"I shouldn't be here - it's just incredible what they did. They saved my life."

Those are the words of mum of six Helen Jarman who almost died after she'd given birth to her baby girl, Elfa, at York Hospital on January 17.

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Helen said she had given birth to Elfa, who weighed a healthy nine pounds ten ounces and everything went well. It was only afterwards, when she had gone on to the labour ward, that she started to get a lot of pain.

"The midwife took my blood pressure and it was dangerously low. They called the crash team immediately and I was rushed into theatre. It was a massive internal bleed," said Helen.

"I had lost pretty much all of my blood - ten pints - into my abdomen.

"They think I had a slow bleed on the aorta going into my ovary. It's incredibly rare, we've only been able to find 25 other cases where this has happened and in most of those cases it didn't end well for the people involved."

York Press: Helen Jarman in her hospital bedHelen Jarman in her hospital bed (Image: Helen Jarman)

The day of Helen's emergency operation there were nurses strikes at the hospital, but Helen, who is herself a nurse, said the care she received could not have been better.

"York Hospital saved my life. I've been told I had about 25 people working on me. They brought me back to life, they were amazing. I just want to say thank you to them, from the surgeons to ICT to the after care I have had, I can't thank them all enough.

"I'm just grateful that I'm still here really."

Helen was discharged from hospital after a week and has been left with a scar right down her front from from under her breast to below her waist.

The 38-year-old, who used to work at the hospital and now works at The Chocolate Works Care Village, is a mum to Stanley, eight, Effie, six, five-year-old Bertie, Merlin, three, Clementine, one and baby Elfa.

Along with husband, Oliver, 36, who is a teacher at Wetherby High School, the family live in Church Fenton near Tadcaster.

Asked about the strike action, Helen said: "I can see why nurses are doing it. I don't think nurses are paid enough or get the recognition they deserve. It is an absolute last resort to go on strike."

Bev Waterhouse, deputy head of midwifery at York Hospital, said: “I am incredibly proud to work with a team of highly skilled professionals. Midwives provide a range of care to our families and are trained to recognise problems and act rapidly if they occur.

“In this case our staff responded promptly, and we are delighted to hear that Helen and her little girl are doing well.”