On August 28, Brisbane mum Brooke Campbell’s life changed forever. It was the day she gave birth to her 36-week-old stillborn son – and almost lost her own life in the process.
Waking up in the early hours of that morning, Brooke suffered a severe haemorrhage, shockingly losing in excess of 1.7litres of blood. This is because, as Brooke, 27, would later find out, she had just experienced placental abruption.
According to Better Health Victoria, placental abruption occurs when the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus, which, in turn, can cause internal bleeding within the mother. It can also impact the unborn child’s oxygen and nutrient supplies (this is because the mother’s placenta provides these things through her bloodstream through the lining of the uterus).
Opening up to The Daily Mail, Brooke recalls being rushed to hospital where her obstetrician delivered the life-shattering scan she’d never thought she’d see.
“I still remember the look on [Brooke’s husband] Elliot's face when he walked into the room and I said: ‘Darcy is gone, he doesn't have a heartbeat’,” she remembers.
“He just said "No you're wrong, how does this happen". He just dropped to the floor hysterically crying. He took it really badly. Three nurses helped him back to his feet.”
Instead of opting for an emergency C-section, Brooke decided to go through with a natural birth; she had delivered her two-year-old son, Noah, the same way.
“It was such a cruel thing I had to go through with the labour and delivery,” she continues. “Knowing Darcy would be gone when he came out it killed me so much but it had to be done.”
The next two days were spent holding the sweet little boy, with Brooke, Elliot and Noah spending as much time as possible as they could with Darcy.
“I cuddled him on my chest all night with my arms wrapped around him,” Brooke remembers.
“I woke up many times that night just to cuddle, kiss and silently cry, trying not to wake Elliot up.”
Brooke’s choice to share her heartbreaking pictures of the last moments she spent with Darcy is not only a cathartic decision, but a strategic one.
This is because following Darcy’s passing, tests revealed that Brooke was living with a clotting genetic disorder called Factor V Leiden. If detected in pregnant women, Brooke says that injections can prevent placental abruptions from happening.
“The pain and suffering we endured through the past six weeks are just horrendous and no parent should ever have to ever bury their healthy child,” she says of Darcy’s death.
“I don't want people to risk their own lives or the lives of their unborn children so I just want to get the message across this disorder does exist.”
Women far and wide have united online to support Brooke and her family during this difficult time, with some even admitting to having lost a child to stillbirth, too.
“My heart breaks for you sweetheart,” one user wrote. “I don’t know you, nor you me, but we are (sadly) part of an unspoken of club... the Angel Mums."
Another added: “My Ava was full term. I lost her the day before she was born. Life can be so darn cruel.”
Our thoughts are with Brooke, Elliot and Noah during this difficult time.