Joanna Suprock was expecting her third child in July, 2018; although she was active and in good health, this was considered to be a high risk pregnancy due to the loss of her infant daughter Mallory several years earlier. With that in mind, her doctor made the decision to induce labor on July 20, when the baby Joanna was carrying reached its 39th week of development and was considered to be full term.
On July 21, at 1:02 a.m., she gave birth to a robust and healthy son, Edgar. Joanna was able to hold him just long enough for her husband to take a picture of Mother and son before she began to hemorrhage heavily and the attending doctor gave instructions to take her immediately to the maternity operating room.
Normally the placenta is delivered naturally after a baby’s birth but following her son’s birth only part of the placenta was delivered. As her doctor searched for the cause of Joanna’s bleeding she discovered that a portion of the placenta had become attached to Joanna’s uterus causing her to hemorrhage.
Once in the operating room her doctor determined that the only way to stop Joanna’s bleeding was to perform an emergency hysterectomy. Between her birth-related bleeding and this emergency surgery, she received 16 units of blood, 4 units of platelets and 10 units of plasma. A very simple explanation of these three components is that red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body; plasma is the fluid that blood is transported in and platelets allow blood to clot. Fortunately for Joanna the hospital she was being treated at had these blood products on hand to help save her life.
Her baby son Edgar is now five-months-old and thriving along with his 5-year-old brother, Benjamin. Joanna was a long-time blood donor prior to this life-changing event but it has reinforced the importance of blood donation to her.
“I am very grateful for all the people involved in saving my life – doctors, nurses and definitely the blood donors behind the roughly two gallons of blood that I received,” says Joanna Suprock. “Since this birth experience I tell everyone to abstain from giving me flowers or gifts; instead, go out and donate blood and encourage others to do the same. The need for blood is constant, and my experience taught me that you never know when someone you love – or even yourself – is going to need it!”
Story contributed by Red Cross