A young mum who was saved by an emergency Caesarean section almost died after her wound became infected by a deadly bug.
Both Katy Yates, 32, and her unborn baby's life were at risk after she developed the life-threatening condition pre-eclampsia eight weeks before her due date.
Medics safely delivered her daughter Phoebe but in a cruel twist Katy developed a rare flesh-eating bug and was left fighting for her life.
Surgeons removed 6lb of flesh in a bid to stop the bug and to everyone's amazement, she managed to fight off the infection.
Katy, from Oswestry, Shropshire, said: "I was in agony but put it down to having surgery. I'd never had a Caesarean section before so I didn't know what to expect.
"I couldn't walk and had a raging fever. Antibiotics didn't work so they had to cut the infection out. I was left with a gaping hole."
Katy and her husband Steve, 31 spent five years trying for a baby and she eventually fell pregnant after using the fertility drug Clomid.
At 32 weeks, Katy was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and rushed to theatre for an emergency Caesarean section the next day.
When their daughter, Phoebe, was born she was immediately transferred to the special care baby unit and kept in an incubator because she was so small.
Katy said: "I didn't even get to hold her. I got to give her a kiss and that was it. "I was still really ill so I couldn't go see her. My blood pressure couldn't be controlled so I had to have a nurse sit with me all the time.
"In the evening, they wheeled her down for a few minutes and I got to have my first cuddle." After four days, her condition hadn't improved but she was keen to be discharged so she could spend time with her new daughter.
Doctors at Shrewsbury Hospital agreed on the condition she came in for daily check-ups.
Katy said: "I still felt horrendous. I was sweating but I was freezing cold. I had a dressing on my wound and noticed it had a foul smell. I had black bruising on my tummy.
"I was in excruciating pain. I assumed I'd get better but it was getting worse and worse. "I couldn't walk and had to use a wheelchair."
After being examined by a concerned midwife, she was later readmitted to hospital.
At first, medics ruled out the flesh eating bug, Necrotising Fasciitis, but luckily another doctor spotted the signs and diagnosed her.
The bug is caused by bacteria releasing toxins into the skin and muscle, forcing it to waste away.
Minutes later she was in surgery to cut away at her flesh in an attempt to control the infection and stop it spreading.
Katy said: "I remember them telling me I had to go to theatre and panic set in.
"They asked me if I wanted to go see Phoebe but I couldn't even move. Looking back, they probably said that because they thought I wouldn't survive.
"After the operation, a doctor said if I hadn't been young and healthy I wouldn't have made. My organs were shutting down and I'd not got much longer.
"I didn't see Phoebe for a week. Steve had to split in two - going back and forth between us."
Katy, who needed a further three operations, spent three weeks in hospital on strong antibiotics. She was also fitted with a vacuum pump to remove fluid from her wound and reduce the risk of the infection returning.
Katy said: "It should have been happiest time of my life but it ended being the most traumatic.
"When she came home a week after me, I couldn't care for her. I had to have somebody with me all the time.
"I couldn't bend to pick Phoebe up for several months - even holding her was difficult. "It meant I struggled to bond with her for a long time. I needed counselling."
New statistics from the Health Protection Agency reveal that one in ten women suffer an infection after a Caesarean.
Katy, a trustee of the Lee Spark Necrotising Fasciitis Foundation has raised £8,000 for the charity and is now making training DVDs to help maternity staff spot the signs for post-natal infections.
For more information, visit http://www.nfsuk.org.uk/
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