The female body is a complex, mystical land where a number of shocking, unexpected things can happen, sometimes without us even knowing.
Case in point: Lizzie Quah, a 23-year-old ballet instructor and client experience coordinator from Bloomington, IL. Lizzie shared this TikTok where she explained that she went to the emergency room for what she thought was a kidney stone, discovered she was actually IN LABOR, and ended up giving birth to a FULL TERM NEWBORN BABY.
Lizzie told BuzzFeed that the pain she experienced heading into the ER “felt exactly like a kidney stone. I had one around three years ago, and it was the worst pain I’d ever experienced. It was severe cramping/searing pain in my lower back and lower abdomen, it really felt like someone was pulling me apart from the inside out, which ironically was kind of what was actually happening!”
But, since she experienced little to no symptoms prior, Lizzie had no idea that she’d carried a pregnancy to term. “I gained a little bit of weight, but only enough where I felt like I needed to get back into my workout routine…I was working more than I ever had in the last six months before she was born, and was eating really unhealthy. I had stopped going to the gym because I was so busy, so I attributed that to my slight weight gain. I was more tired than normal, and wanted to take more naps than I used to, but again I attributed that to working all the time.”
“I had every period, but now that I’ve researched a little more on the medical conditions I had, Placenta Previa (or possibly Anterior Placenta, there’s really no way of knowing for sure which I had), I now know they likely caused bleeding that I mistook for a period.”
She also was diagnosed with Preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy. This, along with the Placenta Previa/Anterior Placenta, made Lizzie’s pregnancy incredibly high risk.
As for giving birth, Lizzie described it as, “One word: traumatic. I still refer to it as the most traumatic experience of my life. I found out I was pregnant in the ER with a judgmental doctor’s hands up my vagina, then four hours later I gave birth. I didn’t get an epidural because it was too late to help me. I was in excruciating pain, I had no idea if I was having a girl or boy, full-term or premature, healthy or sick baby…It was a lot to process while also in labor.”
Despite all the possible complications, Lizzie gave birth to a healthy baby girl. And since sharing her story, she said she’s “been messaged on Instagram several times by other women sharing their stories about something similar, and there are dozens of comments on my original video of people saying something like that happened to them, or someone they know.”
When asked if she had anything else to add about her experience, Lizzie said, “Whether you knew you were pregnant or not, women deserve respect, understanding, and support while birthing and postpartum. I was lucky to have an amazing support system and I still struggled. Advocate for yourself, find support, and don’t try to struggle alone.
Now that’s what I call being a strong mama!!! So glad you and your daughter are happy and healthy, Lizzie! And thank you for shedding light on an issue that’s clearly a lot more common than we think.