First-time parents Kelsey and Ronny Pope were ecstatic at the thought of welcoming the newest member of their family into the world. But when Kelsey began experiencing life-threatening hemorrhaging during childbirth, they learned first-hand how important blood donation is.
Leading up to the birth of her son, Kelsey had a normal pregnancy. A week past her due date, she arrived at the hospital ready to be induced. “The pain was manageable, although my heart was racing,” Kelsey recalls. “I thought my water broke, but when I looked down – it was blood.”
Kelsey began seizing. Her blood pressure dropped and with each new contraction the baby’s heart rate dropped, too. When Chisum Marshall finally arrived he was unresponsive, and the right side of his body was twitching. Doctors rushed him off to NICU to begin administering antibiotics that would fight any possible infection.
At the same time, Kelsey was receiving emergency care of her own. Still losing a large quantity of blood, her heart and lungs began to shut down. She was rushed to the operating room where her doctor noticed her blood wasn’t clotting. That was the clue Kelsey’s healthcare team needed to make a diagnosis—one that likely saved her life. She had an amniotic fluid embolism, a rare but serious condition that develops suddenly and rapidly when amniotic fluid gets into the mother’s bloodstream.
After six red blood cell transfusions to help replace what Kelsey had lost, plus several units of plasma and platelets to help stop the bleeding, Kelsey began to stabilize. Over her 38-hour stay in ICU, she received two additional units of red blood cells, as well as platelets and plasma. Chisum was in NICU for five days and emerged a healthy baby boy.
Kelsey, Ronny, and their son, Chisum, are together as a family today because donors gave generously to ensure that blood was available when she needed it. “My life was saved by phenomenal doctors, the fast availability of blood, and my faith,” Kelsey says with gratitude. “I am so thankful to be here.”
Kelsey has always been a loyal blood donor and that act is now of renewed importance to her. As soon as she again became eligible to donate—one year after her own life-threatening emergency—she was back doing her part to make a difference. “Being a blood donor in the past, it had never occurred to me how my donation really helped save lives,” Kelsey said. “But now, more than ever, I want to thank every person that donates blood because they are making a difference. I had no clue that I would ever need to receive a blood transfusion, but it saved my life and I know it saves the lives of others, too.”
Find out more about how you can help save the lives of infants, children, and adults through blood donation. Learn more at Why Donate.