How Blood Donors Saved My Life
by Erin Green, blood recipient
October 17, 2013 did not go as anyone had pictured it. It started as a day filled with anticipation and excitement as I was admitted to the labor and delivery floor to have our first child – a baby girl we named Georgia. It was the day after my due date, so she was actually quite punctual. After a pretty easy labor and a smooth delivery of our 8 pound, 8 ounce healthy baby girl, I began feeling ill. The medical staff equated it with a drop in my blood pressure and tilted my bed back to make me feel better, which worked initially. I had lost more blood than normal during the delivery, and it still seemed like there was something wrong. My doctor told me that I was continuing to bleed and she couldn’t see where it was coming from, so we needed to go to the operating room (OR) to get a better look.
I ended up developing a very rare condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) that kept my blood from clotting normally. DIC has a high mortality rate and is difficult to control. I lost over three liters of my own blood and was in the OR for more than 3 intense hours while numerous physicians, CRNAs, nurses and technicians worked to stop my bleeding. I received 12 units of blood, 6 units of fresh frozen plasma, and 2 units of platelets before I finally became stable and the bleeding was controlled. What had started as a happy, exciting day had ended in a roller coaster of emotions as my family waited to hear good news about my condition. The next morning I woke up intubated in the critical care unit where I stayed for two days before being able to move back to the labor and delivery floor with my husband and new baby girl. We stayed a total of 5 days in the hospital before we finally brought our little girl home with grateful hearts for the miracle that took place in our lives.
A few weeks after going home from the hospital I had the opportunity, along with my husband Todd and our daughter, to meet some employees from Arkansas Blood Institute. I was able to thank them and to let them see, first hand, the benefits and changed lives that resulted from the work that they do every day. It was a humbling experience to say the least.
Unfortunately, I have to say that I’ve never donated blood in the past; however, Arkansas Blood Institute has gained a lifelong blood donor after my experience. If it wasn’t for blood, plasma and platelet donors, the skilled medical staff wouldn’t have had the resources they needed to save my life and my Georgia would’ve grown up without her mother. I cannot express the extent to which blood donors have affected our family’s life. They kept our world from falling apart that day. Without them, I wouldn’t be enjoying the blessing of becoming a mother to a healthy, happy little girl. Donating blood is such an easy way that each one of us can give back and change the lives of not only recipients but their loved ones as well. My daughter gets to know her mommy in part because a dozen people decided to donate blood.
We would like to thank Erin for using “Share Your Story” to tell us her story.