This Mom Says A Simple Blood Test Could Have Avoided Her Baby’s Tragic Death

October 24, 2017
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Pregnant woman have many fears and about two months ago, Brooke Campbell lived out one of them.

The 27-year-old Mother already had a two-year-old son, Noah, with her husband Elliott,34, and the couple were excitedly awaiting their second baby, another boy that they were naming Darcy.

“I was really excited to have another son, a little brother for Noah to play with!” Brooke told Kidspot. “We had moved Noah out of the nursery into his big boy room and I was nesting and pulling out the old baby clothes.”

Her first pregnancy had been smooth sailing and she had no reason to expect this one would be any different.

So, what happened next was a total shock.


On August 28th, at 36 weeks pregnant, Brooke started bleeding. It quickly became a heavy flow and Brooke was rushed to Mater Mother’s Hospital in South Brisbane with her husband by her side.

Brooke lost about 1.7 litres of blood and very nearly lost her life. But the worst news was still to come when Brooke’s OB arrived and performed an ultrasound.

“The doctor looked at the screen and her face was just horrified and she started to cry when I said ‘He doesn’t have a heartbeat does he?’” Brooke recalls.

“I looked at the Ultrasound screen and could see Darcy’s lifeless body just hanging there inside me.”

“It was too late to do anything as he was already gone. I then had to go through labour and delivery knowing my son was going to be stillborn.”

“It’s a vivid picture in my mind that I will never forget,” Brooke said.

Elliott was out of the room for the scan, but when he returned Brooke said he dropped to the floor in tears of shock and grief.

It was obviously a very dark moment for the young couple, the sudden tragedy had hit them out of nowhere and seemed to have happened without warning. It was discovered that Brooke had suffered a placental abruption, the placenta had become separated from the uterine wall leaving Darcy without oxygen.v

Darcy passed away, but he still had to come into the world. Brooke and Elliott decided she would deliver him naturally as she had intended so that she could avoid an unnecessary c-section which might cause future complications.

“It was such a cruel thing going through labour and knowing Darcy would be gone when he came out. It killed me so much but it had to be done,” Brooke said.

I called my younger sister Cara so she could come and take photos of us and Darcy’s birth as Elliot wouldn’t be able to.

“I had gas and air then to progress the labour I needed the Oxytocin drip to and an epidural as I had to go to theatre after for a courette due to the haemorrhaging.

“I felt the need to push over and I just burst into tears knowing what would be coming next.

“Three big pushes and he was out, he was 53 centimetres long and 3.3 kilograms – just like his big brother.

“He looked so healthy and beautiful except he didn’t cry like a newborn, he looked like he was asleep which shattered my heart into many pieces.”

Brooke, Noah and Elliott spent time alone together with baby Darcy, taking turns cuddling him and holding him -sadly making memories of the short time they would have with their much-wanted baby.

“The hospital offered us as much time with Darcy as we wanted so we spent the whole of Monday and Tuesday with him,” Brooke said.

“Darcy even got to stay in our room with a bassinet which had a cooling system that was also provided if we wanted but I refused to let him go and I cuddled him on my chest all of Monday night with my arms wrapped around him.”

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After Darcy passed away, it was discovered that Brooke had a genetic clotting disorder known as Factor V Leiden.

What is Factor V Leiden?

  •  It is the most common cause of primary and recurrent venous thromboembolism in pregnancy.
  • It has has been shown to increase the risk of early onset gestational hypertension and HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, Low Platelets) in pregnancy 
  • It is also associated with severe placental abruption and foetal growth disturbances.
  • It is estimated that one out of every 20 women has FVL but only 10 per cent actually develop symptoms.

Despite the known risks of the relatively common condition, it is not included in the standard pregnancy blood screen. Women will likely only be tested if they have a known family history of the condition, previous thrombosis or recurrent miscarriages or stillbirth. However,  women like Brooke, who have had previous healthy pregnancies are still flying under the radar.

“If this test was a mandatory test for all pregnant women then it would have been picked up and I would have started the Clexane Injections daily to prevent the abruption from happening,” Brooke explained.

“It can be deadly to have FVL and not know about it,  especially on long haul flights as your risk of DVT’S is 35 times more likely and also if you are on birth control it also significantly increases you chances to develop DVT’s which can be fatal.

“I flew to Bali in June at 22 weeks pregnant so I am very lucky to not have gotten a DVT as it was a longer flight and I was pregnant.”

“The pain and suffering we have had to endure through these past couple of months has been horrendous, no parent should ever have to ever bury their healthy child.

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“I feel like I want to be an advocate to all women and parents to get tested for Factor V Leiden, I don’t want people to risk their own lives or the lives of their unborn children,” Brooke said. “I just want to get the message across this disorder does exist and is common and no one even really knows about it until its too late!” 

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