A Pregnancy Like None Other

Katie Hayes holding her newborn son, Benjamin Henry, at
UH MacDonald Women's Hospital. 

Two years ago, at just 18-weeks, Katie Hayes suffered a sudden miscarriage, losing her second child and a significant amount of blood in the process. In the weeks that followed, she continued to experience heavy, unexplainable bleeding. Despite multiple D&C procedures, the bleeding kept recurring, culminating with an emergency transfer to UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital.

"During the ambulance ride, she hemorrhaged," explained her husband, Sean. "She lost 25 percent of her blood within an hour." Katie was later diagnosed with placenta accreta, a life-threatening condition in which all or part of the placenta remains embedded in the uterine wall causing massive blood loss.

"I was hosting resident graduation when I got the call that a patient with postpartum bleeding was being transferred from UH St. John Medical Center," recalled James Liu, MD, Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "Standard treatment was a hysterectomy, but without her uterus she wouldn’t be able to have more kids." After meeting with Katie and Sean, a specially trained radiology team salvaged hope for a future pregnancy by performing a uterine artery embolization, halting the blood flow in the uterus.

Months later, however, an ultrasound confirmed Katie had significant scar tissue causing infertility. But Dr. Liu had an idea – he had developed an innovative procedure to regrow uterine lining from a patient’s own stem cells. "UH is the only hospital in the country doing this," said Dr. Liu. "It has about a 40 percent success rate, which doesn’t sound very high, but anywhere else you have no chance at all."

Katie and Sean took that chance and by the end of 2016 learned they were pregnant.

The next nine months served as an exciting and stressful time as this pregnancy was considered high-risk. "I am so glad that UH is a teaching hospital – having another kid is not something we thought we would be able to do," Katie remarked.

Without any complications, Benjamin Henry was born on July 2, 2017 at UH MacDonald Women's Hospital. But unfortunately after her healthy baby boy was born, Katie experienced heavy bleeding and was quickly rushed to the operating room. Ultimately diagnosed again with placenta accreta, the 33-year-old mother had a hysterectomy. "It was an easy decision for me," Katie explains. "I only wanted two children and now I have a healthy girl and boy. I am so thankful for the doctors here. If we didn’t live so close to Cleveland and to UH, I doubt I would be alive."

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