CUMMING, Ga. - Sinclair Gay was born on the happiest, most harrowing day of her parents Mary and Jerry Gay's lives.
It was January 4th, the day the Air Force major gained a daughter, and feared he might lose his wife.
"It sort of reminds you of what's important, and how quickly it can all be taken away," Gay says.
Sinclair wasn't due until February 9th.
Jerry Gay was deployed in Qatar, in the Middle East.
But, at her 30-week checkup OB/GYN Dr. Alex Eaccarino noticed something odd.
"He said there is a spot that I see that doesn't look quite normal," Mary Gay remembers.
"Unfortunately a lot of these are missed," says Dr. Eaccarino.
Mary had had three prior caesarian or c-section deliveries, which left behind uterine scarring, raising her risk of a placenta accreta.
Typically, that occurs when the blood vessels of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall, so the placenta can't detach like it should during birth.
"The biggest risk factor to the mom would be the risk of post-partum hemmorhage or uncontrollable bleeding," Dr. Eaccarino.
Mary was told she'd need a c-section, soon.
She was also informed she would likely have to have a hysterectomy to remove all or part of her uterus.
So, Jerry Gay rushed home from the Middle East on emergency leave.
"It's gutwrenching," he says.
The morning of January 4th, Mary was prepped for surgery Northside Forsyth Hospital.
The team inserted several IV lines, including one in her neck, in case they needed to push blood products.
As a precaution, Northside Forsyth had pulled together a large supply of donated blood.
The first part of the operation, the c-section, went suprisingly well.
"Her bleeding was minimal," says Dr. Eaccarino. "It did not actually appear that the placenta accreta was as extensive as we thought."
Mary's team of 3 surgeons decided she wouldn't need a hysterectomy after all.
"We agreed that it would be best to close the patients up and preserve her uterus, which is what we did," says Dr. Eaccarino.
Jerry Gay was in the NICU with Sinclair, when he got a call from Mary's surgical nurse.
She told him Mary was doing well and being moved to the recovery area.
"And at that point, I am ecstatic," Major Gay says. "Because this is best case scenario."
But as Mary woke up from the anesthesia, she was in severe pain.
Her nurse noticed the problem.
"She very quickly realized, 'You're bleeding too much,'" Mary says. "And she got my doctor back in there really quickly and the anesthesiologist back into the OR."
Mary was now hemmorhaging.
She needed more than 30 units of blood to replace the blood she was losing.
Yet, because the team was prepared, the surgeons were were able to stop the bleeding, and remove part of Mary's uterus.
"It was the longest hour and a half of my life," Jerry Gay says."
Mary woke up in the ICU, on a ventilator.
The first thing she asked for was to see Sinclair, her baby.
"I don't think you can go things like that and have it not change you. I appreciate things a lot more."
The Gays says they are grateful for Dr. Eaccarino and the team at Northside Forsyth.
They're also thankful for dozens of strangers who gave blood, unaware Mary Gay's life would one day depend on it.
"A lot of family and friends have said what can they do for us," says Mary Gay. "And I've said, 'Just go donate blood.'"
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