‘Typical’ is the word Kylie Smith would use to describe the pregnancies and births of her three children.
Before giving birth to her daughter Willa early this year, the speech pathologist delivered her two other children Rose and Samuel naturally, without any complications.
Her babies always “came quickly” and she was able to breastfeed them straight away without issue. All three labours were completely uneventful.
With her first two babies, so were the weeks and months that followed. But when Willa was around four weeks old, Kylie started experiencing odd symptoms.
“I noticed on Good Friday, I couldn’t taste the chocolate Easter eggs. It was very distressing, very odd. My tastes were completely off. I couldn’t taste my food properly,” the 39-year-old told Mamamia.
“Food didn’t taste right, like if you went to swallow a tablet and you didn’t swallow properly and got a yucky, talc taste in your mouth, that’s what everything tasted like. It was so annoying, I was finally able to have a drink again but I couldn’t enjoy it because of the revolting taste.”
Kylie kept her symptoms – odd headaches that felt like “stripes across her head” and pressure in her mouth and ear – mostly to herself for two weeks. She’d just had a baby, after all. She was breastfeeding and using muscles she hadn’t used for a while, she told herself.
“I thought I’d pulled something or strained something, that it was all part of having a new baby. I put it to the back of my mind. I didn’t want to look like I wasn’t coping.”
But the mum-of-three couldn’t shake the feeling of not being able to taste her food. Having a medical background, that was the only one of her symptoms that really worried her, that she couldn’t rationalise.
"After two weeks, I thought 'oh, I'll just go to the doctor'. They found I had extremely high blood pressure, 170/110, and I was immediately rushed to hospital. I had MRIs and CT scans, eventually they found I'd torn both my carotid arteries. I was in hospital for a week, it wasn't a good scenario."