Harriet Vanderbilt/Red Cross Cascades Region
Lincoln County Red Cross volunteer Ashlie Freeman nearly lost her life in March. It took at least 15 units of donated Red Cross blood to save her life, as well as her baby’s life. Because people stepped up to give blood, Ashlie and her daughter are healthy today. The Red Cross helper became the helped.
“I want to tell my story, to tell people how important it is to give blood”. Ashlie experienced a placental abruption during childbirth. “The placenta was too low and it attached itself to my uterus. My daughter was delivered three months prematurely.”
The placenta develops in the uterus during pregnancy. It attaches to the wall of the uterus and supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery.
Ashlie recalls that “I was considered high risk because I had previously delivered via C-Section. In my case, the placenta became attached to scar tissue from my previous C-Section. This complication was discovered by my doctor five weeks before I delivered on March 14th so I had traveled to Portland numerous times.”
As the C-Section surgery progressed, the placenta tore open, causing Ashlie to hemorrhage. “I had IVs attached in many places to push as much blood as possible into my body. At the same time, my own blood was being recycled.” Her uterus was also removed.
Complication arose. Ashlie relates that “I suffered a heart attack and my bladder was nicked in the process of removing my uterus”. She had to wear a bladder bag for 2 weeks while the wound healed. “Then, I tested positive for COVID” Ashlie added.
Ashlie spent a week in the hospital. Her doctor monitored her closely. “He told me that the night after the dramatic surgery he had a very hard time sleeping. He tossed and turned. He was unsure that I would survive the trauma.”
Thankfully, she and her infant became stronger quickly. “I was up walking after 2 days. I was able to begin breast feeding my daughter soon afterwards.” In spite of the unforgettable event, Ashlie embraces childbirth and motherhood. “It’s a beautiful thing!”
After Ashlie experienced her heart attack, she contacted her church. She asked for prayers to give her and her baby a quick recovery. “I trust God. I know he will help me to stay strong.”
Ashlie became a Red Cross volunteer in 2019. She helped with sheltering during the Echo Mountain Fire east of Lincoln City in September of 2020.
Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Your blood donation can help save the lives of people like Ashlie and her daughter. Please sign up to give blood. Visit www.RedCrossBlood.org to make an appointment.