Kayleigh Summers, 31, recently went viral after she revealed the traumatic birth of her 2-year-old son, Callahan.
Summers went on to reveal how she almost died via TikTok and how complications during birth are more common than women most believe.
Kayleigh shared her story to BuzzFeed in greater detail, revealing how during her labor, she began to feel extremely ill. After stressing the issue to her nurses, she was told that what she was experiencing was normal. Kayleigh then went into cardiac arrest.
“I was code blue and rushed to the operating room, where they delivered my son via emergency C-section while performing CPR on me,” she said. “I was unconscious and without a pulse when my son was born. CPR was keeping us both alive until he was delivered via the emergency C-section,” she added.
And while Callahan was born healthy, Kayleigh’s health rapidly began to decline.
“I started bleeding out and a massive transfusion protocol had to be initiated, resulting in a total of 143 units of blood product transfused by the end of this ordeal. I also had to get a hysterectomy to combat the blood loss. Because of the AFE and blood loss, my heart and lungs weren’t performing at their full capacity, so doctors put me on ECMO, a machine to keep me oxygenated. My heart became weaker, so they implanted the Impella, a temporary heart pump that would allow my heart to rest and recover,” she concluded.
After Callahan’s birth, Kayleigh was put on oxygen and a ventilator for several days. She also had no memory for the first week her son was born.
“I don’t remember the first time I held him, but I’m grateful we have a beautiful video of it. The first memory I have was a few days after meeting him for the first time, and I remember thinking how beautiful (and big!) he was. It’s difficult to comprehend that the baby you are holding is yours, when you didn’t see his birth or meet him for the first week of his life.”
Kayleigh ended up suffering from Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE). And while doctors say it is a rare complication, Kayleigh urges others to listen to their bodies as well as advocate for themselves in medical situations.
“I originally planned to deliver at my local hospital, but when I found out they didn’t have a NICU, I was concerned enough to switch hospitals if he needed extra support. That decision saved my life. I would have died at my local hospital, given the amount of blood product and intervention I required.”
“I also want moms to know that it’s OK if the day you gave birth wasn’t the best day of your life. It doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you human. If you have experienced a traumatic birth, please know that you are not alone and with proper treatment and support, you will begin to heal.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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