New mum nearly dies after contraception insert goes wrong
BUNDABERG'S Corrie Gilbert felt powerless as the mother of his baby son was rushed to theatre at 2am, haemorrhaging and "bleeding to death" after a Mirena contraceptive device was incorrectly fitted.
"When I got that call and was told I only had a few minutes to talk to her, I thought I was going to lose her," Mr Gilbert said.
"The doctors told me it was critical and that she'd be taken to ICU after the operation, and that hit me really hard."
Mr Gilbert and partner Shannon Hubbard chose the Mirena to give themselves five years to decide whether they would have another baby after she gave birth to 10-week-old Harrison.
Ms Hubbard is now urging women to be more informed about their bodies and to ask questions about the position of their uterus before having a Mirena device implanted.
"I don't know whether the GP checked the positioning of my uterus, but either way she got it wrong," Ms Hubbard, who lives on the Sunshine Coast, said.
"I have a retroverted uterus which means it's tilted, and I've now found so many stories of other women with the same condition, so it's not a rare thing."
Ms Hubbard knew something was wrong when she began filling "a maternity-sized pad" every half an hour.
"When I was losing that much blood with large clots, I knew something was wrong," she said.
"I went to emergency, and by the time they got me to a bed I had bled through the maternity pad, my pants, and the wheelchair seat was covered in blood."
The Mirena was removed but, before she had time to recover, Ms Hubbard was in and out of consciousness suffering haemorrhagic shock.
"I went really cold. I remember being freezing and physically shaking because so much blood had left my body, and that's the moment that was most traumatic," she said.
"I was worried my eight-week-old baby wouldn't remember me if I died."
The first two surgeries were to insert balloon catheters with the aim of putting pressure on the tear to stop the bleeding but, when they both failed, they had to cut her open.
"In an ultrasound they thought it may have been a small tear of just a few millimetres, but during the third surgery they found a large haematoma and a 4cm tear," she said.
Not only did Ms Hubbard have to battle for her life, she also experienced complications with the blood transfusions she was receiving.
"With the IV they gave me antibiotics which I was allergic to that caused fevers, nausea and vomiting, but I had no choice because I needed the blood."
Ms Hubbard still has her uterus, but now faces an incredibly high risk of rupturing her uterus if she falls pregnant.
She will never have children again.
"I feel so lucky to be here, that's the overall feeling, but I want to let other women know what can happen," she said.
"Not to scare them, but I want people to go to a gynaecologist instead of a GP and talk to their doctor's about the position of their uterus.
After 17 units of blood, three operations and nine days in hospital, Ms Hubbard was released on Saturday.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Bill Boyd said while every method of contraception had some degree of risk, the range of options available in Australia was considered very safe.