A MOTHER who needed immediate life-saving surgery after the birth of her fifth baby has spoken about her ordeal, to show support for the campaign to retain Withybush Hospital’s services.

Emily Holden had no reason to believe she would not have a straightforward delivery after her previous births.

But she ended up being rushed to the operating theatre after losing more than half the blood in her body when baby Alice made a too-speedy arrival following an induction.

Talking to the Western Telegraph the day after she was discharged from hospital, 33-year-old Mrs Holden said: “It was a devastating experience. Everything went downhill very quickly and there would just not have been time to transfer me to another hospital.

“I really thought I was going to die. It was horrific.

“That’s why it is so vital that consultant-led maternity services are kept at Withybush.

“If I have any more children – and I want a large family -–then I would be in a state of panic at the thought of giving birth in Withybush. There’s no knowing how one’s body is going to react.”

Mrs Holden, of St Florence, has suffered from severe sickness throughout all her pregnancies, and her consultant suggested this time that being induced a fortnight before her due date would lessen her discomfort.

“I jumped at the chance, as you can imagine,” she said.

“Everything was going fine, but then I was unable to control a massive urge to push and Alice was born far too quickly,” she added.

Mrs Holden only had time for a quick cuddle of her 7lb 1oz little girl before being rushed into surgery, leaving husband Christian holding the newborn – sister to eight-year-old Catherine, Clare, six, Gabriel, four and 18-month-old Lucy.

“If that had happened to someone in a couple of months’ time, when key services are downgraded in Withybush, it could have ended in tragedy,” said Mr Holden, who runs a mail order business selling Christian DVDs and books.

“We are sharing our story in the hope it could perhaps make a difference when final decisions are being made.

“The staff at Withybush were fantastic, and it is crucial that they have the support of a full team. To remove that support is going to be disastrous. Who is going to take responsibility when a death occurs?”

Hywel Dda Health Board has always maintained that its services will be safe and sustainable.