First-time mum told she was overreacting, then her daughter stopped breathing

Posted in Newborn.

A first-time mum was told she was overreacting, until the day her daughter stopped breathing and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Sarah always felt there was something was not quite right with her baby girl, Hannah, however, being a first-time mum, she was told she was being overly anxious. It turns out her instincts had been spot on. Her daughter did have something wrong and was in need of medical attention.

“Hannah stopped breathing and turned blue in front of me,” says Sarah on Instagram. “Luckily, I happened to see her and was able to bring her back before the ambulance arrived. But those few minutes were the scariest of my life.” ⠀


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A mother always knows⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

This wasn’t the first time that Sarah had been concerned about her child. “I had always thought something felt off about Hannah’s behaviour. She always seemed beyond uncomfortable, was extremely hard to settle, sounded strange and unhappy all the time,” she says. “But when I brought it up, I got similar responses: ‘you’re just a first-time mom – relax’, ‘babies just cry – relax’, ‘you’re just a nervous mom, she feeds off of your negative energy – relax’, “fussiness is normal – relax.’”
These sorts of comments made Sarah feel like she was failing and probably overreacting. “I just wasn’t experienced. I was just doing something wrong. I just wasn’t good at motherhood,” she says. “Even the paramedic told me as we were transferring hospitals that ‘I wouldn’t overreact so much with my second’ because I was just a first-time mom.”⠀

Always trust your gut

It turned out that there was something wrong with Hannah after all. The little girl had an extreme case of reflux that left her constantly in pain. “It’s hard to diagnose because some reflux is normal,” says Sarah. “But, due to being early Hannah’s oesophagus didn’t fully develop, and her case had become so irritating that she stopped breathing.”

Sarah couldn’t believe it when the doctor told her what was really going on. “I bawled because I wasn’t crazy,” she says. “My girl was going to get treatment, was going to feel better and it wasn’t my fault, or my nerves.”

Hannah is now well and truly on the mend, however, Sarah learnt just how important it is for a mother to trust her gut. “You might not know everything, but you know your baby best,” she says.

You’re not alone

There was an enormous response to Sarah’s story with many comments of support and sympathy. “I had a paramedic say the same thing to me when we were transferring hospitals with my newborn,” says one parent.

“Trust your instincts,” stresses another. “My son was born early, so his lungs were not fully developed. I knew something was wrong because he spit up all his milk and it was projectile at times. We kept changing milk and still it happened. Come to find out he had severe acid reflux.”

Being a first-time mum is stressful as there is so much we don’t know or haven’t yet experienced. I was always rushing off to the doctor to ease my various concerns, but I would have been devastated had my concerns not been properly addressed. Sarah may have been a first-time mum, but she wasn’t simply a nervous wreck. She felt something wasn’t quite right and it took a trip to hospital in an ambulance before she was taken seriously. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending, but a mother’s concerns not taken seriously is an absolute tragedy.


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