When you become a mum, your birth story is a testament to you. A sentimental story of how you brought your baby into the world and an experience us mums should all be proud of.
Yet, I almost wasn't able to tell my birth story. After a very fortunate and simple three hour labour, things took a horrifying turn for the worse...
15 minutes before my son was born, I remember laughing in the birthing pool because I accidentally dunked my head under water during a contraction. It almost seemed too easy as I welcomed my beautiful Alfie into the world weighing 7lb 4oz.
'I had a kidney infection that was worse than that!', I told my husband, as I cradled our beautiful new son in my arms.
For those mums reading who may be beginning to feel a hint of jealousy. Fear not. These were my famous last words!
In fact, about two hours after Alfie was born, just as I was beginning to think I had been blessed with the perfect labour, everything went wrong.
My husband who was holding our baby, started to shout for help because I had suddenly lost consciousness.
I had slumped down in a chair and was unaware of the commotion, as a swarm of doctors and midwives surrounded me and hoisted me up onto a bed. A short time later, I opened my eyes to find myself breathing through an oxygen mask and shaking uncontrollably. All I could hear repeatedly were the words, 'We need blood!'
My body had gone into shock due to a severe postpartum haemorrhage and after a drug free labour, I was now being pumped with every drug under the sun.
In the sea of chaos, my husband stood in tears whilst our new baby quite happily slept in his arms, completely oblivious to what was happening.
I was rushed to theatre and put under general anaesthetic for an investigation that lasted over four hours - a gruelling wait for my husband who was left caring for our baby alone.
I had haemorrhaged so badly that I required not one but two urgent lifesaving blood transfusions because my womb didn't contract back to how it should after giving birth and there were additional complications with remaining placenta.
In total, I lost a dangerous four litres of blood (just over seven pints). To put this into perspective, women have around nine to 10 pints of blood in their body on average.
What's even more shocking is that the reason my body reacted in that way was completely unforeseen. I was 28 years old and other than bad sickness throughout my pregnancy, I was otherwise healthy. As the doctors and midwives have since told me, I was just incredibly unlucky.
Before you start to panic though, severe life threatening postpartum haemorrhage only affects 0.6% of women in the UK. It is extremely rare.
To know that I could have died that night is something I still can't quite comprehend. It's something you only see in films or associate with what commonly happened in olden day history. I am just so thankful to the fantastic medical staff for acting so quickly and especially grateful to those who donated their blood. They saved my life.
Without those people, my little boy would have grown up without his mum and my husband would have lost his wife. This second chance I have been given has allowed me to become the mum I had spent nine months preparing for.
I savour every moment with my new family. I've now even realised my dream and started up my own business and now a blog too!
I would love nothing more than to express my gratitude by giving blood again myself to help others in return; but as I am now a recipient of a blood transfusion, current medical regulations in the UK no longer permit me to donate. Whilst it looks like this may be changing in the future, in the meantime, the only way I can try and repay my debt is to share my experience and use my birth story to encourage others to donate blood in my place.
Donating blood is easy and painless, plus you get a free cuppa and a biscuit afterwards. If you currently don't do it, please sign up as you will be saving a life.
Blood banks urgently need blood for all sorts of reasons; cancer patients, premature babies and those with blood disorders are all common causes that require blood too and it goes a lot further than you think.
What is a tiny needle's pin prick in comparison to the lives it will save? You may even help another new mum like me.
Please give blood today and encourage others to do the same.
Click on the link below to register and find your nearest blood donation venue.