Life after preeclampsia

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Life after preeclampsia

Postby aundapenner » Tue Feb 02, 2010 08:44 am

I used to be an active contributing member here. And up until recently, didn't know how to come back to be supportive.

You see, I have postpartum depression.

I have had 2 pregnancies - and have survived preeclampsia both times. My son was born early. My daughter was born *just* over the border of full-term.

I have delivered a baby in Cleveland Ohio and in Münster Germany.

And for some reason, I can't seem to not blame myself for my failures.

Sound familiar?

I am writing this because I want to lend a hand out there to each of you who are struggling ... struggling with the loss of a child, struggling with having a preemie and all the complications that come from that, struggling with the feeling of being a failure as a woman because your body just didn't do what it was supposed to.

This is not your fault.

Let me repeat that, but this time for me.

This is not my fault.

I am a strong, independent, educated woman. I have hit a rough spot a time or two in my life - and I have always persevered.

Life with preeclampsia can be overwhelming. This board, especially the pregnant again section, was a life saver during my 2nd pregnancy.

Life after preeclampsia can be disappointing - hopes and dreams were never realized and questions will never be answered.

So listen to me.

If you are pregnant right now and are having symptoms that don't quite feel normal - TRUST YOURSELF. Do not let doctor's ignore you. Do not let insurance dictate your feelings or concerns. You may or may not be in a life-threatening situation, but if your car was sinking in say, Lake Erie, would you wait for the water to hit your chin before doing something? :)

If you are contemplating having another, know that whatever way you decide (and as we all know, you can only decide for you) WE will all be here to support you and guide you and provide the shoulder to lean on.

And if you are a baby loss mama - know that my arms and shoulders are here to hold you and comfort and my ears are here to listen as you grieve.

So with all this being said, from this point on, I am no longer holding myself responsible for something that I am not in control of.

Instead, I will do my best to move forward and help others as I have been helped.
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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby rebeccac » Tue Feb 02, 2010 02:57 pm

Alice, this is beautiful...thank you.
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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby l412angel » Tue Feb 02, 2010 07:03 pm

So beautiful :)
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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby audrey s. » Wed Feb 03, 2010 03:48 am

Bless you for your candor, Alice! It took me some years to recover from the shock of just how abnormal my pregnancy -- after miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies -- had been, and I so miss the "beautiful" deliveries that some of my friends were able to experience.

HOWEVER...one of the reasons I hang around and visit here from time to time is that my daughter is now 14 1/2 years old, an honor student (though she has to work and claw for those grades!) and truly beautiful, in spite of some ongoing health issues. And we are, for the most part, living the lives of a normal family-with-teen. With help, and support, love and time, so much of the pain truly does ease up. My daughter's bat mitzvah was on her 13th birthday, an emotional time for us. For her 14th birthday, she wanted to take advantage of the free admission to Disneyland (a Sunday? in the middle of summer and tourist season? we didn't want to go, particularly). At 7:34 p.m., for the first time in 14 years, I was NOT teary-eyed, but more preoccupied with the logistics of getting her and 6 of her nearest and dearest friends home.

One other thing I have learned, both from my own child and from working in pediatrics: there often is a depth and maturity to children who have faced -- and overcome, or not -- challenges in their own lives. Although both my daughter and I wish that we'd had a normal experience, she has openly admitted that she would not be the strong and compassionate person she is growing up to be without having overcome her rough beginning. She still lives with some pain most days...but it does not stop her from living a normal teen life, complete with dozens of FB friends, mass quantities of homework, a beginning interest in "guys", and plans for college and grad school.

Our experience has also informed my practice as a caregiver to many children who have surgery early in life, often multiple surgeries. I can tell those parents that I truly do understand their fears and concerns...but I can also point them in the direction of my daughter and other children who have gone on to lead normal, healthy, average lives...a miracle I can never take for granted.

I knew when I had her that there were to be no more chances for us -- I was 40 when she came home from the NICU -- so some of those regrets at not getting to try for a normal pregnancy just didn't exist for us. My daughter is my miracle, the only one I will ever have. Mostly, our lives are very, very normal, though. I yell at her to stop texting her friends and get on with her homework, she grumbles when I ask her to do chores, she beats me at Wii tennis, and she lives for the day when she will pass me up height-wise (still an inch to go).

Alice, the only failure would be if you could not see your children for the (now) healthy and yes normal people that they are and are becoming. Yes, our bodies did not do what they allegedly were designed to do. And sure, I would have loved to have the "crunchy granola" pregnancy and early infancy bonding experiences of my dreams. But we don't control that, as I know intellectually you understand. Mending broken hearts...that takes longer (and definitely longer than a year!). I still am amazed at how R. beat the odds (we were told 50% of survival going into her first surgery at 2 days of age -- "Zero percent of living a normal life," according to her surgeon). I know so many of us did NOT beat those odds, and the one thing I struggle with at this point in our lives is that residual guilt that, for whatever reason, R. is with us and so many people's babies are not. But I think she and I both feel that instead, there's an obligation to make hers and my lives MEAN something and to contribute, as best she and I can.

BTW, I have been a knitter for years now. There are some amazing on-line knitting resources -- PM me if you want links ;). Oh, and forgive the novel. Your post obviously hit a nerve with me, as I so well remember struggling with those feelings!

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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby ozierja » Wed Feb 03, 2010 08:52 am

Awesome dialogue, y'all are fantastic and strong!
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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby 4evermyangel » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:30 am

Thank you Alice, once again this place has made me feel "normal". I used to come here so often after we lost our daughter Emma 2 years ago. Since then my husband and I have had this overwhelming need to help others who are going thru what we went thru. To make our long story short, I developed PE at 28 weeks delivered Emma 3 days later and we had a 5 month NICU stay, got to bring her home for 8 days and lost her during a surgery to remove a hemangioma, the doctors have no idea what went wrong.

The guilt and all the other feeling that you talk about....we know those all to well.

We do a PF walk every year on the weekend of her birthday, and we work with a charity that provides support to families in the NICU's but no matter what we do, it never seems to be enough. I would do anything I could to prevent someone else from feeling the pain that we do everyday. Since returning to work and all the other daily activities of "life" I haven't had a chance to come and check in nearly as often as I would like.

I've been a "lurker" lately and that is out of fear. Your post just gave me what I need to go to the Pregnant Again board and announce our 2nd pregnancy. I've been afraid to even say it out loud out of fear that once I say it something will go wrong. Your post made me realize and remember that no matter what happens I can come here for the support that I need!

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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby caryn » Wed Feb 03, 2010 01:18 pm

Maybe we aren't so good at making babies. But look how beautifully we take care of each other.

I'm honored to be a part of this community.
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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby l412angel » Wed Feb 03, 2010 02:03 pm

I second Caryn!
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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby jules2 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 02:53 pm

Thanks, you are close to all making me cry (something I never do, in spite of everything).

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Re : Life after preeclampsia

Postby cindyh27 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 05:22 pm

Well said Alice :) xoxo
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