Red Cross Memories: Jeremy Nguee

Delivering a child is a joyful yet painful process. It can also be a difficult and scary time for their partners too. This was definitely the case for me. My wife, Liang Shumin, 31 had a close brush with death after developing complications following the delivery of our baby son, Shane. Like all new parents, my wife and I were overwhelmed with joy and emotion at the sight of Baby Shane.

Unfortunately, just as the baby was handed over to the pediatrician, my wife turned breathless and lost her sight. She could see white spots initially but plunged into total darkness later. She was still conscious but was moaning of back aches and neck pains. Our doctor, Dr Beh summoned the anesthetist, Dr Loo, to assist and they quickly moved her to the operating theatre. I learnt that Shumin had lost a lot of blood and needed a blood transfusion.

An hour later, the doctor informed me that Shumin had Amniotic Fluid Embolism, a rare complication where the mother's blood is contaminated with amniotic fluid. The condition deranges normal body functions and prevents the blood from coagulating. It is a complication seen once in ten years and only one in ten mothers survive. The doctors would need to compress her womb or remove it completely to save her life. I was advised to keep his fingers crossed and hope for the best.

I was terrified. I can live without kids but I definitely cannot live without my wife. I was certainly not prepared for the hair tie she dropped in the delivery suite (now fastened to my bracelet) to be my last reminder of her. I was confused and angry. Why did this have to happen?

Just as I was praying for a miracle, I was informed that Dr Beh and the team of doctors and nurses had successfully compressed her womb and stitched up the episiotemy. However, Shumin was still bleeding profusely and the danger was not over as yet. Like a bucket with a hole, you can pour as much blood in but it will still flow out.

After five hours, my wife was eventually moved out of the operating theatre into intensive care. Thirty-seven bags of blood saved Shumin's life.

"I am really thankful to all the blood donors who came forth. Without you, I wouldn't be here today. I have lots to thank you for," acknowledged Shumin."

We owe the blood donors a huge debt. Had it not been for your generosity, effort and diligence in setting aside time to donate blood, we wouldn't be sitting here together as a happy and complete family. I wouldn't have my wife. I wouldn't know how to carry on. Thanks to your kindness and your time, Shane still has a mother and I still have a wife.