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‘Normal’ pregnant mum struck by deadly change in ‘five minutes’

A woman has shared how she almost died when she couldn’t get a timely abortion, after the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

Amanda Zurawski, from Austin, Texas, is the latest woman to come forward with harrowing details of how her life was threatened after the court’s controversial ruling four months ago.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Texas woman says she almost died because she couldn’t get abortion.

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The landmark 1973 Roe v Wade had recognised a woman’s constitutional right to abortion and legalised the procedure across the US.

But the court’s June 2022 decision to overturn it effectively restored the ability of American states to prohibit abortion, handing a victory to pro-life advocates.

Women have begun sharing shocking stories about the impact of the bans, and what they have had to do to obtain medically necessary abortions.

Amanda Eid and Josh Zurawski Credit: InstagramAmanda Zurawski says she is lucky to be alive, having been on the brink of death after complications with her unborn daughter, Willow.

Amanda and her husband Josh Zurawski, both now 35, met in 1991 at preschool in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and dated in high school.

“Josh always tells me he’s been in love with me since we were four years old,” Amanda said.

Three years ago, they married in Austin where they both work in high-tech jobs.

They tried to have a family but failed.

Amanda had fertility treatments for a year-and-a-half and finally became pregnant.

“Very excited to share that Baby Zurawski is expected in late January,” Amanda shared on Instagram in July.

The post included a picture of her and her husband in “Mama” and “Dad” hats, Amanda holding a strip of ultrasound photos of their baby girl.

Amanda and Josh Zurawski’s scans of baby Willow. Credit: Instagram“The fact that we were pregnant at all was a miracle, and we were beside ourselves with happiness,” she said.

But then, just 18 weeks into her pregnancy, Amanda’s water broke.

The amniotic fluid her baby depended upon was leaking out – and her doctor told her the baby would not survive.

“We found out that we were going to lose our baby,” Amanda said.

“My cervix was dilating fully, 22 weeks prematurely, and I was inevitably going to miscarry.”

She and Josh begged the doctor to see if there was any way to save the baby.

“I just kept asking, ‘Isn’t there anything we can do?’ And the answer was ‘no’,” Amanda said.

Texas lawsWhen a woman’s water breaks, she’s at high risk for a life-threatening infection.

While Amanda and Josh’s baby was sure to die, she still had a heartbeat.

So doctors said that, under Texas law, they were unable to terminate the pregnancy.

“My doctor said, ‘Well, right now we just have to wait, because we can’t induce labor, even though you’re 100 per cent for sure going to lose your baby’,” Amanda said.

“(They) were unable to do their own jobs because of the way that the laws are written in Texas.”

Amanda Zurawski. Credit: CNNTexas law allows for abortion if the mother “has a life-threatening physical condition aggravated, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that places the female at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function”.

But the state’s lawmakers haven’t spelled out exactly what that means.

And a doctor found to be in violation of the law can face loss of their medical licence and life in jail.

“They’re extremely vague,” said Katie Keith, director of the Health Policy and Law Initiative at Georgetown University Law Center.

“They don’t spell out exactly the situations when an abortion can be provided.”

Amanda Zurawski Credit: FacebookAfter her water broke, Amanda’s doctors sent her home and told her to watch for signs of infection.

Only when she was “considered sick enough” that her life was at risk would they terminate the pregnancy, she said.

“My doctor said it could take hours, it could take days, it could take weeks,” she remembers.

Once they heard “hours”, they decided there was no time to travel to another state for an abortion.

“The nearest ‘sanctuary’ state is at least an eight-hour drive,” Amanda wrote in an online essay on The Meteor.

“Developing sepsis – which can kill quickly – in a car in the middle of the West Texas desert, or 30,000 feet above the ground, is a death sentence.”

Amanda Zurawski and her husband Josh. Credit: CNNSo they waited it out in Texas.

On August 26, three days after her water broke, Amanda found herself shivering in the Texas heat.

“We were having a heat wave, I think it was 105 degrees (40.5C) that day, and I was freezing cold. I was shaking, my teeth were chattering,” she said.

“I was trying to tell Josh that I didn’t feel good, and my teeth were chattering so hard that I could not even get the sentence out.”

Going downhill fastJosh was shocked by his wife’s condition.

“To see in a matter of maybe five minutes, for her to go from a normal temperature to the condition she was in, was really, really scary,” he said.

“Very quickly, she went downhill very, very fast.

“She was in a state I’ve never seen her in.”

Josh rushed his wife to hospital. Her temperature was 102 degrees (38.9C). She was too weak to walk on her own.

Then, her temperature went up to 103 degrees (39.5).

Finally, Amanda was sick enough that the doctors felt legally safe to terminate the pregnancy, she said.

‘Scared I’d lose her’But Amanda was so sick that antibiotics wouldn’t stop the bacterial infection raging through her body.

A blood transfusion didn’t cure her, either.

About 12 hours after her pregnancy was terminated, doctors and nurses flooded her room.

“There’s a lot of commotion, and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ and they said, ‘We’re moving you to the ICU’,” Amanda recalled.

“I said, ‘Why?’ and they said, ‘You’re developing symptoms of sepsis’.”

Sepsis, the body’s extreme response to an infection, is a life-threatening medical emergency.

Amanda’s blood pressure plummeted. Her platelets dropped.

Josh Zurawski was ‘really scared’ he was going to lose his wife. Credit: CNNShe doesn’t remember much from that time.

But Josh does.

“It was really scary to see Amanda crash,” he said.

“I was really scared I was going to lose her.”

Family flew in from across the country because they feared it would be the last time they would see Amanda.

Doctors inserted an intravenous line near her heart to deliver antibiotics and medication to stabilise her blood pressure.

Finally, Amanda turned the corner and survived.

‘That’s not pro-life’But her medical ordeal isn’t over.

Amanda’s uterus suffered scarring from the infection, and she may not be able to have more children.

She had surgery recently to fix the scarring, but it’s unclear whether it will be successful.

That leaves the Zurawskis scared – and furious they might never have a family because of a Texas law.

Josh and Amanda Zurawski Credit: Amanda Zurawski“(This) didn’t have to happen,” Amanda said.

“That’s what’s so infuriating about all of this, is that we didn’t have to – we shouldn’t have had to – go through all of this trauma.”

The Zurawskis say the politicians who voted for the anti-abortion law call themselves “pro-life” – but they don’t see it that way.

“Amanda almost died. That’s not pro-life,” Josh said.

“Amanda will have challenges in the future having more kids. That’s not pro-life.”

His wife added: “Nothing about (this) feels pro-life.”

Concerns for othersIn many ways, Amanda feels fortunate.

She wonders whether she’d be alive if it weren’t for her husband, who took her to hospital and made sure she received the best care possible.

And they have good jobs with good health insurance and they live in a big city with high-quality health care.

“All of these things I had going for me, and still, this was the outcome,” she said.

She and Josh worry about women in rural areas, or poor women, or young, single mothers in states such as Texas.

What would happen to them, considering what happened to Amanda?

“These barbaric laws prevented her from getting any amount of health care when she needed it, until it was at a life-threatening moment,” Josh said.

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