While every expecting mum looks forward to the day they will cradle their newborn darling in their arms, a moment of bliss where they finally get to connect with their baby, studies show that a whopping one-third of women in fact experience trauma during the birthing process.
Despite best efforts to prepare ahead of time, childbirth doesn’t always go according to plan — and can sometimes result in unexpected complications after birth for both the mother and baby. The best thing (or only thing, really) we can do is roll with the punches and stay strong as we ride things out.
Liv Lo Golding, wife of Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding, candidly opened up about how such a mindset helped her after the recent birth of her second daughter Florence.
Anything can happen during labour
Even though this was not her first rodeo, Liv found herself quite unprepared for the events that unfolded after she checked into the hospital. “I had the same OBGYN, the same birthing doula, and the same birth plan to deliver at the same hospital as with my first child Lyla. This time around the only thing I wanted to do differently was to have a spontaneous vaginal delivery,” she shares. Her first birth had been an induction at 40 weeks.
After having bled heavily for several hours at home, Liv was experiencing labour contractions and had begun dilating as expected. She received an epidural at 4cm dilated, and then unexpectedly developed a fever. Worse, she was informed that her baby had begun to go into distress — every birthing mum’s nightmare.
Thankfully, she dilated so quickly to 10cm while the doctors were prepping for a C-section that she managed to have the vaginal delivery she’d planned — baby Florence was out with three pushes.
The calm before the storm
The story didn’t happily end here, unfortunately. After nursing and napping for a few hours, baby Flo started exhibiting breathing difficulties and an increased heart rate.
“They said her pulse was “tacky” and that they would need to take her to the NICU – possibly for antibiotics,” Liv recalls. It took a few days but Flo was diagnosed with pneumonia caused by having inhaled meconium in the womb — a condition known as meconium aspiration syndrome.
While she was recovering in the NICU, Liv had her own share of pain to contend with. While she was resting at home some hours after being discharged, she woke up with extreme rib pain, breathlessness, and yet another fever. “I called my doula Andrey to see if binding would help the rib pain, but after taking a look at me she said “Postpartum is not supposed to be this way,” and said she would assist me to the ER,” shares Liv.
Postpartum suffering is not normal
For any mother-to-be reading this, please know that you should not be in pain or suffering during the postpartum period. Fevers should be taken seriously and you should not have to rely on pain medication to make it through postpartum.Liv Lo Golding
Liv’s symptoms were repeatedly dismissed by the hospital staff as being of little concern, and she and her doula had to insist on admission. That same day, the doctors were about to discharge her again despite her strong sense and personal protests that she wasn’t doing well.
“Miraculously, as I was going to say goodbye to Flo before discharging, the nurse came and confirmed that the full results from the blood cultures tests had come back early confirming that I had a blood infection – therefore I wouldn’t be discharged,” she shares.
Liv had contracted endometritis (inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus) and would need a 10-day course of amoxicillin to set her right again — which was fortunate because if they’d waited and the infection had spread, she might have had to have her gallbladder removed in an operation.
Healing on so many levels
Mentally and emotionally shaken by the entire episode, Liv has had to process her pain and trauma with support from friends, much meditation, and energy healing rites from her Reiki master and energy healers.
“As our body holds memory it was incredibly hard to sleep after what had happened so far. My nervous system was shot. Every time I would meditate to relax and start drifting off, I would violently convulse,” she recalls. “I couldn’t breathe properly as a result of chest pain, neck pain, rib pain, shaking, and headaches with a mysterious cough to top it all off. I had been managing the pain with Tylenol and Ibuprofen taken every 4-6 hours until the healers stepped in to work on me. What an extraordinary feeling!”
“Healing from postpartum, a blood infection, becoming a mother of two, and breastfeeding at the same time was an intense experience that rebirthed me at the same time as my daughter Florence. When a life-changing moment presents itself, we have a choice to change with it. These powerful moments, which do not come often, can last for an instant or, if we choose, can continue to process and implement changes for a complete lifestyle overhaul.”
Liv is presently recovered. She is able to take walks, carry her 2.5-year-old toddler, and breastfeed Flo – who has also fully recovered. We congratulate her on her beautiful family and wish them complete health and wellness in the days and years to come.