A team of doctors and nurses work diligently to keep her alive.
Two nurses repeatedly try to get IV lines into the veins in her arms, which have collapsed from the severity of the blood loss.
A consultant attempts to stop the bleed via bimanual compression of the uterus. There is no time for anything other than emergency protocol.
Drugs are administered via needles and an oxygen mask covers her face. The sound of the emergency call bell rings loud and clear, amidst voices reeling off stats and equipment requests.
For the patient, the pain is unbearable as she drifts in and out of consciousness.
Once she is stabilised, the overall blood loss is calculated. She has lost half of her overall blood volume; without notice and in the space of just a couple of minutes. Her heart rate is twice what it should be and her haemoglobin level is halved. She is breathless, dizzy and in shock. The pain is still searing.
Once the imminent threat of death has passed, the team set to work on updating hospital notes. A nurse hovers and beams at the new mother:
The word rings out into a hollow space. A celebration amidst desolation.
Hours later, in the dead of night and in the room marked "Recovery", the woman turns her head to look at her newborn baby, sleeping beside her in the hospital cot. She doesn't reach for her, or stroke her face. She knows she doesn't have the strength. Instead, she waits. In shock. Until the world wakes up and help comes.
Surely, help must be coming.
Soon enough, they wheel her out of "Recovery" and instead, to the maternity ward. It seems that she has used up her allocated allowance of recovery time...
The doctors and nurses who come to check the baby are smiling. They make jokes about how she took her time, about how pudgy her cheeks are, about how much she looks like mum.
The word echoes; it bounces off white hospital walls into emptiness, into nothing.