This is Amanda’s story of how EMDR provided the support she needed to start her journey to healing from Birth Trauma
Please be aware that some stories may trigger difficult memories and emotions so remember your own self care as everyone will be at different stages of healing.
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So this is my story…. I had my first son at 31 weeks due to pre eclampsia so because of that I was closely monitored through the rest of my pregnancies. I had 2 pregnancies after that that was perfectly fine.
Then I fell pregnant with baby number 4 when I was around 30 weeks she stopped growing and my blood pressure kept getting higher and I was admitted to hospital a few times. I had more growth scans which showed she still wasn’t growing and the blood pressure medication wasn’t working so at 34 weeks it was decided I would have her by c section. The section itself went fine, just took a bit longer than normal due to all the old scar tissue (it was my 4th c section) I gave birth to Lexi weighing 4lbs 5oz I got to give her a little kiss before she was whisked off to the special care baby unit (SCBU).
I was taken to the HDU recovery had some tea and toast, and felt ok. The midwife checked my pad and noticed I had lost quite a bit of blood, she took it away and weighed it and called the doctor. All of a sudden there was a big rush I was told I was having a postpartum haemorrhage and needed a manual evacuation. I was given gas and air and the doctor carried out the removal, I was in so much pain by this point the spinal had worn off and I had people pushing really hard on my tummy. All my veins had collapsed and I had doctors all around me trying to find a vein, even trying my foot. Eventually it was all over, luckily I had the most amazing midwife holding my hand and talking to me telling me I was doing great etc. This all happened on the ward as there was no time to move me. My husband was ushered into a room but could hear my cries, I hate to think how the other ladies on the ward felt. I was completely exhausted and in so much pain, feeling like I had been abused even though I know it was needed to save my life.
About half an hour later I felt lots of blood come away I shouted the midwife and before I knew it the doctor was back and I was back on the gas and air because it was all happening again…it was decided I needed to go back to theatre to have a balloon inserted and possibly a hysterectomy.
While in theatre I just remember so many people rushing around, my arms were strapped down (I later learnt it was to protect the cannulas in my arms) and I had a man above me wearing a mask pushing on my throat, I felt like at that moment I was going to die. I looked over and saw the fear in the midwives eyes. This was the scariest moment of my life. I woke up in recovery in so much pain with 2 ladies I had never met giving me stuff for the pain. I was taken back to HDU and by this point it was the middle of the night. I had lost 5 litres of blood and needed 2 blood transfusions.
I was so very ill, high temperatures, no energy etc but all I wanted was to see my baby. I really wanted to breastfeed but I developed sepsis and was on antibiotics that meant I couldn’t even give her colostrum, which really upset me and was really hard for me. For days I had to express and throw the milk away. I was so ill and didn’t get to see Lexi until 2 days later. It was so hard but I was so determined. I was in HDU for 4 days due to the sepsis. I had constant observations taken and was just feeling so very ill and weak.
Eventually I felt better and was moved to a normal ward and was finally able to give Lexi my expressed milk and hold her etc. After a week I was discharged from hospital but because I lived so far away the hospital gave me accommodation on the hospital grounds until Lexi was able to come home. I was able to bring her home 13 days after I had her.
It had been so hard being so far from my other children, and I was so tearful I just cried constantly. I was so happy to be home but started getting bad night terrors and was always crying or angry getting constant flashbacks. Lexi came home on bottles of expressed breast milk because she wouldn’t latch but I worked really hard and eventually she was breastfeeding like a pro.
I was putting on a front to everyone that I was ok, but I wasn’t, I was really traumatised. The midwife who looked after me and was there for me afterwards, always a shoulder to cry on etc we have kept in contact and actually met up a couple months ago! She was amazing and still is amazing if I need advice or just someone to talk to about it as she was there holding my hand so if I have any questions about what happened she’s always happy to answer them. She’s amazing and definitely helped a lot in my recovery. So having that support has helped so much.
My midwife also suggested I go to the doctors and ask to be referred for EMDR with a great physiotherapist called Dr herd, but there was about a 6 month waiting list. I have now had 9 sessions of EMDR and we have covered quite a lot of the trauma but still have a long way to go. Dr herd asked me after a few sessions if I would be willing to have some sessions filmed to show at a conference of other therapists, GP’s and midwifes etc, to show how EMDR can help after birth trauma and how it has helped me. I was more than happy to do this as I felt it was really important for more professionals to use this and learn from it.
So that’s my story so far…..I am still recovering I don’t think I will ever be the same person I was before but I have hope I will get through it and have all the tools I need when ever any triggers appear. I have officially been diagnosed with PTSD and extreme anxiety so I take medication for that which really helps.