lnf andf jen, my heart goes out to you. I don't know how much good it really does, but I'm sending you loads of s.
You can't fault yourself for not knowing the very information that was deliberately withheld from you. You can't fault yourself for doing what a supposed expert said was the only way to keep your baby alive.
On top of everything you were going through, you had just given birth! Your body was on about the strongest hormonal rollercoaster it ever gets naturally, and then you had all of this added stress, panic, fear, insult, separation, and disruption to deal with on top of it.
You did everything you knew to be best according to the information you were given. Who could do more than that?
You didn't fail, you fought the whole time, and I'm amazed that you still had the strength to do that.
The fact that you were lied to deliberately (and illegally) is no fault of yours.
And loads of to both of you. Fwiw, though we had a very different experience in the NICU with our oldest (we actually had a dr. that advocated FOR us, to get her out of there sooner, and since she was in charge, she got her way), it still took me a couple of years to get over the birth and the circumstances after it. I blamed myself for a LONG time for her being born sick, and every illness, every fall triggered flashbacks and tremendous stress. Talk therapy and cranio sacral work helped me a lot.
LNF, my daughter still talks about Ellen's twin, Amalie, who died three years ago. I think it is something that will always be with us. Feel free to pm me if you want to talk about Nicholas.