Having a baby nearly killed me

Rare pregnancy conditions nearly cost one mum her life

Stephanie D’Ovidio, 28, Perth, WA

You’ll have to stay in hospital until the baby is born,’ the doctor said. 

That’s over two months away, I thought horrified. 

I was expecting my second child, Sienna, now three, but I was suffering a complication. 

Two weeks earlier, at 25 weeks, my husband Michael, 31, had driven me to hospital after I’d started losing blood. 

I’d had some spotting when I was pregnant with my son, Juliano, now four, so I wasn’t too worried. 

But I’d been kept in for tests and that’s when I learnt I was suffering a life-threatening condition called placenta accreta.

It’s where the placenta grows through the uterus and attaches itself to internal organs.

I also had major placenta previa, which means the placenta had grown across my cervix too. 

The conditions were caused by the caesarean I’d had with Juliano. 

As my bub grew, my uterus stretched, which tore parts of the placenta and led to heavy bleeding.

Doctors warned I could suffer a haemorrhage at any moment.

I’d also developed a blood disorder, ITP, which meant my blood wouldn’t clot properly. 

If I haemorrhaged I could lose Sienna, or even my own life.


In hospital seven weeks before my due date, I got up around 2am to go to the bathroom. 

Suddenly, there was blood everywhere. 

Shocked, I hit the panic button. Is this it? I thought, frightened. 

I was stabilised until the morning, when I was taken to theatre for a caesarean.

After Sienna was delivered, I blacked out. 

Afterwards I was told that I’d lost between seven and eight litres of blood in surgery. 

The average person only has around 5.5 litres in their body, so I’d been given donated blood in theatre. 

Surgeons also had to perform a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding.

I’m so grateful to everyone who gave their blood to save my life. 

Now I’m a donor myself, and I’ve even recruited my friends.

It’s my way of saying thank you. 

Blood Donation

➜ Donated blood is versatile. It can be used in up to 22 different medical treatments. Each donation can save up to three lives.

➜ The minimum age for a blood donor is 16, while the maximum age for new donors is 71, with existing donors able to give until their 81st birthday.

➜ To check if you are eligible to donate blood and find out more, visit

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