Why I wish babies were delivered by stork

by 21stcenturymummy on August 21, 2010

Delivering a girl

Whoever said having a baby was easy? Actually, I’m not sure anyone did, although some mums seem to pop babies out almost like they’re delivering letters.

Giving birth is supposed to be the best day of your life, but for many women, it’s the complete opposite. Here is my birth story.

I had no idea giving birth could be so traumatic. I pretty much sailed through my pregnancy with my daughter. Things only went wrong when I went into hospital to be induced, 10 days overdue. The induction worked very quickly, but the labour triggered off a sort of pre-eclampsia, that I know now was called HELLP syndrome. It was missed by the so-called “health professionals”. I ended up having an emergency c-section. They had to knock me out as I thought I could feel them cutting me open. My daughter was born weighing only 2.2kg. She was a tiny bundle of skin and bones. After a few hours she was taken away to the Special Care Baby Unit at Chelsea and Westminster hospital as her body temperature and blood sugars kept dropping. Initially specialists were unable to tell us what was wrong. It was very frightening, especially when they mentioned genetic testing.

My new baby spent her first 2 weeks in the Special Care Baby Unit at Chelsea and Westminster hospital and I was almost bedridden in a different ward. I had very high blood pressure, collapsed veins, severe bruising, liver problems and god knows what else going on. It was a very frightening and traumatic experience and took good few months before I felt anything like normal again. Things could have ended up a lot worse. As it was it very nearly ended in disaster as I should never have been induced. Thankfully for me it did have the best outcome – my beautiful, healthy daughter (who is now nearly 3)

Quite a few months after the birth, I started having what I eventually realised were anxiety attacks. At the time I didn’t know what they were, just that it was very scary when they happened. 15 months after my daughter was born, I found out I was pregnant again, the attacks got worse, and I was eventually diagnosed as having PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It was only when I went to see a doctor privately that they picked it up. I ended up having counselling which really helped.

If only babies were delivered by stork!

I didn’t know the Birth Trauma Association existed until recently. In my case, I didn’t get much support, no one really had a clue what it meant or how to support me. I think people often expect you to get on with things, without realising or understanding how much you can be affected.

More should done by the health professionals to inform people about it and to diagnose people who have it. I think many mums find it hard to tell people there might be something wrong, and partners tend not to pick it up (or ignore the signs). Mums should be able to feel comfortable telling someone if there is a problem, without feeling like they are either ashamed, or going to end up being labelled a ‘psycho’ and have their baby taken away!

If you think you have been affected after a traumatic birth, or know anyone that does, you can find out more here. Please also share or RT this post to help raise awareness of PTSD caused by traumatic births.

The Birth Trauma Association, which supports women who have had a traumatic birth, estimates that 10,000 a year developing PTSD, and as many as 200,000 more women may feel traumatised by childbirth and develop some of the symptoms. Like Post Natal Depression, there are varying levels of PTSD and it can be difficult to a) realise when you have it and b) know what to do about it. It’s frightening. If you think you may be suffering from PTSD, see your doctor.


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