Amy’s first pregnancy was a dream but her birth was not at all what she’d anticipated. She had planned to deliver in a birth center but had to be induced in hospital at 42 weeks due to low amniotic fluid. She had a typical pitocin induction but a nurse tried to speed up the process by breaking her waters not realizing that they had already broken. This left eight lacerations on her daughter’s head. Iyla was born with the assistance of forceps and Amy was given an episiotomy that went sideways out of her vaginal opening and down her leg, requiring 100 stitches to repair. Amy was carrying fraternal twins with her second pregnancy and things were going well until 13 weeks. At that point, one of the baby’s heart stopped beating. She was never able to find out for sure but has always felt this baby was a boy. The remainder of her pregnancy was healthy and his body was absorbed by her uterus. She had a peaceful short labor and her second daughter, Ione, was born in the water at home. Amy planned another homebirth with her third and had a healthy pregnancy up until 37 weeks when both Amy and her baby almost lost their lives. Amy was enjoying a shower with her daughters when she suddenly started bleeding profusely with no surges or feelings of labor. The speed and the amount of blood that was pouring out of her told her that she was having a placental abruption and time was of the essence. Her eldest daughter, Iyla, who had just turned 6, remained calm and ran to get help. Amy says it was Iyla’s quick thinking and her own extensive research about birth that saved them both. Amy inserted her hand into her vagina in an attempt to block the bleeding and kept it there despite the paramedic telling her to remove it. Later, several doctors told her that she had saved her own life with this action. Amy was rushed to the hospital via ambulance and immediately into surgery for an emergent cesarean. Nova had swallowed 7 oz of blood in the womb and had to have her stomach pumped but was otherwise okay. Amy recovered fully but suffers PTSD from her experience.
Placental abruptions occur in less than 1% of pregnancies worldwide and less than half of those are severe, but many times they are a death sentence. In an effort to heal herself and protect other women, Amy has started her own business, Hippi Longstockings. Hippi Longstockings donates money from purchases of baby goods to assist in building a life saving birth center in Uganda. Two hundred women die giving birth every day in Africa and most of these deaths could be prevented with access to things like pitocin which we take for granted. Helping that number decrease has been a major factor in her healing.