Anxiety, Babies, Beyond Blue, Birth, Depression, HELLP Syndrome, Kids & Family, PANDA, Pregnant, Premature Baby, Traumatic Birth

Episode 3 | My Traumatic Birth: When HELLP Syndrome Reared Its Ugly Head.

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One night when i was 35 weeks pregnant what i thought was my usual heartburn turned into excruciating chest pain and vomiting. After spending a few days in hospital (being discharged and returning a few hours later) i was diagnosed with the life-threatening pregnancy complication of HELLP Syndrome.

Most people have heard of Preeclampsia but not many people have heard of its ugly sister HELLP Syndrome.

HELLP Syndrome stands for:

H (hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells)
EL (elevated liver enzymes)
LP (low platelet count)

My liver enzymes had reached 3000 and my platelets had dropped to 22, and the only way to cure it was to get Zara out and get rid of my toxic placenta. So i was rushed in for an emergency cesarean. I was put completely under and my husband wasn’t allowed in with me which was all terrifying (this happened all VERY quickly) I’d always said I didn’t have ‘birth plan’ natural or cesar I didn’t mind, just the safe arrival of my daughter was my end goal. BUT this was 100% not part of my not having a plan plan!

Zara Rose was born weighing 2.5kgs and was in great health apart from some Jaundice, which after 24 hours of Phototherapy basically cleared up, what a little trooper! Zara was allocated a wonderful paediatrician Dr. Shorter who gave Brendan (my husband) a quick Dad to Dad run through of nappy changing and wrapping, then Brendan had to teach me! Haha. At this stage i was still in ICU and Zara was in the nursery so Brendan had to keep juggling his time between us both. All while expressing colostrum from me to take to Zara! Can we take a moment for these incredible husbands who get thrust into parenthood in an unexpected manner and absolutely shine.

I am so lucky to have had an amazing Obstetrician, Dr. Farag who saved my life. I’m one of the lucky ones who one, survived and two didn’t have any long-term complications. Without the incredible and thorough testing Dr. Farag did this story could have had a very different outcome and for that, i’ll be forever grateful to him. Especially knowing there were a couple other women in the hospital that had HELLP, who were unfortunately on kidney dialysis and two women had lost their lives in another hospital not far from me. Knowing that makes me emotional every time I think about it…

To all the HELLP survivors out there, you are all so amazing. After going through something so traumatic AND then having to be a new Mum makes things so much tougher. I don’t even know how i survived those first few months between still being sick (Plus having PTSD, Post Natal Anxiety and Depression) and then the newborn life of sleep deprivation.

7 months on life is different and i’ve come out the other end, but it was most certainly one of the hardest things i’ve ever gone through in my life (I remember thinking I was going to have to run away, it didn’t feel like I was even in my own life anymore and I didn’t know if I could go on) also only a handful of people really understand the severity of it so it can be a very lonely recovery.

Below are some pictures of my not so ideal birth.

Donna Xx

In ICU holding Zara for the first time
First family shot
Being so out of it, and it still not feeling real that i was now a Mum
Little Zara
First skin on skin
Christmas Day 2017
Anxiety, Babies, Beyond Blue, Birth, Depression, General, Kids & Family, Miscarriages, PANDA, Podcast, Podcasting, Podcasts, Pregnancy, Pregnant, SANDS Australia

Episode 2 | When You Don’t End Up Loving Pregnancy Like You’re ‘Supposed’ To.

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After my miscarriages, i was obviously stoked to be pregnant again and have a successful pregnancy. However, what i wasn’t expecting was how much depression and anxiety i would suffer throughout it. My pregnancy was nothing like ‘social media’ pregnancies. There were times i hated being pregnant and i found it hard to find any other people out there who felt the same. I felt guilty after my miscarriages like i should be over the moon, but i wasn’t. I was constantly consumed with fear that something would go wrong and this carried on throughout my entire pregnancy. Now i know that i had Perinatal Anxiety and Depression. Perinatal means the beginning of pregnancy through to birth. I also suffered Post Natal Anxiety and Depression, which therefore puts me under the Perinatal banner. I don’t think this is discussed enough for both women and MEN! I’m hoping by opening up about it i can make someone feel a little less alone during these tough times. Xx

Here are the links i spoke about in my podcast.

NIPT Test –


Beyond Blue –