A first-time mom has died during emergency surgery after delivering twins.
Sara Sewald, 26, had been diagnosed weeks ago with pre-eclampsia, the same pregnancy-related blood pressure disorder that Beyoncé survived while pregnant with twins Sir and Rumi.
Hours after giving birth on May 29, doctors at a hospital in Colorado Springs said Sewald needed emergency surgery to fix ‘a bit of bleeding,’ her partner of three years and father of her son and daughter, Dustin Sisneros, told KKTV.
Doctors initially said it was a simple procedure, but her condition rapidly deteriorated.
Sisneros is still not sure exactly what happened, or what questions to ask, but was told that surgeons hit complications, and within hours a doctor came to inform him that Sewald didn’t make it.
Tragically, Sewald is one of the scores of women who die of pregnancy complications in the US, which has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world.
Sara Sewald, 26, of Colorado Springs, was pregnant with twins with Dustin Sisneros, her partner of three years
She delivered Charlotte and Ryan on May 29 (pictured shortly after in hospital)
Dustin is now channeling all his energy into caring for his son and daughter while grieving
‘They had mentioned that she had a little bit of bleeding, you know, and they were going to do what they could to stop it,’ Sisneros told KKTV.
‘So you know, I wasn’t really too nervous. They said not to worry, it’s kind of normal and we have it under control.
‘They had to take her back into the ICU and feed her some blood and put her on oxygen.
‘You know, they had sedated her and prepared her for surgery to get her, you know, back to health… unfortunately, it was just a complicated surgery. It’s hard to ask a lot of the details about what had happened.’
Sisneros is channeling his energy into caring for twins Charlotte and Ryan as he tries to take stock of what’s happened.
‘Every time I see them, I tell them their mommy loves them, and they either give me a smile so I know that she’s signifying that she’s watching and she’s in the room with us and she’s right there,’ he told KKTV. ‘It’s just so amazing. I’ll be sure her memory lives on forever.’
Meanwhile, family and friends are rallying around them, with a GoFundMe to raise money for their living costs, and Sara’s funeral costs.
Pre-eclampsia (also known as toxemia) is high blood pressure caused by pregnancy, which can develop into eclampsia, a stroke.
Beyoncé recently revealed she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia during her latest pregnancy, and required an emergency C-section to protect her health, and that of her twins, after doctors spotted one had an irregular heartbeat.
Her words shone fresh light on one of the most common issues driving maternal mortality in the US, and increasingly so.
In the last two years, the American College of Gynecology and Obstetricians has pinpointed pre-eclampsia as one of the most important issues for the industry to tackle as we push to lower the rate of maternal mortality.
Up until the 1990s, the maternal mortality rate in the US was not an outlier.
It was fourth-highest of the developed nations, but all were quite close together.
What happened next was striking.
Sisneros is still not sure exactly what happened, or what questions to ask, but was told that surgeons hit complications, and within hours a doctor came to inform him that Sewald didn’t make it
Sara had been diagnosed weeks ago with pre-eclampsia, the same pregnancy-related blood pressure disorder that Beyoncé survived while pregnant with twins Sir and Rumi
Tragically, Sewald is one of the scores of women who die of pregnancy complications in the US, which has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world
The rate of maternal death started to consistently drop in the UK, Portugal, Germany, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Italy, Denmark and Finland.
By 2015, they all had rates of less than 9.2 mothers dying per 100,000 live births.
In the US, the opposite happened. The rate started climbing from 1990, then shot up in the 2000s.
By 2015, the rate was 26.5 mothers died per 100,000 live births.
That’s closer to the rate in Mexico – 38.9 per 100,000 live births – where 42 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. (What’s more, Mexico’s rate has been plummeting, down 56 percent since the 1990s, putting it on track to eclipse the US if things continue on this trajectory.)
The reasons are multi-faceted – including a push away from using midwives in childbirth, rising rates of C-sections, and poor treatment of minorities.
Last month, ACOG launched a new campaign to curb deaths rates.
Outgoing president Dr Lisa Hollier said: ‘We need to be taking more care, we need to be saying, to every mom, every time, “look, I’m listening, I hear you.”‘