Mary Campbell and Meg Terrill with Mabel, five months. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Mary Campbell and Meg Terrill with Mabel, five months. Picture: Tim Carrafa

Blood donation gives mum-to-be the ultimate Christmas gift

WHEN Mary Campbell made her 90th blood don­ation five months ago, she had no idea it would be sent to the Royal Women's Hospital where it probably helped save Meg Terrill's life.

Mrs Terrill, 38, lost ­10 litres of blood while giving birth to her third child, Mabel, because of the condition, placenta accreta.

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"Placenta accreta is a life-threatening pregnancy complication, where the placenta goes rogue and grows into places it shouldn't," Mrs Terrill said.

"The placenta therefore won't detach upon delivery like it is designed to do, and causes life-threatening haemorrhaging when they try to remove it.

"My daughter, Mabel, was delivered at 34 weeks via a planned C-section under a general anaesthetic, followed by an immediate hysterectomy and bladder surgery.

 

Meg Terrill (right) received a lifesaving blood donation from Mary Campbell after suffering from a placenta condition with third child Mabel, five months. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Meg Terrill (right) received a lifesaving blood donation from Mary Campbell after suffering from a placenta condition with third child Mabel, five months. Picture: Tim Carrafa

 

"I woke up in ICU with a photo of my baby in my hand, and that picture did not leave my sweaty paw until I finally got to see and meet her properly five days later."

Mrs Terrill's condition was so serious that before going into surgery to deliver, she wrote letters to her older children, Alby, 5, and Audrey, 3, in case she did not survive.

"Writing last letters to my kids 'just in case' was really confronting," she said.

While she endured ongoing complications and surgery after the delivery, Mrs Terrill said she was grateful to Mrs Campbell and others who donate blood.

The pair had an emotional meeting to help encourage others to give blood during the holiday season.

 

Mabel, five months. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Mabel, five months. Picture: Tim Carrafa

Mrs Campbell said: "I know giving blood does help to save lives, but it becomes more personal when you know it has actually saved a life. I have three children and four grandchildren of my own and it's quite emotional to meet Meg."

Mrs Terrill's experience had a profound effect on her friends and work colleagues, many of whom have since begun giving blood regularly.

"My husband did a beautiful Facebook post just after I had Mabel requesting our friends, who were wanting to help us, to give blood," she said. "So many of them did it and sent photos.

"A whole busload of his colleagues went and donated on my behalf and it's actually rejuvenated their workplace donations program.

"It makes you feel so good that so many have given."

 

Mary Campbell and Meg Terrill admire Mabel, five months. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Mary Campbell and Meg Terrill admire Mabel, five months. Picture: Tim Carrafa

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service wants 2000 Victorians to make a ­donation this Christmas and new year period to help ­prevent a blood shortage.

Blood Service spokesman Erin Lagoudakis said the ­period between Christmas and the new year was when stocks were most at risk.

"We can't stockpile blood ahead of the holidays, so we need people to donate in between Christmas and new year to make sure blood is there for those who need it," she said.

"It could be cancer patients who don't get to take a break from their treatment, people in car accidents, or even new mums like Meg who experience complications during childbirth with potentially devastating consequences.

"With one in three of us needing donated blood in our lifetime, the life you help save this festive season could even be that of a loved one."

Visit donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95

kim.wilson@news.com.au



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