As any new parent knows, there aren’t enough hours in the day. But for one Midlothian family, finding a spare hour was a top priority.
Just two weeks after the birth of their daughter Zoe in March 2017, Paul and Pam Cook visited Edinburgh Donor Centre so the proud daddy could give blood. For the Cooks, it was important that they had the chance to say thank you and 'give something back.'
Why? Just a fortnight earlier, following a healthy pregnancy, a long but uncomplicated birth, and a textbook caesarean section, Pam began to bleed heavily and needed more than six units of blood to save her life. 'Not all postpartum bleeds need a transfusion, but I could tell from Pam’s face that she knew something was seriously wrong,' says Paul.
It all happened so fast. A nurse sounded the alarm, and before we knew it the room was full of people.
'It all happened so fast. A nurse sounded the alarm, and before we knew it the room was full of people. I was passed baby Zoe, and Pam was whisked back into theatre.'
After several attempts to stop the bleed, the surgeon finally managed to stabilise Pam. She received six units during the surgery and a further top-up transfusion in intensive care. This meant all three members of the Cook family spent that night apart, with little Zoe sleeping in the special care baby unit.
Paul said, 'The next morning when I turned up at the hospital, I had to decide who to visit first. Knowing Zoe was safe and well, I went straight to see my wife. When I arrived at the ward, I was delighted to see her propped up in bed with a cup of tea and a piece of cake. It was a fantastic sight.'
Zoe was soon reunited with her tired but grateful mummy, and after five days Pam was allowed to go home.
'We want to say such a huge thank you to all the amazing nurses, midwives, doctors and staff at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary who cared for all of us. Words cannot express how wonderful the care and attention was. We also owe a huge debt of thanks to all the lovely blood donors, without whom our precious little girl would not have her mummy here today.'
Paul and Pam both work for the Scottish Ambulance Service, and as a paramedic, Pam is well aware of how important blood products are in life and death situations. However, they both agree, you never really expect it to be you that needs the help of the blood transfusion service.
This experience has been a huge reminder of how important it is for hospitals to have stocks of every blood group – just when it’s needed.
'I remember sitting outside the operating theatre, just waiting to hear some more news while they operated on Pam to try and stop the bleeding,’ said Paul.
‘It was so strange, because I heard the nurse make a call to the blood bank asking for units of cross matched blood, and it was really surreal moment. I’ve been a blood donor on and off for over 15 years. Unfortunately, some exotic travel has meant I couldn’t be as regular a donor as I’d have liked, but this experience has been a huge reminder of how important it is for hospitals to have stocks of every blood group – just when it’s needed.'
Everyone at SNBTS would like to send our love and very best wishes to Paul, Pam and baby Zoe. Thank you to the blood donors who made this possible.
Help us celebrate World Blood Donor Day 2017 by asking someone you know to sign up as a blood donor, by calling 0345 90 90 999 or filling out our online form