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Postpartum Haemorrhage after a home birth, by Colleen M.

Colleen is in the USA, and after a straightforward birth, she had a severe postpartum haemorrhage when fragments of placenta were left in her uterus. She transferred to hospital and had a manual removal of the placental fragments without anaesthetic. In some states of the USA, midwives may be reluctant to transfer mothers to hospital unless it is a dire emergency as their legal status, and relationships with local hospitals, may not be straightforward. In the UK, someone who was losing a lot of blood would normally be transferred to hospital ASAP if an injection of syntometrine or syntocinon did not help. It would also be unlikely that a manual removal of placenta would occur here without pain relief.

Colleen's story:

She finally arrived. April 7th 2006 at 3:22am. A beautiful little baby girl. 8 pounds even and 19 1/2 inches long. Her birth was fine, 7 hours of not too bad labor, towards the end it was pretty intense. At first arrival the midwife didn't actually think I was in labor. I knew I was, I had done this twice before. She came in to check me one last time before leaving and to her surprise, I was at 6 cm. I labored with my husband and assistant Crista for about another hour. The midwife broke my water at 9 cm and the contractions became more painful. I just wanted it to be over so badly. She was a little harder to push out than Roman, and yes it hurt.

After I had her, I thought everything was fine until I started noticing a lot of blood and noticing I was getting really dizzy just lying on the bed. The midwife came to check on me and was pretty concerned. They kept saying are you doing okay? Stay awake, things like that. She gave me a shot on the thigh, and made me drink something yucky, and then I felt a little better. She kept checking my blood pressure and pulse and I guess when my blood pressure was about 60/20 they called 911. The whole time I was just completely dizzy and didn't know what was going on. The next thing I know there are all these firemen and paramedics in my room, the lights are all on, and everyone is saying Colleen stay awake. So I had to be transported to the hospital to find out why I was hemorrhaging.

I found out several hours later that part of the placenta was still attached inside my uterus and this was where I was hemorrhaging. Not only that, but the hemorrhage was causing me to clot ridiculously and some of the clots were as big as a softball. They removed everything right there in the hospital room with nothing to numb the pain and let me tell you it was much worse pain than the whole childbirth. But it is all over with now, and I am so glad that it is. Now I have a beautiful little baby girl and I am so grateful that she is healthy and happy and we are all safe.

My Mom was here for the entire birth and just went home last night. She really helped me out, I think I would be feeling a lot worse if she hadn't been here to help me out. I am really going to miss her, in fact I cried after she left, but I am okay now. I know she will read this, so Mom, don't feel bad, you were a great help to me! Roman and Cliah are so proud to have a new little sister. Roman is sooo sweet giving her kisses and Cliah wants to help as much as she can. We are all going to have to adjust to having another member of the family, but I am sure we will do just fine.

Well it is almost one year later, and I am now 14 weeks pregnant with baby number 4. I am planning to have another home birth, but am catching a lot of slack from my Mother. I know she is just worried, but it makes me uncomfortable. So wish me luck and I will come back with another birth story around September!

What do you think about homebirth after what I went through?

Colleen Miele

Reply to Colleen:

Dear Colleen,

Thanks for sending your story. I was sorry to read about your haemorrhage; it can be pretty scarey. I had one myself after a miscarriage and it was pretty awful, but by the time I got in hospital and on the drip I didn't really care where I was.

There's a page on my website about PPH and homebirth, and stories from a number of women who've been through similar experiences to yours - www.homebirth.org.uk/pph.htm .

People do need to know about all the possible outcomes you can have after home and hospital birth, good and bad. PPH is horrible wherever it happens, but with a vigilant midwife it's manageable. I am not aware of any woman in the UK who has died after a PPH at home in the last 30 years or so of records being kept comprehensively, and Olsen's meta-analysis of over 23,000 homebirths didn't find any either.

I think here in the UK a midwife would normally call an ambulance and ask you to transfer to hospital earlier than happened with you as your blood pressure was very low, but I do know of women who've been in a similar situation and just not wanted to go unless things were really desperate.

Best wishes, and thank you for writing ...

Related pages:

Home Birth Stories

Post-partum Haemorrhage at home : what can be done about it?

The Third Stage of Labour - what are your options, and the pros and cons of each?

Transferring to hospital - why it might be advised.

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