Eleanor's story

Eleanor was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia when she was 39 weeks pregnant with her first child.
Pre-eclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that can be harmful to both the mother and baby. Eleanor’s unborn baby was showing signs of distress, so labour was induced.

After many hours of labour, an emergency caesarean was needed to deliver baby Mim. During the surgery Eleanor suffered a massive postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) and lost a lot of blood. She required an immediate transfusion of four bags of red blood cells which ultimately saved her life.

Eleanor slowly recovered, but the experience changed her outlook on everything.

About a year later, Eleanor became pregnant again. Because of her previous history she was very closely monitored throughout this second pregnancy. When it was time to give birth, the hospital made sure enough blood was on standby in case Eleanor haemorrhaged again. Fortunately during this delivery, there were no complications and the birth went smoothly.

Today, Eleanor has two healthy daughters and she is completing her undergraduate midwifery degree. Her favourite part of midwifery placements is monitoring and spending time with mothers immediately after they give birth.

Eleanor’s decision to study midwifery was influenced by her own experiences of pregnancy and giving birth. She also volunteers weekly to support young mothers who are homeless, helping them adjust to motherhood and take care of their babies.

Eleanor was a blood donor before her experience and never imagined she would need a transfusion one day. “Not a single day goes by where I do not think of the four people whose donations saved my life,” says Eleanor. “Without blood, I would have died. Those people gave my husband his wife and my daughter her mother. They enabled me to become a mother for the second time and to then give of myself by caring for other mothers and their babies.”

Key information

  • PPH is excessive blood loss within the first 24 hours after childbirth and is a serious medical emergency.
  • PPH may require treatment with red cells, platelets and plasma products.
  • Eleanor’s medical support team were aware of the potential risks associated with delivery of her second child and closely monitored her second pregnancy.
  • PPH history can increase the likelihood that a transfusion may be required in subsequent births.
  • Eleanor is aware that she will need to inform doctors and nurses of her transfusion history for any future care.



Learn more about pregnancy and childbirth and red cell transfusion.

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