when did the grieving pass for you? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-03-2009, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my twins are 4 months now, but most days i still feel stung/ heartbroken that they started out in the nicu and we were separated so abruptly at birth

i think i'm mourning the loss of a homebirth too, so it's multi-layered.

and of course i'm overjoyed and grateful that they are home and healthy and well. just wondering how long that 'hurt' feeling might stay so strong, kwim?

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:03 AM
 
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In the first few weeks/months I was so swept up in everything that I didn't have time to feel anything. It wasn't until she came home that I had a chance to sit down and feel it all. Erin's 22 months now and it doesn't sting so much anymore. There are still things that'll bring me to tears but they're fewer now. I think the bulk of it ended after her first year. Actually her first birthday was horrible - I got up early because I knew how bad I was going to feel and just cried and cried, but after that things started to get better.

I doubt it'll ever go away completely though.
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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I too didn't have time to "mourn" while my daughter was in the NICU. It hit me when we got home. Then, I actually had time to think about what I missed out on: going into labor, natural childbirth, those first few minutes breastfeeding. I, like most moms, had it all planned out. It still hurts now, but for some reason, with the new year, I'm feeling better. I know I suffered (and still do) from PPD, but I also think I had some post traumatic stress disorder in there too. I think I've worked passed that, but am now just dealing with depression. For me, however, just looking at my beautiful daughter makes me realize just how lucky I am that she and I are both alive and here to celebrate life together. It could have easily gone the other way. So, that's what helps me along. She's 8 months now, and every day gets better and better. Do I still grieve for the birth I didn't have? Yes. I think I always will. However, I am so thankful for the beautiful, healthy daughter that I do have! :
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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I still miss being pregnant awfully, and definitely wish every day that his birth had been different.

When it hits me the hardest, funnily enough, is when I'm in my attachment parenting support group where everyone had amazing births and takes them so for granted. It's especially hard to hear comments like, "Well, the medical field makes it sound like having a healthy baby is enough, and you should be grateful for c-sections." I AM grateful for c-sections! Without the one I had, Peter and I both would have died. Having had to work so hard for our healthy baby, I do feel like it's enough that he's healthy - and he's so awesome, I wish that he'd had the birth he deserved. I think I wish that even more, now, seeing what an amazing person he is. It makes me so deeply sad when people say that it's not enough to have a healthy baby, like a healthy baby doesn't matter, especially after seeing amazing mommas who weren't as lucky as I was.

Another thing that really gets me is when people talk about their traumatic births, and then it turns out they were induced at 40 weeks. I hate it, because it makes me feel like an uncompassionate jerk, but I want so badly to tell them what true trauma is like - not being able to hold your baby, living in the ICU and then the NICU, and I know that I even had it easy in terms of NICU experiences!

I'm so grateful for this community of people who understand what these experiences were like, because I think you can't understand what it's like having a premature baby and being in the NICU until you've done it yourself. I try to focus on what I'm grateful for, and usually it works - my major crying fits are becoming more rare.

I remember reading somewhere that the process of mourning can be envisioned as shell shaped. You start out at the center of it, in the middle of your grief, and then you move along the track. At first, you come back to the grieving point more often, since the circle is smaller. As you get further towards the edges, you come to it much less often - but you still have to come back to it, sometimes. Having that helps me some days when I'm really hurting a lot, and looking at my beautiful, healthy baby boy laughing is the best balm of all.
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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I guess I'm still greiving and I'm not quite sure when it'll be "over". I think it's something that will always be there in varying levels depending on what is going on in your life.

I know I'm sad and a little angry that my son doesn't have a "birth date" this year since he's a leaper. I have been waiting for him to turn a year and now that it's almost here I feel like I'm falling apart a little bit more lately. Just remembering the whole experience is somewhat traumatic.

So I have no answer for you - just know that there are a lot of us out here who understand.

Katie, wife to big TNT, momma to DS1 born @ 29 weeks on Leap Day 2008 and DS2 born @ 32 weeks on Feb 16th!
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:41 PM
 
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I feel you. I missed my home birth, the first few moments, the month DS spent in the NICU etc.

for me it's gotten better but I still grieve (ds is 2) for it and I break down if I watch those nicu baby stories on TV... I'm not sure if it ever really goes away but it gets better...

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Old 02-05-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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My son was a 28 weeker who spent 7 weeks in the ICN. He's 6 months old now and I thought I was done grieving, but when we were at the hospital the other day for his first developmental screening, I turned down the offer to visit the ICN. I just couldn't handle it yet. Just walking into the hospital again after four months of being home brought it all back to me.

I think it's part grief, part post traumatic stress disorder.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I turned down the offer to visit the ICN. I just couldn't handle it yet. Just walking into the hospital again after four months of being home brought it all back to me.

I think it's part grief, part post traumatic stress disorder.
thank you all who have shared. it makes me feel more accepting about how i feel because mothers who haven't btdt kind of look at me like i'm weird if i mention i'm upset

- bucky, i so feel that way right now about visiting too.

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Old 02-05-2009, 07:23 PM
 
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My feelings are raw like yours. In the beginning they were numb to be able to be strong for my Henrik.

My son, born at 29w 6 d, did not get the RSV antibodies so we were told not to be social. Yesterday we went to a community centre drop in to weigh him since he is not eating as well as he use to. They talked about vaccines and asked our baby's ages and I did not know what to say. I told the truth but felt that no one understood. I saw the mothers with their month old babies and I wanted to cry. Henrik spent 58 days in three hospitals. He did not come home for 2 months. It as nice being around mothers but also alienating.

I have a co-worker and close friend who are pregnant. Another friend is trying. I am secretly jelous. He may be my only child since I am so scared to go through it again. Sometimes I secretly wish that someone else can go through it just to understand me.

I missed my midwife assisted water birth. My sister in law complained about bedrest and how she lost weight. I had to remind her that it was not about her and that I would do two months of bedrest instead of having a preterm labour and premature baby. People say the most insensitive things.

I had extereme guilt for not keeping him inside where he was safe. I felt even worse for needing drugs for his birth. When my milk did not come in I felt like the worst mother. I broke down in front of the doctors and nurses doing rounds in the NICU.

I have been teaching my son to breastfeed for 5 months and pumping for 6. Watching other moms breastfeed is very difficult. My sister in law could not help but get excited about her girl bottle feeding at Christmas. I wanted to scream! I think that I have hidden rage and I am super sensitive.

Henrik will be 6 months old next week and the feelings are still raw. It does gets better. But being homebound, because of RSV, the pump, and weather, does not help. It is difficult to grieve the lost expectations but love him with my whole being.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:14 AM
 
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It's really common to feel the way you do. Many of us mourn our experience, but in the end the only thing that really helps is knowing that you did not do anything wrong and giving your self the permission to find peace in the experience. The babies are here and you can not change the time or place they came into the world. You can however take control of how you are feeling and remind yourself that despite how things began that you are a good mother who cares deeply for her children.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:45 PM
 
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I think the shell analogy is a good one. In the beginning, I mourned the loss of the end of my pregnancy, my homebirth, those golden moments right after he was born--a great deal. It took a while for me to see a very pregnant mom and not feel a pang of jealousy. With time, however, it began to fade. DS turned one just recently and it was a happy day. My mom did bring up something about being in NICU, and it definitely brought back some of the feelings, but they were quickly gone. Time does seem to heal most things and brings new perspective.

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Old 02-06-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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It took me a year. When my son's first birthday came around, I was finally able to watch all the video we took in the NICU and smile. I was able to let go of my bitterness over losing the third trimester and losing not only the peaceful natural birth I'd planned, but also the ability to ever have one (because of the vertical incision). I can now smile sympathetically when miserable 8-month pregnant women complain that they wish they could have the baby now. I can even look back on those 8 weeks he spent in the NICU with a sort of nostalgia.

I just realized one day that I was past it.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can now smile sympathetically when miserable 8-month pregnant women complain that they wish they could have the baby now. I can even look back on those 8 weeks he spent in the NICU with a sort of nostalgia.

I just realized one day that I was past it.
that's just clicked in me why i have found my friend moaning about being over 36 weeks so hard. i think i've been very unsympathetic towards her
sigh.

i'll live in hope that it will indeed get easier. i think there is also an element of it that i don't ever want it to be forgotten right now - i suppose i wonder how it will have affected them longterm??? i mean, it's hard as a mother, but don't babies experience some kind of ptsd? sometimes i hear a beep that will remind me of the nicu and i look to them to see how it might have hurt them too.

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Old 02-07-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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hi, brand new here.
three & a half weeks ago, i delivered our baby girl at 36.5 weeks. she spent 14 days in the NICU due to her lung prematurity & development of pneumonia, among other things.

She is my 2nd child. My first was lost at 37 weeks - still birth due to a cord accident. I believe that because my husband and I experienced that loss, (less than a year before giving birth to this baby girl) I couldn't justify grieving the birth experience i always wanted. Delivering my baby girl, who was born with a "true knot" in her cord & a nuchal cord around her neck, in the hospital, on my back, under the bright white lights, I welcomed every second of it, just to see my baby move when she came out, to hear her cry.

Of course she was whisked away to the NICU before I could get a good look at her. Breastfeeding attempts wouldn't happen for 10 days. I would have loved to have the natural birth I'd dreamed of for years. But after what my husband & I have been through with missing our sweet baby boy, I guess we have just resigned ourselves to the hospital & NICU being part of our little baby's existence.

After reading your stories, it makes me remember all the day dreaming i'd done during my first pregnancy, imagining that beautiful moment when i'd deliver my little boy. I guess i never really let myself dream about those moments with my 2nd pregnancy out of fear that I may lose this baby too.
Even so, I can understand the feeling of loss of the birth experience you'd always wanted, I just have not allowed myself to long for anything more than my healthy baby girl. Sounds like many of you had close calls that have resulted in you sharing a very similar gratefulness.

best to all of you.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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maetera - congratulations on the birth of your daughter and hugs and tears for the loss of your sweet son. thank you for sharing your perspective with us.

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