Mom Loses Premature Baby After Giving Birth in Toilet, Says Doctors Ignored Her

Cerys Blackwell

Cerys Blackwell
Cerys Blackwell

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains information and images about infant loss, which may be triggering to some.

Sometimes a woman just knows that something is wrong with her baby -- even if nobody believes her at first. Unfortunately for Cerys Blackwell from the United Kingdom, she had one of those terror-stricken moments during her pregnancy, and she believes that her doctor's alleged mistake cost her dearly. The grieving mom is opening up about the death of her son and speaking out about how nobody seemed to believe her when she came to them in pain.

  • Cerys was only 23 weeks pregnant when she felt her water break while sitting in her father's car outside of her house.

    Cerys Blackwell
    Cerys Blackwell

    As she explains to CafeMom, she had just been discharged from Prince Charles Hospital for a pregnancy-related scare when things got even more terrifying. She says she originally went to the hospital two days before, on April 13, 2017, because she hadn't felt her baby move all day and she was "leaking pinkish fluid, experiencing cramps, and spotting blood."

    According to Cerys, a doctor at the hospital assured her that her baby was okay. However, because she had been previously admitted for a blood clot behind her placenta, she was at risk for a placenta abruption. That's when "the placenta partially or completely separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery," the Mayo Clinic notes.

    The doctor was concerned and told Cerys to stay in the hospital for a few days. "She was almost sure I was leaking some amniotic fluid," Cerys says.  

    "She took a full blood count, urine samples and asked the midwives to monitor my blood loss," she continues. But Cerys believes she was treated to less than stellar medical care. She claims nobody checked in on her or monitored her overnight, and during a bedside scan, the doctor could see that her clot had grown since they first discovered it.

    When Cerys's blood results were finally given back to her, a doctor "deemed (the results) to be fine and wrote 'normal' in my notes." Cerys began to clot again, but the consultant "said it was normal and told me the test results had come back normal and she was happy for me to go home."

    "I was taken aback by this with the doctor," Cerys says. The mom explained that she had been led to believe her clotting was serious by the first doctor who had treated her, but this new consultant was undeterred. "She told me that she was more than happy that things seemed stable and that (it) being a bank holiday, there wasn’t much more they could do until clinic was open and I could have a (full) scan," she remembers.

    Although Cerys wasn't sure that going home was the right thing to do, "the ward was understaffed and I really didn’t want to be spending the night with nobody there to look after me again," she says. "Around 4 p.m. I phoned my father to give me a lift home."

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  • But as soon as Cerys returned back to her house, she felt a pop in the center of her pelvis.

    Cerys Blackwell
    Cerys Blackwell

    Frightened, Cerys says she went into her bathroom "and I could see puddles on the floor and my jeans were wet. I crying and scared."

    "I grabbed a towel not knowing what else was going to come out with the fluid," she recalls. "My dad called the labor ward straight away to inform them that he believed my waters had gone."

    On the way back to the hospital, Cerys started to feel her contractions come. Her father grabbed her a wheelchair when they finally got to the labor ward, but both she and her dad were treated like they were overreacting. "The midwife laughed at how anxious we were and particularly, how my father was," she says. "The midwife kept referring to how she had never seen anyone in such a state."

    Soon Cerys was joined at the hospital by her mom and her husband. A midwife checked her baby's heartbeat and told her it was fine, but added that she would need to be seen by a doctor because the clotting made her pregnancy high-risk. 

    Meanwhile, Cerys' contractions were getting more and more painful, her body temperature was starting to rise, and the midwife needed to get her a pad because she had started to bleed again. 

    "This made me extremely anxious as there was nobody there to tell use what was happening or why I was in so much pain," she remembers. "A part of me believed this could be labor but this was my first baby and I had been having pains for some time even though these were nothing like I had ever felt before. The pain was becoming so bad that I was screaming out for help. At points I was tearing my husband’s T-shirt in pain. It was unbearable."

    It took Cerys two hours to finally be seen by yet another doctor, though she says that this doctor wasn't taking her pain very seriously. She "spoke to us in a way that made us feel like we were wasting our time. She didn’t ask me how I was feeling or offer any answers as to way I was in so much pain. Her plan was to give me pain relief and move me back to the maternity ward I had been the past two nights," Cerys says. She adds that she was also told that her water hadn't broken yet, but Cerys knew she had felt it happen when she was home. 

  • Feeling abandoned by hospital staff, Cerys was in incredible pain and had her husband help her to the bathroom where her son would end up being born.

    Cerys Blackwell
    Cerys Blackwell

    "The pain was constant and I felt constipated," she says. "I was holding onto a wall, my ears were ringing, and my vision was becoming blurred. 

    "I became so distressed that I stripped off all my clothes -- my husband was shouting at me to get them back on," she remembers. "He can recall how he looked at me and it was like I was no longer present with the amount of pain completely taking over my body. It was here that our baby was born."

    Cerys screamed for her husband to get help as she felt her son's head push through her body. Eventually two midwives came to her aid. "I was told to push, the cord was cut, and one midwife left quickly with our baby, while the other stayed," she says.

    But the moment wasn't met with relief. Chris later told Cerys that he was waiting to hear his baby cry, but it never happened. "I threw my arms around my husband and cried, telling him I was sorry.

    "It was the hardest experience and most traumatic event we have ever been through," she says. Although Cerys had two midwives who helped her through the worst of the aftermath of her delivery, no doctor was in sight.

    "This has always made me even more upset," she admits. "Their attitude toward me was neglectful when I was in extreme pain, and they then showed no care or remorse after my baby had been born and died. I look back now and can’t understand how they went home knowing they did nothing to help support me."

    Cerys's son, Bobby, was born weighing only 1 pound and died shortly after being born. "His post-mortem showed he had congenital pneumonia secondary to an infection that I had. The post mortem of my placenta showed that I had severe chorioamnionitis," a bacterial infection that infects the membranes that surround the fetus and the amniotic fluid.

    She adds that it took weeks for her to get these results. "The hospital was never able to tell me what happened," she says. But looking back, she believes her inflammation markers were clear that something was wrong.

  • "I have always blamed myself entirely," she says. "I have felt I had failed him by not being able to keep him safe or being able to carry him to term."

    Cerys Blackwell
    Cerys Blackwell
    Cerys, her husband, and their little boy spent the night in a family room, where the parents were able to gaze at him after his death. "He was perfect and we were able to say exactly who he looked like. He was just a tiny baby. Perfect in every way," she recalls. 

    Since her son's death, Cerys says she's had panic attacks and it was hard for her to drive in a car or use the bathroom for a long time, but she did eventually have a second son, Noah George Blackwell. 

    But she still wonders about the boy she lost. "I will always wonder if things could have been prevented if the infection was treated or if they could have confirmed I was leaking fluid, but the way I was treated has caused me to lose trust," she says.  

    She eventually brought her case to the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, which carried out an investigation of Cerys' labor, and she says the results should have taken three to six hours to be conducted. Cerys didn't get her results until 12 months later. "They concluded that there was no breach in the duty of care," she says.

    CafeMom reached out to the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, and in a statement Chief Executive Allison Williams said that:

    "Our thoughts are with all those who have experienced such a tragic loss and I am sincerely sorry for the distress that many women and their families have experienced, and are still going through. 
    We can’t comment on this individual case but the accounts from some of the patients who have been in our care are heartbreaking and their experience in our maternity service has been totally unacceptable. 

    We are now doing everything we possibly can to put things right at every level of the organization and we promise that we will learn from these tragic experiences to make things better for the future.”

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