An Aussie mum has shared her story of how a farming accident left her without a scalp or eyebrows - her only thought for her growing bub in her belly.
Michelle Dowsett, 42, worked as a school teacher but lived on a farm with her husband, Bob, and two young kids, Josh, 2, and Liv, 18 months, so it wasn’t unusual for her to lend a helping hand when it came to yard work.
Bob and her uncle, Craig, were having some trouble with one of the farm machines, so Michelle lent a hand. Eventually they fixed the problem and were just about done, which is when disaster struck.
‘I felt a tug on my hair,’ Michelle told that’s life!
‘My ponytail had snagged on a spinning bolt connected to the motor, and the top of my head had been clean pulled off.’
She recalls not feeling much pain, but was worried because she’d been prescribed blood thinners to help with her pregnancy.
‘I knew the risk of bleeding out was high,’ she explains.
‘Panicking wasn’t an option.’
She recalls the gruesome moment she saw where her hair had ended up.
‘It was dangling from the machinery,’ she says. It was still in tact so her hubby put it on ice in the hopes it could be reattached.
She was flown to Sydney with the Royal Flying Doctor Service - who she says will always be her heroes.
‘If it wasn’t for the Flying Doctors I wouldn’t be here,’ she says.
After 15 hours in surgery her original scalp failed to reattach, so grafts were used from her thighs.
She lost her eyebrows and hair in the accident, and her scalp is very delicate.
‘I usually wear a bandana to keep it protected,’ explains Michelle.
Thankfully there was no impact on her baby, and little Emma was born healthy 6 months later.
The mum-of-three says the accident may have taken her hair, but it gave her so much more.
‘Before the accident, I used to sweat the small stuff. Now I’m just so thankful to be here.'
This story and more great Aussie stories in issue 10 of that's life!