“I nearly bled to death in a public toilet!”

Vanessa Tay was bleeding so profusely from placenta praevia, she was warned she might not survive labour…


“At 20 weeks, I was officially diagnosed with placenta praevia, and major placenta praevia four weeks later. It wasn’t spotting by then but gushes of blood. When a woman bleeds from the twentieth week of pregnancy, it can be fatal for both mother and baby.

As I had to visit the hospital frequently, I felt really weak and exhausted all the time. Explaining that mine was a severe, life-threatening case of placenta praevia, my obstetrician suggested that I quit my job as I needed complete bed rest to save my pregnancy. I did everything in bed — when I needed to visit the toilet, I carried an alarm with me or had someone accompany me, in case I fainted or started bleeding.

Initially scared to see a pool of blood staining my bed, my daughters Joy and Jaz soon took it in their stride. They even joined me in my room on their return from school daily — their presence helped me keep my mind away from my perilous condition. I was scared and depressed, but my friends and family bolstered my spirits, bringing me food and tonics, keeping me in their prayers and offering to donate their blood. Even though my husband, John, had to travel often for work, he was a pillar of strength.

"My parents and sister took care of Joy and Jaz when I was unable to. Every check-up visit to the obstetrician was a heart-thumping experience and a blessing when my obstetrician announced that my baby boy was doing fine.