Christmas Day 2010
Deep breath, everyone. We're diving right in at the deep end.
You may have noticed that two of the tabs at the top of this site are set to lead you to the blood donation websites for the UK and Ireland. (There's also one for NZ - LORRAINE, I'M LOOKING AT YOU). This is because I think that most of my readers will be reading in those two countries. I'll be tracking my traffic, and if there are more hits from elsewhere, I'll add on one. This is very important, and I'll tell you why.
On Christmas Day, I had a blood transfusion which saved my life. To give credit where credit is very much due, a surgeon, his team and a plethora of nurses also saved my life, but without that donated blood, I'd be pretty dead now, and that would be sad for all of you, but very much sadder for me.
I'm going to tell this story because it's my story. The thing with almost dying (and if you've almost died, back me up here) is that quite quickly what happened to you becomes the property of everyone around you. People will tell you stories of where they were when they heard you nearly died. They will tell a lot of other people about what happened to you. Then those other people will tell you about how they felt when they heard from the other people about what happened to you. And somehow you've lost control of the story.
In early December, I found out I was pregnant. This was excellent news, because I wanted to be pregnant. It was going to be brilliant and exciting and amazing and we had for a long time been discussing names for our future child and there was a lot of grinning at each other and holding of hands and nervousness but most of all excitement and anticipation.
But then on Christmas Day, something inside me ruptured. It turned out my pregnancy was ectopic, which means that the embryo had become stuck on its journey down my fallopian tube (the right one, fact fans) and didn't quite make it into the womb. It then set about growing happily, steadily, for six weeks in a space where there literally isn't room for a developing baby.
Therefore on Christmas Day, it reached critical mass, and everything around it ruptured. I started bleeding into my abdomen. You'd think this would be astonishingly painful - and it was, for about 30 minutes or so. After that, I started feeling okay. So THANK XENU AND ALL THE OTHER MADE UP GODS we were staying with my in-laws, because my mother-in-law who is a retired midwife insisted we went to hospital. I honestly think that, if it had happened at home, I would have gone to bed, and then never woken up again.
Once we reached A&E things went downhill. I collapsed twice (the second time I passed out, I did a wee on a nurse's shoes). I started shaking uncontrollably (this was apparently shock setting in) and when they tried to do an ultrasound they couldn't see anything at all, because at that point I had bled four pints of my own blood into my own abdomen. I was made to sign quite a few forms, but still didn't understand that this was all quite serious when they told me I'd have to have surgery. My exact reaction was, and I quote "Are you serious? Fucking hell". Those would have been some of my last words.
Note to self - must think of better last words.
The reasons I'll still here to tell you this story are many and varied, but some of my highlights are:
1. My mother-in-law. As previously mentioned, I'm not one for making a fuss, and once the internal bleeding started, it took some pressure off the rupture site, and I actually didn't feel too bad. I would have stayed at home, and died.
2. Because it was Christmas Day, we were able to cruise right into A&E, be immediately assessed, quite rapidly transferred, and because it was Christmas Day, there weren't many other patients in the lady-care unit I was transferred to. Therefore, when I collapsed no less than five nurses were around to assist.
3. The on-call surgeon was already prepped and ready in the hospital, because he had just finished doing an emergency Cesarean birth. Therefore, it has just occurred to me, I was saved due to the birth of a baby on Christmas Day.
And I still have the nerve to be an atheist.
The long and short of this is: Give. Blood. You simply don't know who may need it next.
(If anyone has found this post searching for "ectopic pregnancy", please feel free to contact me with any questions. It is a truly hideous experience, one of the most difficult things I've ever been through, but you can get out the other side. Please get in touch.)