The devastated family of a woman who died shortly after giving birth have shared a heartbreaking image of her last moments of life.
Amber Pendlebury suffered a fatal heart attack after her baby boy Maxwell Lee was born under general anesthetic
The 41-year-old was placed on life-support as soon as she woke up after taking two rapid cardiac arrests but tragically she could not be saved.
Her mum, Vida Pendlebury-Atherton, 71, said she had been living through a “nightmare” following the tragic news of her daughter’s death in early February, Yorkshire Live reports.
The former sales manager said that, days before her death, Amber had been very positive about her pregnancy and had “prepared everything” for the arrival of her third child.
But just after tiny Maxwell Lee was born, Amber cried out “I can’t breathe” and collapsed, before medics frantically whisked her away for emergency treatment.
Amber passed away on February 1, with her grief-stricken mother still shocked at the nature and speed of her unfortunate death.
Vida said: “I just feel like it’s a nightmare and I’m going to wake up at some point. It’s so, so sad.
“How can a healthy person with a healthy pregnancy go to have a baby and not come out of it?”
It had been a wonderful surprise for the family when they first found out that Amber, from Wakefield, was pregnant with her partner Ben Reeder, 36, in 2021.
Amber, who already had two children from a previous relationship, aged 13 and 18, was well prepared for the arrival of her third baby.
She was admitted to Pinderfields Hospital for the birth on January 25.
Mum Vida said: “At her age, we were really surprised, but then we were delighted. We found out it was going to be a little boy, and they were so looking forward to it.
“She prepared everything for him: a cradle downstairs and a cradle upstairs.
“She was supposed to go in for a c-section in the morning, and when she got there, she decided she wanted to do a natural birth.
“So they induced her, but she’d been on the drip for the inducement for at least ten hours, and she was only 4cm dilated, which is not good.
“They later said they’d have to do a caesarian section, but said they’d have to put her to sleep while they did it.”
Doctors were bringing the mum round when she had a series of sudden heart attacks and never caught a glimpse of her baby before she collapsed.
Vida added: “Doctors delivered the little baby, who was 6 pounds, 2 ounces. But she never saw him, as when she woke up, she said, ‘I ca n’t breathe, I ca n’t breathe! My chest is on fire, my chest is on fire!”
“That’s all her partner heard her say, and then she was whisked away.”
On January 26, the family received the news that Amber was on a life support machine.
“The first we knew that Amber was poorly was when we got a phone call to go up to the hospital as she was very unwell and wasn’t expected to last the night,” Vida said.
“That was about seven o’clock in the evening. It was unbelievable to get that news. It was like, ‘What’s happened?’”
Vida was the last person to leave her daughter’s bedside before medics switched off her life support machine a few days later.
She continued: “There was only one day where we weren’t able to go because of Covid, but we saw her every day apart from that, and I was the last to leave her.
“I couldn’t stay and watch the machine be switched off. I just couldn’t do it, and it was so hard to leave her”.
Vida and her husband will now do what they can to support baby Maxwell Lee and his dad.
She said: “She loved him, and it’s only fitting that he should bring his little boy up. But obviously we’ll be there as grandparents to give help and advice.
“Max was my 19th grandchild, and we’ve had all those other births, and we just didn’t expect in this day and age that women die in childbirth. It just doesn’t seem right.”
An inquest has been launched following Amber’s death, with a post-mortem investigation due to reveal the reason why the healthy mum passed away.
It’s understood Pinderfields Hospital, where Amber was treated, is also conducting its own investigation.
The hospital trust has been approached for comment.
Now Vida is raising money, with the hope of reaching £3000, so that Amber can be buried in a cemetery close to where she lives.
Those who wish to donate can do so here.
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