Rasheida Colon was about eight months pregnant when she went to The Rhoads Garden, a flower shop and garden center in North Wales in Montgomery County, to get some plants.
She happily browsed for an hour or two, but when she went to the bathroom, she saw a lot of blood. She turned to other people at the store for help, leaving a trail of blood behind her.
She told them she was 36, pregnant, with a medical condition called placenta previa, where the placenta covers the opening to the cervix, where the baby would come out. The main symptom is heavy bleeding, and the biggest risk is that the bleeding could threaten the life of the mother and child.
“I was even shouting out my blood type just in case I needed to get a blood transfusion,” she said. “I just kept saying, ‘Please, just save my baby.’”
Someone called 911. Shoppers and staff at the store asked her to sit down. She was reluctant; she didn’t want to get blood all over the furniture.
But eventually she sat down and the people around her kept her calm. Somebody got her blankets to be comfortable.
“I couldn’t even speak. I started to lose so much blood. I started getting, like, a little jittery, a little lightheaded.”
She managed to make a video call to her doctor, Dr. Shawn Mattson at Jefferson Abington Hospital, who delivered Colon’s last two children, and happened to be on call that day.
“She’s like, in a pool of blood, essentially,” Mattson recalled. “That amount of bleeding is … dangerous for her. It’s dangerous for the baby.”
Colon had to get to a hospital, fast. The people in the store were chiming in to try and help.
“Women are kind of like popping out from behind her and they’re like, ‘Okay, where do you want us to take her? Like we called an ambulance. What should we do? You want to go to Abington? What about Lansdale?’”
An ambulance took her to Jefferson Abington Hospital because it happened to be the closest one. Mattson knew she was coming and alerted hospital staff. Normally, a patient with a placenta previa does not have a natural birth, but would get a scheduled C-section, because if the baby goes through the cervix in that situation, it would cause catastrophic bleeding, Mattson said.
Colon and the baby were both okay, but she was bleeding heavily, so Mattson took her for an emergency C-section despite it being a preterm birth, eight months into the pregnancy.
“What could have been a really catastrophic outcome actually ended up from an obstetric, an emergency situation, she did really well,” Mattson said, crediting “the total strangers that … came to her rescue … to help her in this very traumatic moment, to help her remain calm and get her safely to a hospital and just like take good care of her.”
Colon said the people in the store were “there at the right place at the right time. They literally saved my life because it could have been so bad.”
The day after she delivered her baby, she got a phone call from Mike Kratz, the general manager of The Rhoads Garden. They had sent her some flowers, a gift basket, and a gift card. Kratz gave gift certificates to the two shoppers at the store that day who helped out.
“It’s … a feel good situation that we could do something to help somebody that’s in distress and have such a wonderful outcome,” he said, noting that he had never seen anything like that in more than 40 years working at the store.
Colon and the baby are home with the rest of the family, and both are doing well. She recently went back to The Rhoads Garden to finally get her shopping done.
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