As the date of July 16 approached this year, Kala Breder found herself struggling.
“The week leading up to that day was really hard. I started having panic attacks and just kept playing that day through my head over and over,” she shared.
A year prior, she welcomed her son, Channing. Although she was looking forward to celebrating his first birthday, she couldn’t help but have mixed emotions from that day because it was also the day she almost lost her life.
We first shared Breder’s story last November. You can view that story here. We sat down recently to follow up with her.
When Breder was 33 weeks pregnant, she experienced some complications with her pregnancy and was hospitalized for observation. On the day she was to be released, she had a conversation with her OB/GYN physician, Dr. Jean Alexandre, with Quincy Medical Group (QMG) about a recurring dream she couldn’t get out of her mind.
“I had kept having this dream where I hemorrhaged and my daughter found me. The dreams were so real that I even trained my daughter to call 911 to help if something would happen,” Breder recalled. “I also dreamt that my husband found me and he couldn’t wake me.”
Breder told herself it was just a dream, but felt she needed to share her fears with Dr. Alexandre.
“He didn’t disregard me or look at me like I was silly. I felt comfortable enough to bring it up to him and he took it seriously,” she said. “He decided to keep me another night.”
Later that evening, an ultrasound showed her baby was in distress and at midnight Dr. Alexandre delivered Channing via C-section at 12:12 a.m. on July 16, 2020. He was flown to St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Breder stayed behind to heal.
As Kala continued to recover that day, she got up to use the restroom with the help of a nurse and passed out. She was rushed into the operating room for emergency surgery. There, doctors discovered she was experiencing internal bleeding.
Kala underwent a major life-saving procedure that included Dr. Alexandre, QMG General Surgeon Dr. Todd Petty, QMG OB/GYN Physician Dr. Obioma Maduakor, and assistance from the Quincy Anesthesia Associates specialists.
“The team here had exhausted all of the blood resources within 45 miles of Quincy and it took 32 units of blood before I was stable enough to fly,” she shared.
She was flown to St. Louis, where she would recover in the same city as Channing.
“When I woke up in the ICU, I wrote a note. I was on a ventilator and couldn’t talk, and one of my first questions was ‘Is Dr. Alexandre coming to St. Louis to finish the surgery?’ because I didn’t want anyone else in the world to work on me. I had complete faith in him and that he would do what was right for my baby and me.”
After she came off the ventilator, her first call was to Dr. Alexandre.
“I thought it was Friday and I would catch him before he got his day started. It was 7:30 a.m. and it was actually Saturday, but he answered. I wanted him to know I was ok,” she said.
He didn’t believe it, he had to see it for himself.
“Later that day, I heard a knock on the door and it was Dr. Alexandre. He wanted to see me for himself and see that I was ok. He stayed a short time, but that meant the world to me.”
Reflecting back on that day, Breder said she still struggles with the experience of that day.
“As I approached the one-year mark of the day, I see life differently. I value life more, but I also have survivor’s guilt. I often ask ‘Why me? Why did I survive?’ There’s a lot of tragedy in our community in our world, and I ended up ok.”
Though those feelings creep in from time to time, a year later she is more filled with gratitude for all those who helped her and she wanted to pay it forward.
On Good Friday of 2021 and July 16, 2021, she hosted blood drives to thank those who saved her life with their blood donations and to also provide life-saving blood for those who need it, like she did.
Her goal was to collect 32 units. She collected 34.
She plans to continue to pay it forward to help others and remain grateful for all those who helped her in her time of need, especially Dr. Alexandre.
“He had a huge role in getting me through this. He did everything in his power to help me and I won’t ever forget that. He is my angel here on Earth.”