Skip To Content

A Mother, Doctor and Blood Recipient's Thank You

Marci understood the need for blood donation as a blood donor and as an ob-gyn. With the birth of her second son, she gained a more personal perspective. Marci recently spoke to thank and inspire a group of Vitalant volunteer blood drive coordinators. This is her story in her own words: 

“I’m an ob-gyn and I was pregnant about to deliver my second baby, Noah. My pregnancy was completely uncomplicated. Healthy, active, there was no reason to believe that I would have anything less than a beautifully perfect, uncomplicated delivery. The type-A person in me who needed everything controlled and planned, I scheduled an induction for myself with a colleague and a dear friend of mine…it was a beautiful day."

Everything Seemed Fine

"My labor was progressing as it should and even my doctor just stepped away to go grab some dinner. Everything was fine. My water broke and the baby’s heartrate went down to a scary level. Being a doctor, I just flipped out of patient mode into doctor mode, helped the nurse do all the things we normally do for patients in this situation: IV fluids, give myself oxygen, change positions. 
When it became apparent that his heart rate wasn’t going to come up, she called another doctor. He assessed and said, ‘this baby needs to come right now.’ I delivered my beautiful, healthy baby boy…by this time they had called my doctor back to the hospital. She took over and again, everything seemed fine, all the usual things…I was snuggled up with my baby…then things went really sideways.'   

Something Was Wrong

Marci Peralto with baby Noah.


"I had this feeling that something was wrong. The team gave us our space, this is the ‘golden hour’ this is the time you’re supposed to be focused on your baby. I said ‘nope, I need you to call my doctor back in. Something is really wrong.’ She came in and assessed the situation and pretty quickly it was apparent that I was bleeding too much. Again, I flip into doctor mode, I start helping her with things, I hand off the baby to my husband. They decided I needed to go to the operating room. I was reassuring everybody around me because I knew exactly what was happening, this was a very familiar situation. I’m getting wheeled down the hallway to the operating room, I pass my mom and older son who was then three in the hallway. They were on their way to meet the new baby. I remember his face. He was confused and terrified. I was like ‘Mommy will be right back. Everything’s ok. Just go meet the baby.’'

From Concerning to Critical

"I got into the operating room, all very familiar for me. I delivered hundreds of babies, did tons of surgeries in that same operating room. But I’m looking at it from the bed, looking up at the ceiling. That feeling that something was really wrong continued. All of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe. I started to cough. I will never forget that feeling of a splash on my feet and I told the charge nurse. ‘You need to stop; somebody needs to check under the blankets. Why are my feet wet?’ They lifted the blanket up and I was in a pool of blood. Things went from concerning to extremely critical at that point and they called a code white. Everybody was moving quickly. A code white alerts many more people, more doctors, the blood bank, the lab, there’s more resources, more people. It was chaos. There was so much noise, but this overwhelming feeling of calm was starting to come over me, which I thought, ‘oh, I’m going into my Zen place,’ Well, I was actually going into shock. I remember looking around, seeing all the people who were there taking care of me. I don’t remember much after that. Then they put me to sleep."

Understanding What Happened

"I woke up in the ICU four-hours later, on a ventilator. My husband was there, I signaled to him with my hand. I had questions I needed to figure out what happened…I was flipping back into doctor mode again. He gave me a pen and paper, I started writing down asking ’What happened, how much blood, how much blood did I get transfused,’ all of these things. He explained to me that I had had an amniotic fluid embolism which, is very uncommon, and it carries about a 50% mortality and the main treatment for it is blood transfusion. He explained I had received almost 30 units of blood and blood products and that I had a hysterectomy and that I wasn’t able to breathe on my own at that time." 

A New Lease on Life

"Eventually about 24 hours later I was out of the ICU and reunited with my family and the rest of my recover was pretty uneventful, I rocked that. On day five, after my delivery and my surgery, I was discharged from the hospital. Most women are wheeled out the hospital in a wheelchair. I was determined to walk out the door because I was alive. Very slowly, I walked out of the hospital doors and then my recovery really started, but I had a new lease on life, a second chance to be these boys’ mom and to be a doctor.

Blood donors and blood donation allow me to be there for birthdays, first days of school, homeruns, gold medals at swim meets and all of the things that are yet to come. It really does matter, so thank you.”

Watch excerpts as Marci shares her story with Vitalant volunteer blood drive coordinators. 
Share your story about your connection to blood donation.