Trigger Warning: This birth story discusses trauma, topics discussed include emergency caesarean, pre-eclampsia, premature birth, NICU and PTSD. If you are triggered by these topics you may wish to skip this blog or read it once you have support available. If you are seeking support for your birth trauma, you may wish to contact our Peer Support Service.
Tilly went into her pregnancy with known risks, she had type 1 diabetes and at roughly 22 weeks or 6 ½ months into her pregnancy she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. As a result of this at 33 weeks she was moved to a hospital an hour away from where she lived; however, this hospital didn’t feel like it could adequately care for Tilly and her unborn baby resulting in her being airlifted Canberra.
Tilly expressed to hospital staff that she was struggling to breathe, her chest was heavy, but it would take 5 hours before a chest X-ray was performed. Tilly had fluid on her lungs which resulted in a category 1 emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic. After being told she needed an emergency caesarean at approximately 11.30am in the morning, her baby wasn’t born until 4.18pm that day; she spent hours alone in a room waiting, struggling to breathe.
Going into her caesarean, Tilly was uncomfortable and scared, she had never been put under before and she was already unable to breathe. After being intubated everything is blank until waking up alone in ICU. What happened during that time was a code blue; Tilly stopped breathing. A lot happened during her caesarean including her son being born unresponsive. It would be 24 hours before she got to meet him in NICU followed by stints in two different special care nurseries.
Whilst Tilly and her son are both home and healthy now, she is suffering from lasting psychological effects. Tilly felt as though she wasn’t being listened too, no one was showing her that what she said was being heard. Even after the birth, care and compassion wasn’t shown. Her birthing choices were taken away from her, and then out of nowhere she was told not to go back and have another baby. A conversation that should have been done with care and compassion was done the same way as telling someone no more coffee for the day. For Tilly her choices were taken away from her, she wasn’t consulted or spoken to but told and spoken at.
Tilly has chosen to share her story with the Australasian Birth Trauma Association with the hopes of raising awareness and highlighting the last consequences, in her case its Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If you would like to connect with a person who has experienced birth-related trauma, please contact our Peer2Peer Support service to connect with one of our Peer Mentors.