By Alyce Collins
AFTER two nightmare deliveries left this new mother with UNCONTROLLABLE BLEEDING and blood clots the size of BASEBALLS doctors had no choice but to perform a LIFE-SAVING HYSTERECTOMY at just twenty-two – leaving her devastated that she would never be pregnant again.
Stay at home mum, Kiera Elton (22) originally from Milton Keynes, UK, now living in Alberta, Canada, met her husband Preston (26) in 2014 and the couple welcomed their daughter Lilian on February 23, 2018.
Following Lilian’s birth, Kiera lost a lot of blood and midwives discovered that she retained some placenta and required a dilation and curettage (D&C) to remove the remains. One week later, Kiera haemorrhaged again and passed large blood clots, requiring another D&C surgery.
Nurses were hopeful that the second surgery would stop Kiera’s heavy bleeding but as another week passed, she began bleeding again and was admitted for another surgery. Kiera was sent home with birth control, and two weeks later the bleeding returned. Kiera fainted in her bathroom and was taken to hospital in an ambulance, but she refused another surgery and demanded a blood transfusion, which found that her haemoglobin was just 69, but a healthy level is upwards of 120.
Seven months after welcoming Lilian, Kiera and Preston discovered they were pregnant once again and their son, Lochlann, was born May 12, 2019 weighing 8lb 3oz. After a smooth delivery, the placenta came out seemingly in one piece, much to Kiera’s relief.
Three weeks later, Kiera started bleeding heavily and went for another ultrasound which highlighted some retained placenta in the top of her uterus – the same place the previous retained placenta was located.
After Kiera lost a litre of blood, doctors needed to prevent further blood loss and they opted for a uterine artery embolization to stop the flow of blood to the uterus. Unfortunately, the next day she began bleeding once again and doctors were left with no alternative but to perform a hysterectomy to remove Kiera’s uterus at just 22 years old.
“I gave birth to my first child in February 2018 and had immediate complications after,” said Kiera.
“I lost over a litre of blood and had retaining placenta that they had to take me into surgery for. I was in a lot of pain from them trying to pull everything out.
“Once I woke up, three hours later, I was finally brought back to our room to finally spend some time with our little girl.
“They stopped the bleeding and I recovered well right after. About a week later, I started haemorrhaging again and started passing blood clots the size of a baseball and had to go in for another D&C.
“I lost even more blood but after the second surgery they said that should be the end of it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, and another week passed, and I started bleeding heavily again.
“It meant another hospital admission and another surgery. I lost even more blood this time because they accidentally scraped part of my uterine lining from going into my uterus too many times.
“Two weeks after this surgery, I haemorrhaged severely and had to get taken to the hospital in an ambulance because I passed out on my bathroom floor.
“This time, I refused another surgery and demanded a blood transfusion as they hadn’t given me one yet. My haemoglobin was 69, but the normal number is between 120 and 140. They put me on birth control after being discharged and I was told to stop breastfeeding, as that makes the uterus contract – causing more bleeding. This all finally stopped the bleeding.
“We didn’t think we would get pregnant so soon, but seven months later, we got pregnant again. Thankfully we had no complications and the delivery went smoothly.
“My placenta came out in what we thought was one piece. My doctor looked at the placenta and it didn’t look like there were any pieces missing, and because I didn’t haemorrhage, they just assumed everything was okay.
“About three weeks after, I was feeding Lochlann and I stood up and noticed our sheets had blood on them. I was absolutely devastated because I knew what this meant.
“I went and got an ultrasound and my doctor compared ultrasounds from my last one and noticed some retained placenta in the same spot as the previously retained placenta. She figured it was a weak part of my uterus from when they accidentally scraped part of the uterine lining in the D&C after giving birth to Lillian.
“I went in for surgery that night and woke up in the most excruciating pain. I found out the next morning that I lost over a litre of blood when they tried to get part of the placenta out and they had to take some precautions to stop it.”
Doctors wanted to try another option to stop the bleeding, leading them to insert a balloon into Kiera’s uterus and fill it with 500 millilitres of saline. As the balloon expanded, it would stop the blood flow through the cervix. This temporary fix gave the doctors more time to work out a more permanent solution.
Doctors tried many options before ultimately suggesting a hysterectomy, taking place on June 5, 2019, to remove Kiera’s uterus and permanently stop the bleeding.
“My doctor spoke to a radiologist and they wanted to proceed with a uterine artery embolization to cut off most of the blood flow to the uterus,” said Kiera.
“They filled my uterus with a balloon filled with saline to contract my uterus to stop the bleeding. My doctor stayed with me to slowly take the balloon out after the procedure and make sure I didn’t bleed out. Thankfully, things went well, and I was sent home after a blood transfusion.
“I felt disappointed in my body and all I could think about were my babies at home and how much time I was away from them.
“About a day and a half later, I started bleeding heavily again and called my doctor. We went to the clinic and she gave me more medication to stop the bleeding. My doctor sent me home but told me if anything else happened that I had to go to the hospital.
“That evening, I had a shower and passed out after getting out. We went to the hospital and they called my doctor to let her know I was there. She came in and said she wanted to admit me to monitor my bleeding and my health.
“I was feeling better in the morning, but my doctor said we have to take out my uterus because they believed my body would keep bleeding if they didn’t take action.
“They were trying everything to stop the bleeding, but it wasn’t working. In the end, it was the best option because if they didn’t take it out, I would have gone septic and most likely died.
“My doctor said she examined my uterus after and could smell that my uterus was infected. We haven’t got the pathology reports back yet, but when we do, we will finally understand what was going on.
“Initially, I was just happy that I had two kids and I was able to start raising my family without any more problems. I was thankful that the doctors didn’t wait any longer and just did the surgery.
“Once it started to sink in, it really hurt me and still does. We always wanted more kids, so knowing I’ll never be able to get pregnant again makes me emotional. Most of my friends aren’t having kids for many years, so I’m sad I won’t get to experience pregnancy with them.
“Having a hysterectomy at such a young age was an eye opener. I will be 23 this year and I can’t have any more children, which is heart-breaking. I’ve been through the ringer and back and I’m not even 25 yet.
“I know one day that my kids will ask me for another sibling and it’s going to be very difficult to tell them no. But at least because they are still young, I will have years to mentally prepare myself for it.
“I want women to advocate for themselves after having a baby and if you feel like something is wrong, make your doctor do something. If you’re having any abnormal bleeding, see your doctor immediately.
“I want women to know that having a hysterectomy shouldn’t define you. Hysterectomies are life changing, regardless on why or when you have one.”
To see more or find out more about Kiera’s journey, visit www.instagram.com/happilyeverelton