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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just thought this might be a good topic and kept apart from the birth stories thread. I know that some people had awesome births that were not at all traumatic, but the NICU stay afterwards was. I know that some of us had both a difficult birth and a NICU stay. Personally I loathe having to discuss/defend my birth with other MDC members who haven't BTDT in terms of interventions (many of them very neccesary IMO). I'm currently in therapy to deal with depression, much of which I feel is because of my pain and guilt over my daughter's birth. Anyone else want to talk about this? How you're coping, what sets you off, etc. Does anyone else who has been out of the NICU for a long time feel pissed off when people act like you should "get over it"?
 

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Ooooh...don't you hate the "get over it" comment. My biggest issue is that I wasn't able to see my girls for 2 days after they were born and even though dh had said that no one would be allowed to see them, he ended up taking his parents and siblings. Then they all came back telling me how they were so pretty and there was even once that my bil complained that they wouldn't let him into the NICU and he had travelled all the way to see them. (I still had 6 hours until I got to see them.)

The last couple days have been really hard for me. I don't know if AF is around the corner or if it is because we just got the cameras from their NICU stay developed.
 

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I think this might be quite therapeutic; I'd certainly be more than happy to talk about this subject, as I feel it's terribly underdiscussed in general.

There is, as you have so rightly stated, a huge tendency to sweep away the very intense feelings of grief, guilt, anger, depression, and helplessness some of us have had in dealing with the preemie experience by saying things like, "But you're all okay now, right?" "But you both made it through alive, that's what most important." Yes, it's very important, but it's certainly not ALL that's important. Did we both make it through *intact*? Why doesn't anyone ask THAT question? That's important, too, you know....

This is all still quite raw for me, as my 3rd preemie birth was only a few months ago, and we *just* finally passed a huge milestone: Sophia has now been OUT of the NICU longer than she was in it. It means so much to me to know that, from here on out, more of her life experience will have been formed by her family than by the nurses and neos and beeping machines.

As for my birth experience with her, I still can't talk about it without tearing up.
I haven't processed it well at all, b/c I just don't know how anything I do is ever going to be able to make it "okay." The simple fact is that it was terrifying, painful, and everything I never wanted. And there's just no way to change that. Top it off with the great likelihood that she's my last child, and I am left with deep sadness and regret, and an ugly, still-tender scar --an unwelcome reminder of just how far away I am from the home waterbirth I longed and planned for.

Each of my premature birth experiences and subsequent NICU stays has been different -- different reasons for delivery, different medical issues, different hospitals -- but all have left their mark on me. I did seek therapy about a year after the birth of my 2nd preemie, and in the ensuing years had continued to work through my first two preemie experiences to the point that I was approaching my 5th and final birth as a mostly-whole, mostly-healed woman. Then life happened, and I'm still reeling from it all. I think it will be a long time before the feelings begin to fade.

Guin
 

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I don't think I'm even ready to start dealing with my daughter's birth! LOL
 

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Well, I hacked off my hair last night an dfeel so much lighter and free. I've talked with a lot of people who believe that the hair carries a lot of the energy from the past. I've also been focusing on building my supply as that is the 1 thing about our NICU stay that I can change. I will provide milk for my girls until the day they decide they don't want to bf anymore.

Guin, I can't imagine going through that 3 times. Any tips or ideas that have worked for you to help get over the last 2? Other than therapy? I just can't figure out when I would have the time or ability to go to therapy. I have thought about it. I figure I'll do some work on my own and when the girls are older, I'll do some therapy. Not the best solution, but the only other oprtion is setting up a couple sitters which is a hassle!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Guinevere
There is, as you have so rightly stated, a huge tendency to sweep away the very intense feelings of grief, guilt, anger, depression, and helplessness some of us have had in dealing with the preemie experience by saying things like, "But you're all okay now, right?" "But you both made it through alive, that's what most important." Yes, it's very important, but it's certainly not ALL that's important. Did we both make it through *intact*? Why doesn't anyone ask THAT question? That's important, too, you know....
This struck such a chord with me. So often I just want someone, ANYONE, else to acknowledge that it is okay to struggle with my feelings about dd's birth. As beautiful and precious as she is, and as thankful as I am that she is all right, the fact remains that I worked really hard to have a mindful and empowering birth and I ended up terrified and out of control. And instead of blissfully bonding with my newborn, I spent the early days of her life watching the numerous procedures and tests, consulting with her doctors, struggling to breastfeed, and trying to learn to comfort her without being able to hold her. Could it have been a thousand times worse? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean my feelings are invalid or inappropriate.

My dd is 16 months old now, and I am only starting to really do the work of resolving these feelings. I've been so focused on dd's health that it was easy to push them aside. Dh and I have been talking about ttc, though, and I'm finding that I am resistant, mainly because I'm really scared. So I'm trying to find a kind of peace, but I don't know if I really know how to do that.
 

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The only person who acknowledged that it was normal and I had a right to be upset about going home and leaving the girls in the hospital was my RE. Everyone else said that it was for the best or that it would be easier recovering from the c/s w/o them here.

I'm finding that I'm getting a bit obsessive about having another babe and having the birth I want with no intervention, at home, babymoon, etc. Like adding a pregnancy and baby would solve everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by mimid
I'm finding that I'm getting a bit obsessive about having another babe and having the birth I want with no intervention, at home, babymoon, etc. Like adding a pregnancy and baby would solve everything.
My first daughter was also preemie, but no NICU stay. However the experience of her birth was not what I wanted and hoped for, so I was so excited that my second pregnancy and birth was my chance to get a "do-over" and have the natural childbirth. Unfortunately, my second was even earlier than my first and her birth was wayyyy more intervention-filled and unnatural than my first. I have a lot of guilt and despair that I was not able to have a natural birth, and that since we're not planning on more children, there are no more chances. Just something to think about in terms of another birth experience. In my case, it was even more devastating the second time around.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mimid
I'm finding that I'm getting a bit obsessive about having another babe and having the birth I want with no intervention, at home, babymoon, etc. Like adding a pregnancy and baby would solve everything.
I feel the same way. Although I did have a natural birth with my ds as I went into labor and delivered super quick at 34 weeks, I still feel cheated out of the birth exerience that I so wanted. He was wisked away immediately and I was freaking out so they gave me demoral while they sewed me up. The darn demerol made me useless for at least 12 hours. I didn't get to have my baby pulled out of my and laid on my chest. I didn't get to nurse him right away. I didn't get to do all the things that I had so wanted to do. Not to mention amidst all the craziness, my mom was admitted to the hospital and passed away a week after my ds was born. There was just so much craziness surrounding his birth. It just was not what I had dreamed of.

I feel like if I had another maybe I could get it right this time. Of course, that's just a dream as it's very possible I'd end up with another preemie! Even scarier to me is that I have such quick labors I would be terrified of having a preemie and not making it to the hospital in time.

BTW, I am loving this board. Just discovered it today.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mimid
I'm finding that I'm getting a bit obsessive about having another babe and having the birth I want with no intervention, at home, babymoon, etc. Like adding a pregnancy and baby would solve everything.
I feel the same way!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mimid
I'm finding that I'm getting a bit obsessive about having another babe and having the birth I want with no intervention, at home, babymoon, etc. Like adding a pregnancy and baby would solve everything.
That was supposed to be this baby- my homebirth, do everything right baby- and she came 15 weeks early & by c-section after the rest were all vaginal births!
 

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I have to say that after having one 29 weeker (crash c/s and a hell of a traumatic birth and NICU stay) and one full term baby, the full term experience is nice and all but unfortunately doesn't make everything all better.

I don't think you ever get over having a preemie, traumatic birth, NICU stay, etc... It just becomes a part of who you are. After 6 years, I wouldn't say I'm still traumatized by ds's birth, but I still get angry when people spout off about their perfect births, can't watch birth shows, etc...

So what was my point? Oh yeah--I probably have the oldest preemie here and I'll tell you that having a birth like this is a lot like having post-traumatic stress. And everyone processes it differently and for different periods of time.

But make no mistake; you never get over it and it never goes away. It just becomes a part of who you are...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you Jen, that helps. I have thought about having another baby sometimes just so I could do it "right". I have ranted and raved and cried about people who post things like epidurals are child abuse. I have tried to bite my tongue about the mama I know IRL who told me that she was just so tired of being pregnant and was going to be induced at 40 weeks 3 days. I try really hard to remember that no matter what, nothing is going to change what has happened, even if I for some crazy reason end up pregnant again and have the "perfect" birth this time around.
 

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My personal favorite is a friend who said, "You get the birth you deserve."

WHAT?!?

But in some ways, you know--I think we all did get the births we deserved and I'll tell you why. As a result of these preemies, these NICU stays, we are stronger women. We are more compassionate toward others who are going through troubles. We will undoubtedly have friends who will also have preemies who we can help. We are more appreciative of every moment. Because you know you might not have had it.

Yeah it would be great to be blissfully unaware, floating through life thinking epidurals and c/s's are the Devil. But you know, it must suck to be so stupid.

And we now go into every situation with our eyes wide open, ready to experience life for what it is: a miracle.

There is no perfection in birth besides the baby.
 

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I have a lot of conflicting feelings about my dd's birth.

I had two miscarriages before DD. In the beginning I was very concerned about another one, naturally. But even after the first trimester, I could not shake the feeling that something would go wrong. I worried constantly; about late term miscarriage, about incompetent cervix, about preterm birth, about placental abruption, about cord accidents, and about stillbirth. I could not enjoy the pregnancy that I wanted so much. If dd wouldn't kick for a while, I'd poke and prod my belly, trying to get her to move again. I even rented one of those awful Doppler thingies, knowing the risk (only used it once per week max, for 2-3 seconds each time, from the 13th wk on)- because otherwise I would have gone to the doctors office demanding to hear her heartbeat because I felt all the time something was WRONG.

I educated myself on natural childbirth. I knew all the risks of the various interventions. I planned to labor at home as long as possible before going to meet my midwife at the birth center attached to the local hospital. I was 3-4 cm dilated for two weeks.

Finally, at 41 wks, I could not take it anymore. By "it" I mean the psychological trauma of almost constantly believing my baby either was already dead or would die soon. I cried hysterically to my DH and to my midwives that the baby would be stillborn, and while they were sympathetic, I could tell they were thinking I was acting a little nuts because of pregnancy hormones or something. I asked to be induced at 41 wks. I KNEW I was 41 wks because I'd had an extremely early ultrasound (5wks). I did everything known to God to induce labor naturally, besides cod liver oil. And I think that helped to get my cervix so ripe and the baby descended enough.

So finally I had the birth I did NOT want but felt I had to have. The hospital/pitocin/epidural (waited as long as I could, 6 hrs, 5 cm dilated when they placed it). Ah well. Labor itself was okay except for one midwife raising the question of meconium. (It wasn't. It was a bit of brown blood. MEDwife.) So, because of that, pediatrics and the NICU people had to come up because hospital policy dictated it in meconium cases.

After 3 hrs of pushing, Jessica was finally born- and slid right out before she could be suctioned and cried a weak little cry. That's where it went bad.

Now everyone is freaked out that she could have inhaled meconium (give me a break, there was NO meconium visible anywhere). So they immediately cut the cord, RUSH her into this little room next to mine and I tell DH "GO!" I'm asking "Is she ok" over and over and no one's telling me ANYTHING. A few minutes later, DH finally comes back and says "she's okay, but she has a cleft palate." I ask if she has a cleft lip also (shows how quickly she was taken) and he says no. So I'm laying there realizing the implications, that I can't breastfeed, when a girl who looks younger than me (I'm 23) comes over to tell me she's from pediatrics and

"The baby is breathing rapidly and we don't know why so we're going to take her down to the NICU."

I get to hold her for a few minutes, as soon as I look at her I wonder about Down's syndrome. Then they take her. And I am laying there while they stitch me up (only 5 stitches) and push on my stomach to help get the placenta out. That was the first time in 13.5 hours of labor that I cried. I cried because I felt everything I had feared was coming to fruition. I was terrified that my baby was either dead or dying, and I had no way of getting to her, and no one was making me feel any better, and I couldn't go see her until they took the epidural out which was about an hour and a half- I really don't know, it felt that long, maybe it wasn't. All the momentary elation and that huge gush of maternal love and awe at watching my first chlid be born was immediately followed by being crushed that my child is not healthy and is in an emergency situation and I am not with her.

I can't write anymore right now.
 

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What gets me sometimes is that I knew I was having a c/s, the girls would probably be preemies, possibly have a NICU stay and read up and planned for it. I thought I was prepared and ready for it and wouldn't have the trauma because I knew al of this from 6 weeks when we had the u/s and found out it was trips. But, as they say, we make plans and G-d laughs at them. Everything went so well that I started believing I would definately make it to 36 weeks, take my girls home, let them room-in with me, etc. I didn't even have my bag packed at 33 weeks! Not to mention my birthplan. I had planned on bringing it to the OB the following Monday at my appt. I was totally unprepared! And it happened on a holiday, my family wasn't there, dh's family is nice and all, but I wanted my mommy and my daddy, yk? And then dh gets all caught up in it and forgets all his promises. What I needed was a doula. I needed someone on my side and I should have listened to everyone who said that dh and family aren't the best choice.

So now I'm obsessing. What gets me really going is that there isn't a reason to believe I will need another c/s or have another preemie. (Like that stops it from hapenning.) Chances are I won't have multiples and especially high order multiples. Pre-e isn't something you get with every pregnancy. So the OB saying that I can likely have a healthy, term baby next time really doesn't help. I'll probably be in a state of panic the whole time if I get pg again.

And Jen, thanks those words. I think I'll look up some info on PTSD. Maybe that'll give me some insight.
 

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At the time I was going through it my pregnacy with DD and the NICU stay afterwards didn't feel that tramatic. I think I just went through the whole thing in a daze. Partly I think it was my way of shutting down just to carry on with the things that had to be done, partly I think due to lots of heavy bleeding and then the drug for the C/S I really just wasn't that aware of what was happening.

I had placenta previa and first started bleeeding at 26 weeks. Each time there was a lfood of blood I was scaredthat this was going to be it but 3 times the bleeeing stopped and I came home again. less that 6 hours after that 3rd homecomming I was back in hospital again. This time the bleeding didn't stop and DD was not handling it well. I could feel that her movements had changed. She was still moving a lot, more that I expected but it wasn't gentle movements anymore, more like a fish out of water, really fighting. I remember feeling a strange sense of calm that this time it really was it. DD was taken straight up to NICU where she needed cpap for a couple of days, after that it was mostly waiting for her to be awake and strong enough to feed. She came over 2 weeks later.

2 years on and I'm pregnant again. Never expecting to have the same set of problmes but it turns out I have. I;m now just over 23 weeks, some days I feel I can relax a little thinking as time goes by the baby has that much more of a chance but as that 26 week mark creeps up the memories are haunting me more. I realise how lucky we were last time and wonder if that luck is going to hold out. I feel an almost obsessive need to be prepared, have tiny clothes and nappies ready but somehow planning for another premmie seems like I've given in.

I don't think I will truly relax until the baby is home with us, whenever that my be.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bri276
But even after the first trimester, I could not shake the feeling that something would go wrong.
I felt like that for this entire last pregnancy!
First they were certain I was having a miscarriage... then they thought my placenta was super low, and it just kept going.
At one point, when they thought I was having the miscarriage, I even wrote in my journal tha I wish if something was going to go wrong it would happen then and not later on because I wanted it over and done with! I'd had a blighted ovum the pregnancy before... and five years ago a stillbirth... I didn't think I could handle much else.
 

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I don't think any women can get over their birth, whether it be "normal" or traumatic. Especially in our cases, it's even more pronounced. I'm not over it and I know I'll never be.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mimid
I'm finding that I'm getting a bit obsessive about having another babe and having the birth I want with no intervention, at home, babymoon, etc. Like adding a pregnancy and baby would solve everything.
So am I! My first wasn't normal either, ptl, medical interventions. Second time i was determined to go all natural, full term etc... Well those dreams were slashed. I often dream of seeing my huge belly, not being able to see my feet, feeling what it's like to go through labor (i never had a normal labor) I wanted those "pains" i wanted to feel those contractions for hours, walking around, maybe birthing in the tub. But thats all it is, is a dream to me. I know i can't have a normal birth, no more kids for us. No way I can risk this again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I had the something is wrong feeling too! I started off with spotting, which hadn't happened the time before. Then I had an positivel first trimester screening, which led to an amnio at just 15 weeks. By 17 weeks I was having frequent strong BH's. I failed the one hour glucose test (as I had with my first) and had to take the 3 hour. I was in the hospital twice at 25 weeks, once at 28 weeks, and once at 32 weeks before I went in with the vomiting and contracting at 32.5 weeks that led to her birth. It was just so different than my first pregnancy.

In my first trimester, I went to the bookstore, and while looking at the pregnancy book I saw the Dr. Sears preemie book. I picked it up and looked through it and thought, "I really should buy this, I'm going to need it." it was like this sense of intuition. Then I thought, "No, I won't have a preemie again." and I put the book back, like I was trying to talk myself out of it. And when we went to buy a going home outfit, I bought a preemie outfit. I reasoned that she'd be a little early like her sister, and she'd be small even if she was full term since we're small people. But when I look at the outfit, it is about the size you would put on a 4-5 pound baby. She did wear it home from the hospital.
 
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