"I had my tubes tied when my baby was born. She died two months later."

“The regret is overwhelming… Never do anything permanent, when nothing is permanent in this life.”Katherine Lawson is still coming to terms with the loss of her baby girl, Imogen, who tragically died at two months old. But on top of her heartbreaking grief, the Perth mother is also burdened with haunting regret.

She decided to have her tubes tied immediately after birth.

The 28-year-old chose to have the contraceptive procedure at the same time as giving birth to her third child via caesarean section.

“Imogen was our final piece of the puzzle. Our family was complete,” she told Kidspot. “I (had my tubes tied) because I was already open on the surgery table.

“That decision still haunts me as much as everything else.”

woman had tubes tied baby died

Image: GoFundMe.

Imogen was born at Perth's Stanley Hospital on February 23, after a normal, healthy 39-week pregnancy.

“She was born, we heard her cry so off to the table they took her,” said Katherine. “Her scores were all perfect but then she began having a little trouble breathing.”

She and her partner Ben Toomey were reportedly assured it was nothing to worry about - just a bit of fluid on her lungs - and Katherine went ahead with the tubal ligation.

But hours passed with no word about their little girl. When Ben managed to find doctors, little Imogen's lungs had collapsed, she'd been incubated, and was being wheeled away for transfer to a specialist hospital.

“I didn’t even touch her. I was able to put my hand in her crib," Katherine told Kidspot.

“It dawned on me the minute I saw her in the crib when they were taking her away. I thought, ‘What the f**k? What have I done?'”

woman had tubes tied baby died

Imogen. Image: GoFundMe.

Imogen spent the next two-and-a-half months of her life battling her mysterious lung condition - Katherine didn't even get to hold her until she was nearly three weeks old.

She had surgery, a tracheostomy, to help her struggling airway, but despite an initial improvement, her condition deteriorated.

“It was horrendous, it took us back to worse than day one,” she explains. “We were losing her, then she would come back, then we’d lose her, and she’d come back again.”


Doctors broke the news that if the little girl survived, it was likely she wouldn't live beyond the age of two or three years.

Three days later, on May 6, she died.

“We hadn’t even had time to let it sink in,” said Katherine. “And worse, it was the only day I wasn’t there with her. My son had a school assembly, so only Ben was there.”

To this day the underlying cause of Imogen's pulmonary hypertension is unknown, which causes immense frustration for Katherine, who is already struggling to cope with grief and the guilt of her contraceptive decision.

“Some days I desperately want another baby, but then I think, ‘what if it happens again?’ But our bodies are healthy," said Katherine. "Our doctors said we had more chance winning the lottery then Imogen dying the way she did.”

The pair are considering having another child via IVF next year, as reversal of tubal ligation is more expensive and carries more health risks.

In the meantime, she hopes to warn other mothers against electing to undergo the procedure so soon after birth.

"The regret is overwhelming," she said.

"Don’t do anything permanent when nothing is permanent in this life. Just wait.”