An Australian mother has told of the terrifying moment she was rushed to intensive care and ‘nearly died’ after doctors hit an artery below her during a caesarean section.
Natasha Gildea said she suffered internal bleeding and kidney failure after surgeons ‘nicked’ her uterine artery during her caesarean section.
She was in intensive care for three nights and four days, received six blood transfusions because of the life-threatening injury she said went unnoticed for hours, and remembers ‘nothing’ about her son’s first days.
Natasha Gildea (pictured left after the birth of her son George with her husband Ryan) has told of her horror C-section experience where she ‘almost died’
Doctors “nicked” an artery during surgery, causing severe internal bleeding, Natasha said went unnoticed for hours despite being in excruciating pain
Shares his story with the parent group Tiny Hearts EducationNatasha said doctors ordered her to deliver her third child via C-section after a 20-week scan showed she had a low-lying placenta covering the cervix.
Naturally, the mother-of-three, who had given birth to her two other children Yazmin, four, and Bobby, two, said the process started well.
‘It was surreal driving to the hospital, not in labour, to have a baby. It seemed to be a much calmer experience than my previous births,’ she said.
George was born happy and healthy at 9.05 that morning and Natasha was taken into recovery.
Natasha’s third child George was born happy and healthy via caesarean section, but things started to go south for the mum while she was recovering
‘They gave me an estimated blood loss of 600ml which they weren’t concerned about as 500ml is considered standard. I was stitched up and wheeled into recovery,’ she recalled.
‘After an hour of recovery, I was taken to the maternity ward. Shortly afterwards a MET call was made as I felt very weak and passed out.’
Another call was made to the emergency medical team after Natasha began complaining of excruciating pain.
‘I don’t remember much of what happened after that. I think I’ve blocked out most of it. But within a few hours two more MET calls were made,’ she said.
At the last MET call, doctors discovered that Natasha’s hemoglobin or red blood cell level was 49 much lower than the normal rate of over a hundred and her heart rate was worryingly high.
Hours after the operation, doctors discovered that Natasha’s hemoglobin level was at 49, much lower than the normal rate of over one hundred, and her heart rate was worryingly high
‘I probably had a bleed as my kidneys were shut down. There was no way out despite all the fluids they had given me,’ she said.
‘I was rushed in for a CT scan and found that my left uterine artery had ruptured during the C-section. This had been missing for hours.’
A coil was inserted into the ruptured artery to stop the bleeding and Natasha was taken back to intensive care, but her hemoglobin levels did not rise again, so doctors went back in to “glue” the surrounding vessels.
“I remember nothing from George’s early days and missed changing his first nappies or doing any skin-to-skin time,” she said.
After discovering a ruptured artery, doctors tried to stop the bleeding. Natasha spent four days in intensive care, had six blood transfusions and has a large bruise on her stomach from the bleeding
‘I wasn’t able to breastfeed because of the amount of blood loss and the heavy pain medication I was taking.’
Natasha wants other mothers to do their research and be aware of the risks of having a C-section and internal bleeding.
“Before the operation they advised that there was a possibility of another organ of mine getting a notch or a possibility of the baby being cut or bleeding, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I could almost be dead,” she said.
The mother is out of hospital but still recovering physically from the health scare and had dark bruises on her abdomen where the blood had pooled.
“Even though my experience was extremely unfortunate and traumatic, I have my lovely healthy boy and I’m here. And for that I’m very grateful,” she said.
What are the potential risks and complications of a cesarean section?
In Australia, a caesarean section is a common and relatively safe surgical procedure, but it is still a major operation. As with all surgical procedures, there are risks for both you and your baby.
Some of the more common risks and complications include:
- Blood loss above average
- Blood clots in the legs
- Infection of the lining of the uterus
- A longer hospital stay (3 to 5 days or 72 to 120 hours on average)
- Pain around the wound (you will get pain relief)
- Problems with future vaginal birth attempts
- Need for caesarean sections for future births
- Complications from the anaesthetic
Some women develop serious problems after a caesarean section. You should always talk to your midwife or doctor about any problems you’re experiencing so they can assess whether or not it’s serious and give you the treatment you need.
Some issues to watch out for include:
- Pain in your abdomen or sores that get worse and don’t go away after you take pain medication
- Ongoing or new back pain, especially where you had the epidural or spinal injection (muscular aches and pains are normal)
- Pain or burning when you urinate or inability to urinate
- Delicious urine
- Inability to pass wind or stool
- Increased vaginal blood loss or foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
- Cough or shortness of breath
- Swelling or pain in your calf (lower leg)
- Wound edges pull apart or look infected.
Source: Bafter Health