“Now I’m a blood donor. Now it means something different.” – Alice
When Alice and Andrew were expecting their first child, they were over the moon. And Alice had a plan.
“I had a range of birth preference. I felt so ready. I’d practiced visualizations with my therapist, and I was ready to give birth as relaxed and unmedicated as I could.” She laughed. “And nothing went according to those preferences.”
When Alice’s water broke in late November of 2017, she and Andrew joyfully headed to the hospital. She began laboring, but her situation began to change.
“I’d been having stomach cramps for two weeks before my water broke and kept forgetting to bring it up to my midwife. But when those stomach cramps happened while I was in labor, the pain was even worse than the contractions.”
Alice labored for more than 24 hours and had barely progressed. She had blood drawn, and the results determined she had developed HELLP—a life-threatening form of preeclampsia, and a significant complication.
“My blood pressure was incredibly high. At that point, it had been 26 hours since my water broke. A surgeon came in to discuss a C-section. I took one look at my husband and knew that was the right step.”
Because Alice’s platelet count was so low, she was at risk of uncontrolled bleeding. For that reason, she was given general anesthesia instead of a typical epidural for the surgery. “That meant I couldn’t be awake. My husband couldn’t be there. All the things I’d hoped for went out the window.”
Calvin was born on the first day of December a happy, healthy baby.
“Thankfully, Andrew got to spend a few hours skin-to-skin with Calvin,” Alice said. “But I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.”
On the day Alice was to be discharged from the hospital, she could barely walk down the hallway. “Between the HELLP and blood loss from my C-section, my doctors suggested a blood transfusion. I received two units of blood plus iron supplements. By the time I was discharged, I felt like I was human again.”
Though Calvin’s birth didn’t go according to plan, they were a happy family of three. “Honestly, receiving blood was a really neat experience. I remember feeling so grateful transfusions were available. It made it possible for me to go home and be with my family.”
Inspired by her experience, Alice took up the banner of blood donation.
“Now I’m a blood donor. Now it means something different.”
In 2021 Alice and Andrew welcomed Isabelle to their family. This time, everything went according to plan.