Mum’s warning after horrific birth ordeal

Smiling after her ordeal, mum Ashleigh and baby Finley
Smiling after her ordeal, mum Ashleigh and baby Finley

A young mum nearly died after going through a horrific ordeal following the birth of her first baby.

Ashleigh Gossage had to have a blood transfusion, then suffered a fit and ended up spending days in the intensive care unit at the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath.

“I was literally on my last legs. I don’t know how I pulled through it. The whole thing was awful,” said Ashleigh, of Mill Bank, Burgess Hill.

Ashleigh says she had been suffering with undiagnosed pre-eclampsia - then suffered an eclamptic seizure and now wants to warn other mums-to-be to make them aware of the condition.

“I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through.”

Ashleigh’s problems started towards the end of her pregnancy when she suffered a severe constant headache, sickness, dizziness and swelling of her legs.

Her partner Shane Burton telephoned the hospital’s labour ward for advice and was told Ashleigh should stay at home and rest.

When she finally went into labour and gave birth to her little boy Finley, “the nightmare began,” said Ashleigh.

“I lost a lot of blood and they didn’t know why the bleeding wouldn’t stop. There was blood everywhere. It looked like a slaughter house.”

But worse was to come. After staying in hospital she was sent home, only to be rushed back by Shane. “I couldn’t walk, hold or feed my own baby.”

She was given a blood transfusion, but remained in pain with a severe headache and phoned Shane from her hospital bed in tears.

Moments later she was found by a nurse fitting and drooling at the mouth.

CT and MRI scans showed a swelling on her brain and she was rushed to the intensive care unit where she spent several days undergoing constant care and monitoring before being sent back to the delivery ward for another five days.

After finally being sent home again she still had to have daily blood pressure checks with her GP, then every other day for the following eight weeks.

“One phone call and a check could have saved me going through all this,” said Ashleigh.

“My family were so worried, not knowing if I was going to make it or not and poor daddy having been thrown into looking after me and the baby.”

Ashleigh says she is still recovering now, four months on.

“I have lost faith in all NHS doctors and nurses, although the ICU staff were so, so good.”

The Brighton and Sussex Hospital Trust, which runs the Princess Royal, was asked to comment on Ashleigh’s experience, but no-one has yet replied.