A mother has told how she and her newborn baby are lucky to be alive after her womb ruptured during a routine pregnancy appointment.
Samantha Stacey and her unborn child were just minutes from death after her womb tore apart as she received an iron infusion at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The rare complication – which affects only two in 10,000 pregnancies in the UK – caused 29-year-old Miss Stacey severe internal bleeding and her baby stopped breathing.
Doctors said if she had not been at hospital at the time it happened, she and her baby would almost certainly have died.
Miss Stacey, who came home from hospital with baby Ruby a fortnight ago, said: “They said it was touch and go for a while. I was told I was very, very lucky and that God must have been watching me.
“The midwives, consultants and staff were just amazing. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here today.”
The 29-year-old, of North Lynn, was 37 weeks pregnant with her third child when she went to hospital to have routine treatment for her iron deficiency last month.
Whilst she was there she started to feel dizzy and sick, and started to sweat and feel pain in her tummy.
“The midwife felt my tummy to see if it had gone hard, and looking at the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor, it looked like it might have been a contraction,” said Miss Stacey.
But then the pain didn’t stop, and the baby’s heart rate suddenly plummeted.
Miss Stacey said: “I was delirious and sweating heavily. They took one look at me and said to get me to the delivery suite. A consultant met us there, he felt my tummy and I went straight to theatre.
“The pain was like nothing I could have imagined. It took my breath away, and I couldn’t speak or move. It just took over. I have never been in a situation where I thought to myself ‘this is it, this is life and death’. It was scary.
“I didn’t know what was happening, but I remember saying as they were putting me to sleep ‘just make sure my baby is OK’.”
Miss Stacey came round two hours later, with her partner Kevin Bocking, 37, by her side. She had lost more than five pints and blood, and Ruby, who had to be resuscitated at birth, was in the special care baby unit.
Miss Stacey, who had a caesarean section with her second child Archie, aged 15 months, was told her womb had ruptured.
The rare complication, where the womb wall tears open, occurs most often along a scar from a previous caesarean section, but Miss Stacey’s had torn elsewhere, making its occurrence even rarer.
She said if she didn’t have access to the QEH, which has been placed into special measures to fix failings in patient care, then she and Ruby would not be alive.
She said: “The hospital in West Sussex closed its A&E department and maternity unit because it was in special measures. If that had happened here, my nearest hospital would have been the Norfolk and Norwich. I never would have made it.
“It upsets me when I hear people saying they are not going to have their baby here, and are planning on driving to hospitals in Cambridge or Norwich. They have no idea how good the midwives and staff are here. They are amazing and fantastic at their job, and have all gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
Samantha, who also lives with daughter Chloe, seven, and Kevin’s daughter Elle, 15, said the care continued during Ruby’s week-long stay in the special care unit, with help to establish breastfeeding, and since they arrived home.
Ruby is now back up her birth weight of 6lb 15oz and is doing well.