I live in constant fear I could die at any moment after doctors shook me back to life during labour

A MUM whose heart stopped during labour has told how she now lives in constant fear of dying.

Michelle Brooks had to be "shaken back to life" by doctors when she collapsed while delivering her daughter.

The 27-year-old had developed a rare condition in her third trimester, which causes clotting in the liver and blood.

It is called Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelets (HELLP), and is fatal in a quarter of cases.

The mum-of-five had been rushed to hospital when she developed high blood pressure, vomiting and fatigue.

And then while having her daughter, Honey, she kept losing consciousness and her heart stopped for two minutes.

Mum and baby survived the ordeal, but now Michelle lives in fear of a deadly fit at any moment.

She said: ''I feel like I'm living as a ticking time bomb.

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"The condition has no symptoms after I have given birth so I could die at any point.

"I'm under close observation and my blood pressure is slowly going down which is good news.

"It's so rare there is no medication for it. They call it a silent killer.''

Seven month pregnant Michelle first started feeling chest pains – but her midwife assumed it was heartburn and told her to get some rest.

But she woke up at 2am unable to breathe and suffering an intense headache, vomiting and extreme fatigue.

Her mum, Debbie Brooks, 50, drove her to hospital while she screamed from the "excruciating pain".

She said: "All the symptoms hit me completely out of the blue.

"Doctors thought that I had pre-eclampsia and they had to deliver my little girl, Honey, as quickly as possible.

"Minutes into labour my heart stopped beating.

"I officially died for a few minutes, and I had to be brought back to life."


The mum says she doesn't remember anything from the birth, and was convinced she would die.

Michelle described the pain she was in as ten times worse than labour, as doctors had to keep her conscious to give birth.

She spent a week in the hospital recovering before doctors revealed that she had actually been suffered from HELLP syndrome the entire time.

HELLP has no symptoms after birth and doctors have warned Michelle could fit and die at any moment.

The busy mum had to stay on bed rest to keep her blood pressure down, leaving her partner Perry, 27, to look after their five children.

She is now struggling to juggle looking after her children – Bridget, nine, Mia, five, Rhys, four, Jack, two and new baby Honey.

What is HELLP?

HELLP syndrome is a rare liver and blood clotting disorder that can affect pregnant women. 

It's most likely to occur immediately after the baby is delivered, but can appear any time after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and in rare cases before 20 weeks.

The letters in the name HELLP stand for each part of the condition:

  • "H" is for haemolysis – this is where the red blood cells in the blood break down
  • "EL" is for elevated liver enzymes (proteins) – a high number of enzymes in the liver is a sign of liver damage
  • "LP" is for low platelet count – platelets are substances in the blood that help it clot

HELLP syndrome is potentially as dangerous as eclampsia, and is slightly more common.

The only way to treat the condition is to deliver the baby as soon as possible.

Michelle said: "It was terrifying and came out of nowhere and now I'm living while constantly fearing death.

"It's giving me dreadful anxiety that I could just drop down dead at any moment.

''They said I have only a 45 per cent chance survival rate – it's awful.

"Thankfully my partner is doing a huge amount; he's doing really well.

"It's so rare I would never have thought my chest pains could be something so serious.

"But I want to help other women spot the signs and symptoms that I experienced.

"Slowly but surely, I'm getting back on my feet.

"I have good days and bad days but overall, I'm doing better and hopeful for the future."

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