Qld woman’s horror birth: ‘They ripped her from me’
A WOMAN says she was so determined to stay out of the hospital system when pregnant with her second child that she gave birth unassisted in her Gold Coast home.
Stephanie Ruzic gave birth in her Tallebudgera home in October last year to her daughter Tijana with her husband Igor and doula - a professional pregnancy companion - for support.
"I can confidently say I spent every available moment of my pregnancy living and breathing birth," Ms Ruzic said.
"I read books and birth stories, listened to podcasts, did courses and immersed in educating myself in all aspects of birth, including which herbals and homoeopathy support a birthing women best.
"I paved the way for Tijana's divine birth by training not just my body but also my mind.
"Every cell in my body knew what it was in for and capable of, as did our unborn babe."
Ms Ruzic believes the hospital system has been designed to protect themselves against potential litigation rather than supporting a woman's preferred choice of how they want to birth their baby.
"Everything they do, in my opinion, is to cover their arse and is not in the best interest of the woman," Ms Ruzic said.
"My vision is that birth is normalised and not medicalised, home births are most common and that women make informed decisions based on their knowledge and education around birth, not their fears."
The mother-of-two is not alone in her view that women's birthing choices are ignored.
One Tweed Heads mum says she was pressured into agreeing to a medical procedure while birthing her daughter and was left "traumatised".
Nicole Ferguson said she first went to The Tweed Hospital when she was 20 weeks pregnant with her first child and was told her weight was too high to have a water birth.
"They didn't ask me about my family history or the fact I have polycystic ovarian syndrome which automatically makes me a bigger girl," Ms Ferguson said.
"By that stage I had only gained four kilos, but they had already made me high risk.
"It was horrible, they put me down and said everything that I couldn't do and told me how my birth would go. I came home in tears and I didn't want to go back."
Ms Ferguson said she hired a private midwife to join her at The Tweed Hospital during the birth of her daughter Aria-Rose Hall on January 18.
She said she was pressured by agreeing to have her baby delivered using forceps because she had laboured for too long.
"We were only given two hours to push. The doctor rushed in and said I could no longer push because I was labouring for too long," Ms Ferguson said.
"They said I had to deliver now and they were going to deliver my baby with forceps. I asked for the vacuum but they said it wouldn't happen because her head was slightly swollen.
"I asked for a caesarean (section) and I was ridiculed for that, the doctor said, 'why would you have a life threatening surgery when I can remove her with forceps'.
"They waited for a contraction, she inserted the forceps and we waited for a contraction and they started pulling, but my contraction stopped.
"I started yelling, 'stop, stop, stop' and my partner was yelling, 'listen to my partner', but she didn't and she ripped her from me."
A Northern New South Wales Local Health District spokeswoman said their clinicians were bound by district-wide policy which outlined the standards for discussing and documenting recommended treatment in a maternity setting.
The spokeswoman said the policy covered key aspects of the decision-making process such as a woman's voluntary choice of intervention or care, as well as the clinician's duty to accurately represent the risks of a requested or recommended treatment.
"The options available to a woman may change throughout the labour and birthing
process, and clinicians are obligated to discuss these changes with a woman as the
labour progresses," she said.
"If any women or their families are concerned about the care they have received, they
are encouraged to contact the hospital or midwifery unit manager to discuss their
Brooke McLellan said the health system failed her during her first pregnancy.
The 28-year-old said she sought advice from her general practitioner when she realised she was pregnant but was told to "do nothing" until she was at 20 weeks gestation.
"I thought that seemed odd and I mentioned it to a friend who was also pregnant at the time and she said to go back and see my GP again.
"I went back and he said, 'no, you're fine, honestly there's nothing you can do and you're worrying for nothing'."
The Nerang mother said she went to a second general practitioner at 14 weeks pregnant and asked about the Midwifery Group Practice - a free service offering individualised care with a by Queensland Health midwife.
But Ms McLellan said it was too late for her to join the program because it was already full.
She said she told by a hospital midwife that her natural vaginal water birth would be unlikely because she wasn't in the MGP program and they were "really busy".
"I ended up deciding to have a home birth and I was feeling really great about my decision. "Then at 39 weeks I went to my GP for a check-up and I mentioned that day that I would be having a home birth.
"It completely took a turn. He then felt my baby and said he (the baby) was lying transverse and I would have a long and traumatic birth.
"He said his head was going to get stuck and that I needed an ultrasound which is the number one reason for causing unneeded intervention."
Ms McLellan said she called her private midwife in distress who then checked her baby and assured her he was fine.
She said she went into labour that night and had "the most beautiful home birth".
"People just instilled so much fear in me, it really did affect my journey."
Originally published as Coast woman's horror birth: 'They ripped her from me'