Rare medical problem risked lives of woman, unborn child

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A rare complication of pregnancy almost cost one Summerville man his pregnant wife and their soon-to-be-born daughter.

"We had got called out for a possible drowning," said Joe Pirkel with the Dorchester County EMS.

Emergency responders remember the call that December morning at the Summerville home of Amber and Max Easton.  

Max had been on his way home when his wife called.  She wasn't feeling well. Inside he found Amber drowning in the bathtub. She had had a seizure and fallen head first into a bathtub full of water.

He pulled her out and started CPR. "I could tell she was breathing. Her chest was going up and down and you could hear gurgling."

Max was close to losing both his wife and baby. Amber was eight months pregnant.

First responders rushed her to the hospital where doctors told Max the odds were not good.

"They weren't optimistic at all," Max said.

But doctors managed to stabilize Amber, then turned their attention to the baby. Their daughter, little Ever, was taken early by C-section and sent to intensive care. Amber was on a ventilator and would lie in intensive care for over a week.

On Christmas Eve, Amber was well enough to hold her baby girl for the first time. It was news the emergency responders were waiting to hear.

"That was a pretty good feeling. We were on duty that night; just to know we were able to make a difference in someone else's life is pretty amazing," said Jason Jasgur with the Old Fort Fire Department.

Their reunion was quite different from the first meeting when these emergency responders arrived at the Easton's home.  That had been a very close call.

"Even just if there had been a difference in literally just a minute, you know we both could not be here," Amber said.
Amber's seizure was the result of a pregnancy complication -- preeclampsia -- which involved sky-high blood pressure. The danger for both Amber and her baby is something she thinks about every day. Yet it's given her perspective, especially at work at the very hospital where she was saved.

"I think it's made me a better nurse in labor and delivery," she said.
Amber can help just about any mother with pregnancy jitters because her own story is remarkable and her baby is nothing short of a miracle, thanks to a quick-thinking husband, her team of doctors and capable first responders.  

"We're just glad we could be part of that," Jasgur said.

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