I was nearly nine months pregnant and had just fed my 2-year-old daughter breakfast when I began bleeding profusely. I drove to the hospital and underwent an epidural for a C-section, which was my last memory until I woke up six days later in the intensive care unit and asked whether I was still pregnant. I wasn’t – my son, Jacob, had been born healthy. But shortly after the delivery, my lungs shut down, my heart stopped beating and my blood pressure dropped to zero: I was dead on the table for 37 seconds. I had suffered an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), the leading cause of maternal death worldwide.

When I learned what had happened, I wasn’t surprised. A little more than 20 weeks into my pregnancy, I learned I had a complete placenta previa. Despite an otherwise...

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