical and surgical care; blood donors are essential because blood cannot be manufactured in a lab.
The Future is Much Brighter
In 2021, despite the lingering pandemic that altered all our lives, the Prideauxs agree most days are full of life and love at the their house. Twins Carsen and Lauren – those once-premature girls – are now 13. They have attended in-person school throughout the pandemic at Trinity Christian Academy where they are straight-A students. Both girls are athletes – Carsen’s sport is basketball while Lauren’s is soccer; both played volleyball in the fall. Carsen sings in the choir, while Lauren participates in speech and drama.
“They love school, their friends and all things involving makeup; pretty typical for teenage girls,” said Amy Prideaux. “Our entire family loves the lake and both of the twins have learned how to wakeboard and surf. They are also accomplished snow skiers and I’m finding it hard to keep up with them on the slopes.”
Amy and her husband Chris, are keenly aware of the importance of blood donation. They know the story of their twins’ delivery and Amy’s subsequent surgery could have ended much differently. Thankfully, the highly technical medical interventions, expert doctors and other health professionals, as well as altruistic individuals who donated blood, platelets and plasma, united to create hope and a bright future for the Prideauxs.
In May, the month we celebrate Mother’s Day, keep moms and babies top-of-mind, by donating blood with Carter BloodCare. Make an appointment by calling or texting 800-366-2834 and by visiting carterbloodcare.org. Giving blood is a great way to save lives, give back, and make all moms proud!
By sharing your blood donation story, you help others learn why donating blood is so vital to the health of our community. Tell us your story here.