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ICU wasn't in my birthing plan!

I was pregnant, but had gestational diabetes, so went into hospital on 6th January 2011, 2 weeks before my due date, so I could be induced. Everything was going to plan and I started labour on 7th Jan. It was about lunch time on 8th Jan that I started to feel really unwell (not just labour pains!!) I started to convulse and both my heart rate and my babies were rocketing. They thought it best to deliver my baby by forceps.

I was taken into theatre and little Libby was born. Staff soon realised that my blood wasn't clotting, I was haemoraging and I had a blood infection. Poor little Libby was whisked away and all sorts of tests were carried out on her, to see if she was also ill. Thankfully she was healthy! I lost consciousness and woke up 3 days later.

In that time, my husband was escorted out of theatre and had to wait for about an hour on his own, not knowing what was going on with either myself or Libby. He must have been terrified!!

Please excuse my lack of medical knowledge here........ I lost 8 pints of blood, had a balloon thing inflated inside of me to try and stem the flow, was taken to radiology where they zap the area thats bleeding, in an attempt to stop it, then was taken to ICU.

At first they didn't know what was causing the blood poisoning, so I was pumped full of all sorts of antibiotics. Turns out it was E Coli.

When I woke up in ICU, I was still on the ventilator and have a clear memory of it being removed (not nice!!). It was from this point that ICU was an absolute nightmare for me. I had ICU psychosis, but obviously didn't know this at the time.

My dreams/visions/hallucinations were of being swollowed by those awful moving beds that they have and being dragged into hell!! Then I convinced myself I wasn't actually mental, it was just the staff in the hospital drugging me, to make me think I was mental!?! Boy oh boy, ICU plays with your mind doesn't it? The vivid dreams and nightmares lasted for a few months, long after being in ICU.

When I was in ICU, I would forget I'd just given birth and had a daughter, that carries a great deal of guilt. I felt terrible for not being there just after she was born, I felt guilty for my husband having to do so much work and caring for both Libby and I and the list goes on and on.

Because of the psychosis and the deep feelings of guilt, I received counselling and it helped enormously. I can't recommend it enough!

I received fantasic care during and after my time in ICU. It probably took a full year before I felt physically and mentally fit again.


3 Replies

Likewise. I spent 5 weeks in ICU 50 miles from my daughter I had no knowledge of giving birth to - c section under GA and then multiple organ failure August 2011. Yes, time is a great healer, I can now exercise again after 11 operations, 13 blood transfusions, kidney dialysis and severe muscle weakness plus the psychological and physical effects of my hospitalisation - hair loss, depression, PTSD. Still on anti-d Sertraline which I eventually succumbed to but I grieve for not experiencing childbirth, breast feeding and the first seven weeks of my daughter's life. I am in ICU follow up care and the counselling I have received thus far is not as good as being able to exercise once more. I have recently applied to volunteer on the unit in the hospital I gave birth in as need to give something back now I cannot give blood any more. What doesn't kill you huh! Good luck with your continued recovery - how we appreciate life all the more x


Oh my goodness!! That was a long time in ICU and a long recovery!! Who would ever guess that childbirth could go so horribly wrong!? Staff at the hospital were worried I wouldn't have a connection with Libby after what happened, but I was terrified she wouldn't connect with me! It all worked out fine in the end and I'm sure you feel the same way. I wish both you and your little one all the best x


Yes, it took me a long time to bond with Miia, months - others described me as "robotic" with her but all is well now and I am lucky i had the first 16 months at home with her when i planned to go back to work three months in my original plan! Many a birth story ending in ICU and sadly some mothers and babies do not survive. I'm not saying we are a sadder ICU patient as much can be said for not having the happy hormone released in childbirth but it certainly is complex. I had Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy undetected until I felt unwell four days overdue and my partner insisted I see the out of hours doctor at our local hospital one night. Bless the wonderful NHS and all survivors xx


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