🤕True Life Emergency Series ⛑ Episode 3

🤕True Life Emergency Series ⛑ Episode 3


Hayley Rothery, from Sydney, is mum to a 4 year old little girl.

She had a rough start to life with respiratory arrests but then she developed absent seizures and then tonic clinic seizures.

Read her journey below....


 1. So, how many children do you have and how old are they?

One girl, 4 and a half years old.

2. What part of Australia do you live in?

Western Sydney, NSW.

3. What kind of medical emergency did your child have?

At 4 hours old she stopped breathing and proceeded to do so an additional 2 times before being transferred to NICU, as she was transferred to NICU she stopped breathing again and was resuscitated by nurses.

At 9 months old we discovered she was having "absent seizures" and at 18 months old she began having tonic clonic seizures.

4. How old was your child when this incident happened?

Stopped breathing 4 hours old - 12 hours old.

Absent seizures birth until 5 weeks ago.

Tonic clonic seizures 18months old until 5 weeks ago. (Last TC seizure was September 2018)

5. How did you react?

Stopping breathing at birth:

I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me longer than it should have to realise she wasn't breathing when she was 4 hours old.

I think I was partly still in shock after a traumatic labour... my husband and I were staring at her and I was commenting on how dark she was until it became obvious that she was turning blue.

I panicked. So did my husband. I'm still embarrassed to remember my reaction. I screamed for help. Thank god I was in a hospital, hitting every button I could find before running into the hall way of the maternity ward screaming.

The nurses quickly turned my baby on her side and I can't even remember what they did to be honest, she just started breathing again once they had her.

Tonic clonic seizures:

I won't speak about her absent seizures. They were sad and concerning but not an emergency situation. If anything it just made me more of a helicopter Mum always scared she would walk infront of a car or fall off something high.

When she had her first tonic clonic seizure I screamed. We were in the neurology ward of Westmead Childrens Hospital getting prepared for her to have an EEG to measure her absent seizures. She had never had a "drop and shake" seizure before.

We were in the right place at the right time... I guess if you want your child to have a seizure anywhere, it's in a neuro ward.

The nurses and doctors there see seizures all day everyday so they didn't think anything of it initially, they probably thought I was crazy... but we had only jsut got there and I hadn't had a chance to explain to them that "my daughter doesn't have seizures like that normally"

It was the scariest thing I had ever seen. She was completely unconscious and violently shaking. She was so stiff and I thought she was going to smash her teeth she was gritting them that hard. The noise that was coming out of her was sickening. It's been nearly 3 years and I'm literally getting all teared up typing this now... It was awful. I was useless.

She was sitting on a chair when she stiffened, she slid off the chair and I caught her just as she hit the ground.

The nurses picked her up and laid her in the recovery position on a nearby bed and cleared her face and mouth. I just stood there screaming.

Since then she has had multiples TC seizures. the first few times after I always panicked and got upset, but I was still able to put her in the recovery position and keep her safe.

After a few times I was able to compose myself and just go into emergency mode. Get her in the recovery position, protect her from hurting herself. Clear her mouth.

In September 2018 she had her worst seizure yet. She hit her head badly on the way down to the ground. My husband got to her before me, and it was the second time he had ever witnesses a seizure.

He panicked and was shouting at me. I took her from his arms and got her into the recovery position ... it was then that he "snapped out of it" and realised she had a mouthful of food. He was still panicking but he cleared her mouth. I gently reminded him that she might be able to hear him and he shouldnt panic. Afterwards he was embarrassed and told me he wouldn't have remembered to turn her on her side had I of not been there.

6. Were you surprised with how you reacted?

Stopping breathing at birth:

Yes and no.

I think any new parent would panic in that situation... I'm surprised that I had absolutely no idea what I could have done to help her. The nurses had no machines, medicine... they just got her breathing again with their bare hands within a minute of holding her, and there I was screaming doing nothing useful to anyone.

Tonic clonic seizures:

Surprised and embarrassed. The second emergency in my daughters life and once again I just stood there screaming like a useless idiot. Why didn't I think to do what they did?

It took some time and experience before I could compose myself and really deal with an emergency situation. Most people don't have the luxury of having practice with how to deal with a real life emergency situation.

7. Was anyone else there with you?

Stopping breathing at birth:

My husband, my sister, and we were in a shared room in a public hospital.

Tonic clonic seizures:

First time was in a neuro ward.

Second time I was alone with my daughter and I was driving the car. She was in her car seat in the back.

Multiple times since then, once in public. Once in front of my sister. Other times just with me. Last one my husband was present.

8. Did you need to call an ambulance?

No. Never.

9. Did you know how to perform first aid or CPR?


I still don't know how to perform CPR.

10. How did you feel afterwards?

Useless, embarrassed and terrified.

11. Has it made any difference to how you do things with your child/feed your child?

Stopping breathing at birth:

At the time it made me terrified of being a new Mum. I was very over the top. I didn't sleep or look after myself as I was too scared that something would happen to her again.

Tonic clonic seizures:

It has affected evertyhing. I haven't had anymore children because of it. I am a helicopter parent. So is my husband.

12. Do you think it’s a good idea to learn first aid/CPR when you have a child?

My husband and I did everything we could to prepare for becoming parents. We did birthing classes, we bought the safest car seat and bassinet and cot mattress.... you name is we were all over it.

I learnt so much in antenatal classes... but never how to save my babies life.

I feel like it is essential to know the basics. Imagine if I wasn't at the hospital at that point in time. Would I have lost my baby because I didn't know how to get her to breath again?


Hayley Rothery is the Chief Operations Officer at Brilliant Digital - a marketing company delivering holistic website and digital marketing solutions.

Where many companies offer only part of the digital marketing solution... Brilliant Digital take a holistic approach to your marketing challenges and deliver a complete solution tailored to your needs.
We are a second generation family business. We take responsibility for the outcome of our work. And we enjoy long term partnerships with successful clients across all industry sectors.

You can learn more about Hayley here, or read about Brilliant Digital's Success here



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🤕True Life Emergency Series ⛑ Episode 2

🤕True Life Emergency Series ⛑ Episode 2