Mum reaches milestone a year after complicated birth

Amarri (3), Justine McFarlane, baby Kalea (1), and friends Lauren McCourts and Jason Marrs.
Amarri (3), Justine McFarlane, baby Kalea (1), and friends Lauren McCourts and Jason Marrs.

JOONDALUP midwife Justine McFarlane achieved a milestone in last weekend’s HBF Run for a Reason a year after a complicated birth and post-natal anxiety.

The mother-of-four nearly died during the birth last year when she lost nearly 80 per cent of her blood due to complications that arose during her pregnancy.

“A year ago I was recovering from my third surgery at Joondalup Health Campus, following the fight of my life,” she said.

“I had been booked for a caesarean at 38 weeks, but I ended up with an emergency caesarean at 35 weeks after suffering a placental abruption, where the placenta separates early from the uterus, causing massive internal bleeding.

“The doctors, midwives and a multitude of other staff worked really hard to stop the bleeding and, being a midwife by training, I knew exactly the danger that both I and my baby were in, which was incredibly scary.

“In fact, it was such a traumatic experience that, although I came through it physically, I ended up with post-natal anxiety as I started to process everything.”

“It is so important after any kind of birth trauma – or indeed any unexpected outcome – to debrief with everyone involved.

“The stress really hit my husband straight away but the enormity of it took time for me, and then it came very suddenly and hit me like a tonne of bricks.

“To get through this and mentally unpack it has involved immense support from my family and friends, as well as professional support.

“What I’ve learned is that it is so important to talk about how you really feel. Don’t pretend that things are okay if they are not.

“Talking to other women who had been through similar experiences definitely helped, as well as counselling.”

This month she finished the 4km prams and walkers route in about 40 minutes with her older daughter Amarri (3), baby Kalea (1) and friends Lauren McCourts and Jason Marrs, as part of the Ramsay Health Care team.

The private hospital operator has five hospitals in WA, including Joondalup Health Campus, and was the largest corporate team in the May 19 run, with more than 600 staff taking part.

Western Region operations executive manager Kevin Cass-Ryall said the company would donate the $1000 prize money to the national charity Lifeline.

“Lifeline provides an amazing service to Australians experiencing personal crisis with a 24-hour telephone support line and suicide prevention services,” he said.

“This wonderful charity has some 10,000 volunteers and keeps around 2500 Aussies safe each day.

“There really is no better way to gift this money than to a charity that supports mental health.

“We live in a time where we are all under so much pressure that it’s little wonder that so many of us need mental health support.

“There is no shame in that, the important thing is to make that call, ask for help.”

Call Lifeline on 13 11 14.