Birth Stories, Next Birth After Trauma

Thanks to ABTA, I was able to get the support I needed – Penny’s postnatal mental health journey

Penny after giving birth to her daughter Paige ABTA helped her deal with her birth trauma.

At the delivery of my 2nd daughter Paige Abbigale, after a very quick induction due to my GD at 38 + 3 weeks, we were faced with an umbilical cord prolapse, which turned into a medical emergency with both my life and the life of my daughter in the hands of my OBGYN. One minute I was going to be rushed for an emergency c-section, but no time, I had to push. All I remember is the room filling with people, I kept asking if my baby was okay, and no one gave me an answer. When she was delivered she was blue, and not breathing and she was rushed over to the incubator. I was told we would have to be taken to the RWCH in Brisbane as they felt she may have been without oxygen for some time and may need special treatment to preserve any brain injury. I just remember lying there being stitched up, and just thinking we just have to do what we can and that everything will be okay. I prayed and prayed. I remember the look on my poor husband’s face, horrified at what had just happened and what we may face now. I also remember asking my midwife to call my Mum, as I needed her, I was scared…

Fast forward about 2hrs Paige was in the special care nursery, and she was her mothers Daugher, she was a strong fighter too.. her Apgar score, which was not so good at birth, improved, and her vitals stabilized and I was able to go and hold her for the first time.. Our Peads doctor said we weren’t out of the woods yet, but if she keeps improving we may not have to go to Brisbane. I sat with my little Paige (2.8kg) in my arms (with all the cords dangled around us) for hours, just held her, and just loved her.. 6hrs later she doing better, I remember feeding her on and off trying to get as much colostrum into her as possible.. she was so small but mighty!!

After many tests, brain scans, hearing tests,blood tests she was diagnosed with Mild Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which would mean monthly check in’s with Dr’s, Physio for the first 6 months of her life but, by some miracle we were given the all clear and we were both discharged from hospital 4 days later. I was so so blessed to be going home with my girl.. still in shock of what happened, but being the strong person I was, just put all the energy I had into Paige and giving her all the things she needed to thrive!!

About a week into being home, my mental health took a turn, and although I was surrounded by family, lots of love and thier support. I still felt in shock about we went though, and didn’t understand why or how? So scrolling the internet at the wee hours of the morning in between feeds, I found the Australasian Birth Trauma Association – ABTA. I am so thankful I did, as in the moments of dispare and feeling so alone with my newborn, I was able read about Birth Trauma, and understand my birth experience more. I was able to talk through my thoughts, questions, and fears, I was able to get the support I needed. I knew I was not alone..

So many woman face and experience Birth Trauma and find it hard to relive, talk, share or seek the help they need. We need to change the way Birth Trauma is talked about, we need to change the way women are left feeling after the fact and even though 16 months later it still brings me to tears thinking about it, I am speaking up to help other women know it’s okay not to be okay, and to speak up and share!

Healthy and happy Paige (19 months old)after a stay in NICU

Paige is also now almost 19months old and is so sweet, cheeky and sassy as ever! She has had regular checkups in her 1st year of life and is happy and healthy beautiful little soul.

A big thank you also to Buderim Private Hospital the staff were so so amazing & Dr. George Bogiatzis who is THE best OBGYN in Australia.

If you or a love one need support, there is help available.



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