Mum loses all blood in her body eight times during birth
SARAH Parkes 'died' three times during a high-risk caesarean that required 128 bags of blood to keep her alive.
The mother-of-three lost all of the blood in her body eight times, and exhausted the entire blood supply of John Hunter Hospital, while giving birth to her third child.
Now, the 34-year-old wants to thank everyone who has donated blood and raise awareness during National Blood Donors Week.
"It was horrific, but I can't thank the blood donation (service) enough," the Coffs Harbour mum told AAP.
Although Ms Parkes knew her pregnancy was high risk, she never imagined her placenta would attach to her bladder and leave her life at risk.
Because she previously had caesareans for the birth of her girls, the placenta was able to attach to the scar tissue on her uterus and spread "like a tumour" but an ultrasound couldn't detect whether it had grown so she went into hospital early, to deliver her baby at 34 weeks.
"When I got cut open, they hit a major blood vessel and I started bleeding to death," she said.
"My placenta is just pumping blood everywhere and they can't close me up because my placenta needs to be removed. I had seven minutes left to live. Without a vascular surgeon being next door, I wouldn't have survived."
Although her son Billy is now two, it has taken Ms Parkes time to talk about the traumatic experience in the hope she can motivate the public to donate blood.
"My poor little girls had to wait outside ICU every day for a week, asking, 'Is mum going to wake up today?'
"I need to help people. I want people to look at me and think about donating blood," she told AAP.
"Women are also out there choosing to have a caesarean not realising there are more risks. I don't want it to happen to anyone else."
Cath Stone from the Blood Service has urged people to take an hour of their time to donate.
"Our amazing donors can't do it alone, and we need more people to make blood donation a regular, life-saving habit," she said.
One in three Australians will need blood during their lifetime but only one in 30 currently gives blood, she said.
This article appeared on Kidspot and has been republished with permission.