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My Birth Story... And What Happened Next (PART TWO)

WARNING: This article contains information about childbirth that some readers may find distressing

After our beautiful baby girl was born, we were together in the ward for about 12 hours before she developed a fever and was taken to the special care nursery. Our doctor suspected the possibility of her having a sepsis infection so they started antibiotics through a cannula. Seeing our teeny tiny bub with a cannula in was heartbreaking, she was just so little.  

As a first time Mum, I was having a lot of difficulty breastfeeding like so many other women which I really struggled with mentally. I'm so thankful for the advice from my beautiful friends who were also breastfeeding Mumma's at the time, it really does take a village. I was still unable to walk after the surgery so I was using a wheelchair to get back and forth to the special care nursery every few hours and expressing in between feeds. Our baby girl was also being treated for jaundice under the UV lights. Hubby and I hadn't slept for about 36 at this point and he had to go home as it was outside of visiting hours.

The next morning came and my epidural had worn off but my left leg below the knee was still numb. I knew something wasn't right but the nurses assured me that it can be normal and to try not to worry until 24 hours had passed. Well, 24 hours had passed and I was still in a wheelchair being taken back and forth to the special care nursery. Panic set in. Later that day, our bub's results came back and thankfully she didn’t have sepsis, her fever had returned to normal and we were able to have her back on the ward with us in our room. This was such a happy moment, our baby was back in our arms. 


A handful of doctors, a physio and a neurologist visit later I had found out that I had nerve damage that resulted from surgery and I wasn’t able to walk unassisted. To say that was a shock to the system was an understatement. On day 3 I managed to walk with a walking frame to the end of the ward and back but I needed help doing basic things like getting to the toilet, showering and holding my baby.

I really struggled with the fact that I couldn’t stand and rock her or walk around with her to settle her. I began wondering if I would ever run around and play with her as she grew. When I had first been taken into theatre, my legs were placed in stirrups so that bub could be pushed back up the birth canal and were left for the duration of the surgery. The placement of my left leg in the stirrups had caused compressed nerve damage which was completely unrelated to the epidural like they first thought. I had a nerve conduction test about 2 weeks later and I was told that the nerve damage may regenerate and heal in weeks, months, years or possibly not at all. There was no way to predict how my body would heal.

I am incredibly lucky as when I returned home, after about 3 weeks I was able to walk down the street holding onto the pram for support. My husband was off work for a month as I was very limited in what I could do but by the time he returned to work, I could get around the house unassisted. The nerve damage caused drop foot and I was given a brace that held my foot in a flexed position so that I could walk without constantly tripping.

After about 6 weeks I had healed enough that I could get around cautiously without the brace but still had constant pins and needles in my foot and calf. I am incredibly lucky that after about 5 months, the nerve had regenerated itself and I had almost completely returned to normal.

It was a traumatic experience that I have slowly come to accept and at the end of the day, we had a beautiful healthy baby girl and for that I am incredibly grateful.

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