Mum Chantelle Matthews, 29, collapsed at home due to a postpartum haemorrhage just days after giving birth to her son Rory.
Her family was told to ‘prepare for the worst’ as doctors worked tirelessly to save the young mother, whose legs had filled with life-threatening blood clots.
The mum-of-two lost all feeling in both of her legs – which swelled up to triple their normal size.
Support worker Chantelle, from Plymouth, was left fighting for her life for another ten days in hospital and needed three operations to cut out the clots.
The postpartum bleed is likely to have been caused following a traumatically quick labour with Rory, and doctors warned Chantelle not to have any more children.
She had returned home the same day but developed a pain in her right side under her ribs a week after giving birth.
After almost two weeks of the pain getting worse, Chantelle called her doctor, who said her symptoms could be due to an infection.
But minutes later the young mum collapsed on the bathroom floor in front of her six-year-old daughter Esme.
‘It didn’t hit me how poorly I was until I woke up in intensive care with the tube down my throat and then I couldn’t breathe as they took it out,’ said Chantelle.
‘My vision went completely, I was cold and sweating and I was in agonising pain in my back.
‘At this point, I was white as a ghost, shivering cold, I’d lost all feeling in both of my legs and they had swelled up to triple their normal size.
‘I couldn’t have any visitors but my partner dropped off some things for me including Rory’s baby grow that we had brought him home in.’
Chantelle’s blood pressure was dangerously low and the mum was slipping in and out of consciousness as the ambulance rushed her to Derriford Hospital A&E.
Due to social distancing rules, her family was not able to go with her in the ambulance.
Doctors diagnosed a postpartum haemorrhage, resulting in a bleed in her abdomen and blood clots filling her legs.
Chantelle was rushed into surgery twice over the next 24 hours where doctors removed most of the blood clots in her legs and inserted an inferior vena cava filter into her chest to catch any further developing clots.
She next woke up in the intensive care unit attached to a ventilator in the evening of her eldest daughter Esme’s birthday.
Chantelle spent the next three days in intensive care unable to move, enduring yet another operation to remove blood clots.
After a negative test for Covid-19, she finally returned home to her family on 16 May.
She said: ‘I wasn’t allowed any visitors at all. It broke my heart being in there away from my newborn baby.
‘The nurses all helped me get through the toughest time of my life.
‘They helped me to express my breast milk, brushed my hair, washed me and sat with me while I sobbed because I was away from my newborn.’
The mum says she is now experiencing depression and anxiety over what’s happened in the last month.
‘I’m now currently suffering very badly with anxiety and depression due to what happened to me but I’m just pleased to be alive and finally home with my family,’ said Chantelle.
‘I am sharing my story now to raise awareness of blood clots after birth and also to thank the nurses that helped me.
‘It’s been an eventful six weeks in lockdown with Rory and it’s so hard not being able to have family around to help whilst I’m recovering.
‘I honestly couldn’t be any prouder of my partner and my daughter for coping the way they have, especially Esme who has been so helpful even though I missed her birthday.’
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