Karisa Bugal was faced with an unfathomable choice when she went into labor on Nov. 3. Choose to save her own life, or the life of her unborn baby.
Doctors discovered the 34-year-old had a rare and unpreventable condition called amniotic fluid embolism.
Dr. Kelly Gerow of the Medical Center of Aurora, Colo., explains, "The amniotic fluids surrounding the baby or part of the baby's skin or hair gets into the mother's bloodstream and that causes catastrophic shutdown of all the organs. We don't know how to prevent it. We don't know how to keep it from happening at all."
Because her son's heart rate began to slow, Bugal had to decide whether to have a C-section to save him or delay in order to live. She chose to ensure his safe delivery.
"Her other option would have been to stay awake for her surgery, but by the time we would have put in a spinal tap or something, it's possible Declan would not have made it," Dr. Gerow tells KUSA-TV.
On Nov. 4, a healthy baby boy named Declan Jay Bugal was born. His loving mother died shortly after. Her last words: "How big is he?"
(Photo Credit: KUSA-TV)
Bugal's husband was understandably devastated. "How do I explain to [Declan] that his mom is gone giving birth to him? I think about that all the time," Wes Bugal said. "How do I explain when he asks, 'Where's Mommy?' Hold on to what you have now because you never know when it's going to be taken away from you."
In memory of Bugal, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up in her name, and it has more than doubled its original goal of $20,000.
Our thoughts go out to the Bugal family for their devastating loss. Hear more of their story on KUSA-TV.