Karisa Bugal and her husband were welcoming their second baby into the world. During the delivery, the baby’s heart rate started to slow. At the same time, they realized there was an even worse complication. Karisa had an amniotic fluid embolism. She would have to make a choice between her own life or her newborn’s life.
An amniotic fluid embolism develops suddenly. It’s a rare but very serious condition where the amniotic fluid as well as some fetal material enters the mother through the placental bed of the uterus. Basically, fluid and cells from the baby hit the mother’s bloodstream. It’s likely to occur during or right after delivery.
In Karisa Bugal’s case, the baby’s heart rate slowing was the first sign of problems. Other symptoms include low blood pressure, shortness of breath, altered mental status, chills and rapid heart rate. All of the symptoms come on quickly. These are part of the first phase of the condition.
During the second phase, the person will lose consciousness and there’s a collapse of the cardiovascular system. Once it reaches this point, the mother and baby are at serious risk.
There’s no specific treatment for an embolism of this nature. The treatment remains the same for any maternal emergency during delivery. Some patients pull through the ordeal while others do not. An emergency C-section is another treatment for the embolism
It’s caused by a variety of problems like cervical laceration, placenta previa or uterine rupture.
When doctor’s realized that mother and baby were in distress, they gave Karisa a choice. She could save the baby or save herself. The fastest option for saving the baby was anesthesia so they could remove the baby quickly to perform life-saving treatments. The other option would be a spinal tap for her so she could stay away, but that choice meant that the baby’s lifesaving treatment would be delayed.
They delivered a baby boy named Declan. Karisa woke up from surgery to ask how much he weighed. She passed away soon after learning of her son.
Her husband, Wes, wonders how he’ll explain to his son that Mom died while giving birth to him. He also doesn’t know how he’ll explain to his daughter when she asks where her mommy is.
As a mom, Karisa, made the ultimate sacrifice to save her newborn son. It’s hard to know who would make the same decision in her place. Her son may never know her, but he’ll definitely know how much she loved him.