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A mum-to-be felt like a “ticking time bomb” after doctors spotted a brain aneurysm that could burst and kill her at any moment.
Sarah Pilgrim was 34 weeks pregnant when she began waking up with severe headaches.
She feared it was pre-eclampsia – a rare pregnancy complication – but all the tests came back negative until an MRI scan revealed a bleed on the brain.
The 31-year-old was rushed to hospital where she was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation, an unusual tangle of blood vessels.
Doctors suspected Sarah was born with the condition and the change in her blood pressure while pregnant expanded the vessels, potentially causing a brain bleed.
Medics had no choice but to perform an emergency C-section, delivering little Sydney at 36 weeks.
Sarah then had a 10-hour operation to remove the cluster of blood vessels.
The stay-at-home mum, who with partner David already had two children – Dexter, three, and 10-year-old Harvey – said: “At 34 weeks, I suddenly developed terrible headaches.
“It was terrifying, aneurysms can be unpredictable, so the doctors had to act fast.
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“I was a ticking time bomb – I could have died at any moment.
“But I feel lucky it was caught in time and my little boy arrived safe.”
Sarah was kept in intensive care and finally reunited with Sydney two days after surgery.
Now, 14 weeks on, the pair are both home and doing well.
Sarah, of Attleborough, Norwich, is sharing her story to raise awareness of AVM and encourage others to have worrying symptoms checked out.
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She said: “I know someone who had a brain aneurysm and died. It’s really important to listen to your body if something doesn’t feel right.
“I feel very lucky that I’m here and that Sydney is too – I won’t take life for granted.”
- In the News
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