An unborn child’s fingernail entered its mother’s bloodstream, a possibly fatal occurrence that affects only a handful of pregnancies each year. Despite the near-fatal complications during pregnancy, the mother now is living a normal and happy life with her three daughters in England.
Angela Cottam was rushed into labor at Countess of Chester Hospital in Cheshire after suffering from preeclampsia, reports News.com.au. Preeclampsia is when a woman develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine during pregnancy, usually after the 20th week, according to the United States National Library of Medicine. The only way to treat severe preeclampsia is to deliver the baby, which is what Cottam’s doctor decided to do. Mild preeclampsia can be treated and monitored at home.
Cottam was pregnant with twins and was in the 31st week of pregnancy when she was diagnosed with preeclampsia at Countess of Chester Hospital. While Cottam was in labor she asked for an epidural but soon began to struggle breathing, reports News.com.au.
Cottam at the time was suffering from an amniotic fluid embolism. According to the Mayo Clinic, amniotic fluid embolism is when amniotic fluid or other material, such as hair or a fingernail, enters into the bloodstream, causing an allergic reaction which could lead to serious complications during pregnancy. Amniotic fluid embolism is rare, with a frequency of one to 12 amniotic fluid embolisms per 100,000 deliveries, reports Mayo Clinic.
The unborn baby’s fingernail caused internal bleeding and Cottam’s lungs collapsed during the delivery. Cottam lost seven pints of blood and was in a coma for 12 hours, reports News.com.au. Doctors needed to perform 22 blood transfusions to save her.
Speaking about the incident later, Cottam said, “I feel so lucky to be here and really blessed that both the girls are with us because it could have been so different.”
Cottam’s twins, Amelie and Ava, were born via Caesarean section and are now eight months old. At the time of the delivery Amelie weighed 4lb 2oz while Ava weighed 4lb 10oz, reports News.com.au. Cottam and her twins are living a healthy life and have reported no additional complications following the difficult delivery. Cottam also has a four-year-old daughter, Olivia, with her husband, Peter Cottam.