JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More women in the United States are dying during or after childbirth than any other place in the developed world. A recent USA Today study found that every year, more than 50,000 American mothers are severely injured in childbirth and 700 die a year.
The Florida Department of Health has tracked the number of moms dying since 1996 through the Florida Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review Program. It was created to formally track and analyze deaths in the state. The most recent numbers show 29 pregnancy-related deaths in 2016 in Florida. The highest cause according to PAMR is hemorrhaging at nearly 20 percent.
A local mom of two nearly died two years ago because doctors couldn't stop her bleeding after giving birth. Amanda Moreland survived all odds and wasn't surprised the maternal death rate was so high.
Amanda's husband, Tony Moreland, said one doctor described it like a war zone.
"Another doctor was like, 'The only time I have seen this many units of blood given was when I was in the military and a soldier lost his leg,'" said Tony Moreland
But this wasn't the battlefield but instead in a local hospital after the Morelands welcomed their second baby girl, Maddie. She arrived two weeks earlier than the date of Amanda Moreland's scheduled C-section.
"I still had to do all this stuff. I was like, 'Can I get my nails done first?' They were like no, yeah, no," said Amanda Moreland.
Those were the last moments Amanda Moreland remembers clearly before her baby was born. Afterward, many of the weeks that followed were hazy.
"I mean, I say things all the time, and he's(Tony's) like no, that's not how it happened," said Amanda Moreland.
"I let her try to get there. Like she is trying to remember it all still," said Tony Moreland.
Tony Moreland's memory is crystal clear. Because of bleeding problems after Amanda Moreland's first delivery two years earlier, they planned a caesarean section. Just like last time, when Amanda Moreland was rushed away after Maddie was born, Tony Moreland thought she would be OK.
She needed an emergency hysterectomy, but that night her condition changed drastically.
"There's one nurse down there that just couldn't get her vitals to stabilize, and she said, 'I've never seen this before, something just isn't right here,'" said Tony Moreland.
Amanda Moreland's condition worsened. They couldn't get her to stop bleeding, and over the next few days she never fully stabilized.
"July 2 is when things took a turn for the worst, and they said, it's still not stopping. We can tell because she continues to get bloated right here, and that's when they said they are going to put her into a medically-induced coma," said Tony Moreland.
Tony said eventually a doctor suggested an experimental drug.
"It was called NOVO 7. I'll never forget the name of it, and so they said OK. well this is a whim, right. It is either going to work or it's not and so at that point they actually said call all your friends and family," said Tony Moreland.
They even brought in Maddie, who actually did something doctors couldn't.
"There is this mother-daughter connection, and they would like lay Maddie on her, and like you could see at one point her vitals stabilized," said Tony Moreland.
They eventually gave Amanda Moreland the medication. Her blood started clotting again, and she survived surgery. She did continue to have other life-threatening complications, but each time she miraculously recovered. While the Morelands don't blame doctors or the hospital for what happened they're not surprised by the high number of women who die during childbirth.
"I don't know if people are trying to hurry and have babies and they have C-sections or what the deal is. I know that lately most people are having C-sections (rather) than regular delivery. I don't know why that is necessarily," said Amanda Moreland.
Of the maternal deaths in Florida, 76 precent were during or after a C-section, but many of those were unplanned and due to complications.
Amanda Moreland just feels blessed that she survived and truly believes it was a miracle, knowing it's a much different life for the entire family when mom doesn't leave the hospital.