My second daughter was in the NICU, she was my second live birth and least complicated pregnancy. She was critical, hooked up to wires, intubated, the works. And sometimes when we go to the doctors office and they start putting leads on her or checking her out, I have little flash backs to her being in that isolette and all those emotions are suddenly as fresh as they day they happened. I was wondering if any other moms out there have had this experience? She's 4 now and a total firecracker.
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Any NICU moms have flash backs?
Absolutely! My little guy was in the NICU for 5 days for meconium aspiration. It was the longest week of my life. I am an ER nurse and always have heart palpitations when I have to take care of an infant. It takes me back to seeing him stuck in the NICU. He was a 10lb baby and pulled through wonderfully and is now EBF and is happy as a clam but those feelings never seem to escape you.
My DD was in the NICU for 74 days, now home for over a year (woot!) and healthy as can be. I have a friend with twins in the NICU right now and I have a very hard time watching the videos she is posting or looking at the pictures of her little ones. I told my husband that I think I have cried more over those twins than when we were in the hospital with our DD. While you are in it, you just have to get through it and be strong and all of that, but looking back and having time to reflect can be painful at times. Especially because my friend is going through it now with her two little blessings.
Yes momma, I do. My little guy has only been out of the NICU for almost 8 months but I get flashbacks all the time. He was a 32 weeker and spent 3 weeks in there. I am not good with keeping the emotions in all the time. If I drive past the hospital, I cry. When he had to have his 2 separate hernia surgeries and they hooked him up to the monitors, I cried. When I read other's NICU stories or see a NICU baby, I cry. When I see his little blood pressure cuff, I cry. Go into a hospital... you get the picture. I sure hope this passes. I have never cried so much in my life. The whole NICU experience was very traumatic for me, I can only imagine what it was to him.
Yes, me too.
Our dd was not in the NICU, because she was 8 days old when her problems surfaced. I still have flashbacks. She is seven years old and I had a year of therapy just trying to get over the feelings.
My dh has to take her to the dentist, bloodwork and shots... anything even slightly invasive terrifies me. I have panic attacks and dread and terror every time she gets sick. I do not have those feelings at all when our older daughter gets ill or has medical work done.
Here is to our healing. Our kids are fine now.
Definitely. The smells and the sounds take me back, although it's faded a lot since then. DD is 2 and spent her first 3 weeks there despite being FT....suspected NEC, etc. I'm grateful that we don't live in that area anymore, as I think it would be hard to see the hosptial, the hotel where we stayed, the boston market where we ate without her.
It was traumatic for all of us.
I'm glad? to see this thread. My daughters' dad doesn't understand. Our girls were 34 and 33 weeks respectively so not terribly premature. They had all the typical feeder grower issues and stayed just 11 days. It WAS traumatic. But my 34weeker had a bout with suspected sepsis and we got THAT call one morning out of the blue which terrified me and traumatized me. And then we took her home and thought we were safe with our apnea monitor and all of a sudden 2 weeks later BAM! picu time with RSV. It felt so unfair and I was so scared. One minute the ER nurse is telling me she's fine and her lungs are clear and the next she's turning blue in the pedi's office and retracting and we are being admitted and doing back to back breathing treatments and finding out she's got a collapsed lung and the other is filling iwth fluid. But she recovered. She's 6 and only shows very minimal scarring from the collapse and while coughs and mucous tend to hang on forever, she's generally a "well" child. Since she recovered without significant issues, her dad thinks it's no big deal. It's done and over with. He just doesn't understand how scary it was for me and how the feelings tend to hang on. Since then I haven't been able to visit the doctor for myself(6 years now) and dentists, no way. I hate hospitals. And even bringing my relatively healthy kids to the pediatrician gives me butterflies for weeks. They've been overdue a dentist appt since Dec and I cannot bring myself to make the appt. I HATE anything medical. It gives me such anxiety.
Oh mama, I'm sorry.
The hardest part for me is when I have to hold her down for something (most recently, stitches in her brow). It takes me right back to holding her down, naked, days old on the xray table and trying to get her to drink that awful dye from a bottle....
It's not to say that others can't understand, but the experience of the birth mother in the NICU is different from the way our partners and our parents experience it. The depth of the trauma, you know? When we were there, DH worried about getting a hotel room, making sure we ate each day. I would have sat next to my baby and starved if they had let me. Well except for those 2 half-hour periods where they kick you out. Not sure if this is making sense, but I'm trying to say that we understand, and don't be hard on your DP if he can't understand. Hugs to you mama!
The thing that amazes me is that even if I'm going along 100% fine, the emotions are always ALWAYS right there. Just under the surface. My son was a 33 weeker and I did a lot of talking and thinking about what that meant to me. And then this year my sister had her baby at 32 weeks and my brand new niece was in the NICU and suddenly all of the fear and blame and hope and the whole crazy emotional see-saw was right there again, along with that chokey feeling in my throat as I try to keep all those emotions from swelling up and welling out.
I guess for me it isnt so much that the hospital triggers flashbacks, as that other babies and other people's experience can immediately bring that emotional well back to me. Sometimes it is when I see a really tiny baby. Other times I see a really fat baby and I think, "wow, my son was never that big. He was always a scrawny little chicken." and then whammo, I'm remembering what it was like in the NICU.
Another thing that sometimes triggers a flashback is a city bus. That is because the first night I had to leave the hospital and go home while my son was still in the NICU I almost couldnt bear it, and at 5am the next morning I was up, dressed, and sobbing as I walked to the bus to catch the bus downtown to go see my little baby. When I was two blocks away the bus pulled up to the stop. So there I was, literally 10 hours after being released from the hospital, and two days after giving birth, in the middle of winter in Chicago, sobbing already, and now I was sobbing, running full tilt, and screaming, "Please! Stop! You have to stop the bus! Please I have to get on!!" I am lucky they didn't think I was some sociopath. But public decorum didnt matter at that moment, just doing whatever I had to do to be near my baby again.
See? and just writing that makes me want to cry. I hope that someday the emotions wont feel so fresh, but so far, they still do. Just every once in a while though.
My premie is 12 yo and I still have those flashbacks. I am an IBCLC and in a continuing ed class this week we were asked if anyone in the room had a NICU experience and I got all shaky describing it. Time does help but it doesn't change what happened. Most of my triggers are not a part of my daily life. We were living overseas and moved back to the US when she was two. The fact that the ambulances sound different, that I don't have to walk past the hospital, or see the same doctors helps. Pregnancy was hard; she is my second child and has three younger siblings.
Yeah, you're right it is a BTDT sort of thing, but it is something that we share--I think a lot of us were in the NICU for different reasons--preemies and micropreemies, infections, birth injuries, etc., but the feeling of being there is something a lot of us can relate to. Its sort of like in the Birth Trauma thread--I notice a recurring theme of feelings of being ignored and disrespected. So the actual trauma may have been different for each mama, but there is common ground in the emotions that those mamas experienced. Heck there's probably a lot of us that belong in both of these categories. I think it's good to talk about the pain that we share, because it leads us towards the strengths that we share. I hope.
As I thought about this thread this evening I realized that like much of mental health the flashbacks and thoughts of that time are affected by current situations. I know I have more flashbacks when under stress and otherwise struggling in the here and now. My dd isn't even always at the source of my flashbacks (though parenting an almost teenage girl is not for the faint of heart).
At times I think on it... My DS was a 33 weeker, month long NICU stay, and 2 months later a 2 day stay in pedes for RSV and pneumonia.
I think I mostly got over the the trauma and go at it with strength. I get this sort of focused Mama bear suit on whenever his breathing starts to be funny and I pack a just in case hospital bag. I know what to look for in him, and it kind of has made me feel stronger as a Mom.
I think my BF's own experience has helped heal me too and I got to talk a lot with his Mom. My BF was a micro-preemie, 3 months early, weighing 2 lbs, back in 1981... he was the only micro-preemie born that year at that hospital that survived. Having him in my life has sort of just given me this strength that my DS will make it through just fine too.
I think it makes us more human, more full of love, more compassionate and we are sooooooooo blessed to have a parenting path that is healing of that time/ those times.
I feel most sad when I think of the mamas who took their baby home and put them in a cot and took the cry it out route
We all came home to at least some combination of: skin to skin, cuddles, nights together, carrying them around, holistic health and alternative healing
- and the deepest realisation that life is utterly precious and we are so, soooooo blessed
but the triggers utterly suck and i still worry about breaking down in inappropriate situations
Yep, on occasion for both my kids. One was in for 2 weeks and one for 3 days. It hurts to think of them tied up to monitors and not in my arms, not having a 'normal' newborn experience. Then, I think of how happy and healthy they are now, and am filled with thankfulness that they are in my life!
It still breaks my heart and my boy is now 26 months old. He was born at 28 weeks and spent 48 days in the NICU. I blogged through the whole experience and every once in a while I go back and read those posts or watch the videos and my heart breaks all over again.
Now I am 20 weeks pregnant with twins and just dread having to go back to the NICU again!
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