Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

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Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby p_hurley » Fri Aug 03, 2012 03:58 pm

Hi everyone! My name is Tricia and I'm from Ontario. I was only 26 +6 when I was rolled into a high risk maternity suite in Toronto for severe preeclampsia. My daughter was born at 27 weeks and weighed only 1lb 10oz and stayed in the NICU for 10 weeks.

I felt no connection to my daugther at all and even when I held her - I was blank. When she came home I didn't have anyone to help and my husband basically went to work and his work schedule sucked. I had and still have no one. She is now 19 months old but I still have issues of anger and resentment that this happened to me. Preemies are enough to deal with but to add PTSD and baby blues on top of it all seems too much.

I started seeing a therapist around March 2012 and I've established that I obviously feel guilty about her prematurity and anger that not one family member seems to care at all...but I was wondering if anyone...ANYONE at all...has felt this way as well?
[url]http://abigaylesstory.weebly.com/[/url]
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby kerisue » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:08 pm

All the things you are feeling are completely normal. I struggled with guilty feelings too (had I been younger, thinner, less stressed, etc., would this have happened?). I have come to learn that really there was nothing I did to cause the preeclampsia and nothing that I could have done to prevent it. What you went through was a huge trauma- being gravely sick, delivering significantly early, having your child's life hang in the balance, and it sounds like you had to handle the aftermath largely on your own. That's more than one person can handle, even a strong one! It sounds a bit like you're grieving- not for your daughter since thankfully she's with you- but for the pregnancy you thought you'd have, the birth experience you thought you'd have, and the healthy full term baby you thought you'd have. Are there other NICU moms you could connect with or does the hospital have any kind of group for preemie moms? Connecting with others in your same situation may help. And of course we will be here for you too. :)
Mama to Millie
born June 2010 @ 24 wks. gestation due to my severe PE and CHF
lived 25 days, loved and missed
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby lynnebialas » Tue Feb 19, 2013 07:36 pm

Oh Tricia- I just joined this site today and immediately found your post. I hope that you still use the site and receive this response. I had my first baby..Molly..last May. I was fortunate...she was able to stay in the oven until 36.5 weeks. My high blood pressure came on quickly and unexpectedly at 34 weeks. I had no history of high blood pressure. The rest of the pregnancy was fine...I was scheduled to deliver in a low risk center for a natural birth. I had fantasies and hopes of breastfeeding...of having this amazing (yet painful) experience which would be so meaningful and allow for my daughter and I to have this amazing connection. At 34 weeks I went into the hospital for two separate 24 hour stays to monitor my urine and bp for pre-eclampsia symptoms. I was always close but never quite made the "cutoff" and I think they wanted Molly to stay inside as long as possible for her benefit. At my 36 wk appt the dr noticed from the ultrasound that she had stopped growing at about 34 weeks and my bp was climbing..they decided to induce me. I had an overnight dose of Cervadil and a whole day of pitocin..NOTHING! The next morning..round 2 of pitocin. My water broke and I felt optimistic. However I wasnt' dilated at all. The dr gave me until 7 that night and confined me to bed rest due to my bp. That in itself felt traumatic. At around 6 that evening the contractions were barely manageable and I had to ask like five times to get the dr to check me. When he did I found out that i still wasn't dilating and my bp had climbed to 166/120. The morning after my labs yielded some severe pre-eclampsia that came on during labor. We went into a C section. She was 4lb 4oz. I didn't get to see or hold her until lunch time the next day b/c the dr confined me to bed with pressure pumps on my legs and a magnesium drip which made me woozy and semi conscious. Molly was in the NICU for a week. I tried everythign in my power to breastfeed. Thanks to the bag of nutrients being fed into her intravenously, the fact that she got very little milk wasn't a big deal. I felt stupid..like I was "pretending" to actually be a mother. It was awful. When I had to go home without her I cried harder than I ever had. I was angry, sad but also so elated and distracted by my new baby. It has all felt so hard....nothing has come easy. She still is slow to grow..9 months and only 14 pounds. She doesn't sleep well..doesn't eat well..in my gut I feel like something isn't right but can't get it confirmed anyplace. I feel like I don't know what I"m doing..I feel like a failure. the mental anguish has been cyclical and overwhelming at times. My husband is emotinoally unavailble and unsupportive. I haven't been able to lose a single pound of baby weight despite my best efforts. I spent three months pumping exclusively to try and give her milk...I was able to provide about half of her diet during that time. Again, my husband got cranky about it and that's why I had to stop. I feel so alone..I feel so angry and resentful when all of my friends with babies born months after Molly are surpassing her in growth, are sleeping through the night. I wonder what I"m doing wrong..I feel inept. I cry all the time. I'm on meds for the depression but am afraid that I'll be stuck on them forever. Anyways, it sucks. I won't go on in case you don't really check this site anymore. I am a mental health provider and I understand on a rational level that i"m going through grief, etc. I just feel like she and I never had a fair shot..like the story didn't start "right" and now it will never be ok somehow. I wish I could get over this but have no idea how to do it.
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby lynnebialas » Tue Feb 19, 2013 07:36 pm

Oh Tricia- I just joined this site today and immediately found your post. I hope that you still use the site and receive this response. I had my first baby..Molly..last May. I was fortunate...she was able to stay in the oven until 36.5 weeks. My high blood pressure came on quickly and unexpectedly at 34 weeks. I had no history of high blood pressure. The rest of the pregnancy was fine...I was scheduled to deliver in a low risk center for a natural birth. I had fantasies and hopes of breastfeeding...of having this amazing (yet painful) experience which would be so meaningful and allow for my daughter and I to have this amazing connection. At 34 weeks I went into the hospital for two separate 24 hour stays to monitor my urine and bp for pre-eclampsia symptoms. I was always close but never quite made the "cutoff" and I think they wanted Molly to stay inside as long as possible for her benefit. At my 36 wk appt the dr noticed from the ultrasound that she had stopped growing at about 34 weeks and my bp was climbing..they decided to induce me. I had an overnight dose of Cervadil and a whole day of pitocin..NOTHING! The next morning..round 2 of pitocin. My water broke and I felt optimistic. However I wasnt' dilated at all. The dr gave me until 7 that night and confined me to bed rest due to my bp. That in itself felt traumatic. At around 6 that evening the contractions were barely manageable and I had to ask like five times to get the dr to check me. When he did I found out that i still wasn't dilating and my bp had climbed to 166/120. The morning after my labs yielded some severe pre-eclampsia that came on during labor. We went into a C section. She was 4lb 4oz. I didn't get to see or hold her until lunch time the next day b/c the dr confined me to bed with pressure pumps on my legs and a magnesium drip which made me woozy and semi conscious. Molly was in the NICU for a week. I tried everythign in my power to breastfeed. Thanks to the bag of nutrients being fed into her intravenously, the fact that she got very little milk wasn't a big deal. I felt stupid..like I was "pretending" to actually be a mother. It was awful. When I had to go home without her I cried harder than I ever had. I was angry, sad but also so elated and distracted by my new baby. It has all felt so hard....nothing has come easy. She still is slow to grow..9 months and only 14 pounds. She doesn't sleep well..doesn't eat well..in my gut I feel like something isn't right but can't get it confirmed anyplace. I feel like I don't know what I"m doing..I feel like a failure. the mental anguish has been cyclical and overwhelming at times. My husband is emotinoally unavailble and unsupportive. I haven't been able to lose a single pound of baby weight despite my best efforts. I spent three months pumping exclusively to try and give her milk...I was able to provide about half of her diet during that time. Again, my husband got cranky about it and that's why I had to stop. I feel so alone..I feel so angry and resentful when all of my friends with babies born months after Molly are surpassing her in growth, are sleeping through the night. I wonder what I"m doing wrong..I feel inept. I cry all the time. I'm on meds for the depression but am afraid that I'll be stuck on them forever. Anyways, it sucks. I won't go on in case you don't really check this site anymore. I am a mental health provider and I understand on a rational level that i"m going through grief, etc. I just feel like she and I never had a fair shot..like the story didn't start "right" and now it will never be ok somehow. I wish I could get over this but have no idea how to do it.
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby lynnebialas » Tue Feb 19, 2013 07:36 pm

Oh Tricia- I just joined this site today and immediately found your post. I hope that you still use the site and receive this response. I had my first baby..Molly..last May. I was fortunate...she was able to stay in the oven until 36.5 weeks. My high blood pressure came on quickly and unexpectedly at 34 weeks. I had no history of high blood pressure. The rest of the pregnancy was fine...I was scheduled to deliver in a low risk center for a natural birth. I had fantasies and hopes of breastfeeding...of having this amazing (yet painful) experience which would be so meaningful and allow for my daughter and I to have this amazing connection. At 34 weeks I went into the hospital for two separate 24 hour stays to monitor my urine and bp for pre-eclampsia symptoms. I was always close but never quite made the "cutoff" and I think they wanted Molly to stay inside as long as possible for her benefit. At my 36 wk appt the dr noticed from the ultrasound that she had stopped growing at about 34 weeks and my bp was climbing..they decided to induce me. I had an overnight dose of Cervadil and a whole day of pitocin..NOTHING! The next morning..round 2 of pitocin. My water broke and I felt optimistic. However I wasnt' dilated at all. The dr gave me until 7 that night and confined me to bed rest due to my bp. That in itself felt traumatic. At around 6 that evening the contractions were barely manageable and I had to ask like five times to get the dr to check me. When he did I found out that i still wasn't dilating and my bp had climbed to 166/120. The morning after my labs yielded some severe pre-eclampsia that came on during labor. We went into a C section. She was 4lb 4oz. I didn't get to see or hold her until lunch time the next day b/c the dr confined me to bed with pressure pumps on my legs and a magnesium drip which made me woozy and semi conscious. Molly was in the NICU for a week. I tried everythign in my power to breastfeed. Thanks to the bag of nutrients being fed into her intravenously, the fact that she got very little milk wasn't a big deal. I felt stupid..like I was "pretending" to actually be a mother. It was awful. When I had to go home without her I cried harder than I ever had. I was angry, sad but also so elated and distracted by my new baby. It has all felt so hard....nothing has come easy. She still is slow to grow..9 months and only 14 pounds. She doesn't sleep well..doesn't eat well..in my gut I feel like something isn't right but can't get it confirmed anyplace. I feel like I don't know what I"m doing..I feel like a failure. the mental anguish has been cyclical and overwhelming at times. My husband is emotinoally unavailble and unsupportive. I haven't been able to lose a single pound of baby weight despite my best efforts. I spent three months pumping exclusively to try and give her milk...I was able to provide about half of her diet during that time. Again, my husband got cranky about it and that's why I had to stop. I feel so alone..I feel so angry and resentful when all of my friends with babies born months after Molly are surpassing her in growth, are sleeping through the night. I wonder what I"m doing wrong..I feel inept. I cry all the time. I'm on meds for the depression but am afraid that I'll be stuck on them forever. Anyways, it sucks. I won't go on in case you don't really check this site anymore. I am a mental health provider and I understand on a rational level that i"m going through grief, etc. I just feel like she and I never had a fair shot..like the story didn't start "right" and now it will never be ok somehow. I wish I could get over this but have no idea how to do it.
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby tree » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:18 pm

Hi Lynne - Welcome to the forums. It is tough when you understand why you are going through all of this and still can't figure out how to get through it. I have been there, along with many other women on the forum. This is really hard. It stinks to feel like your body failed your baby by kicking her out early and then refusing to feed her. Failing at breast feeding along with the traumatic birth/recovery was one of the most difficult and awful experiences of my life. I still can't quite figure out why that was so hard, but it was.
My daughter is almost four, and things did get better for us. I had to practice putting one foot in front of the other for a while, but we are both doing well now. Counseling was extremely helpful for me. It might help if it is an option for you. Is your pediatrician helpful about sleep and feeding problems? Life is so much easier when you are getting some sleep and not chronically exhausted.
We are sorry that you had to find us, but we are glad that you are here.
Daughter born April 2009 at 35 weeks due to Class 1 HELLP
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby lynnebialas » Fri Feb 22, 2013 09:33 am

Thank you so much Teresa! I am a therapist so thankfully I'm quite aware of where I'm at mentally and emotionally. I plan on reconnecting with a therapist soon (it is so hard for a therapist to find a therapist...). Our pediatrician isn't so helpful I'm afraid. They don't have a lot of clear advice..they seem to throw antibiotics at anything that will sit still. Molly does seem to be growing out of some hard sleep issues but some of it may be her own tendencies. Thankfully we had two good nights of sleep in a row :) I started taking her to a chiropractor out of shear desperation about a month ago. She's still tiny..eats sporadically. We have considered a second opinion in the pediatrician department. My husband wants to let Molly cry it out but I just feel so bad when she's crying so hard...it violates every instinct I have not to go in and hold her a little bit. Some of the issue comes from the fact that she's still only 13 pounds and likely needs to eat in the middle of the night still. I totally understand that. It's hard to tell the difference between hungry cries and disregulated cries. Any suggestions would be welcome.
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby tree » Fri Feb 22, 2013 09:50 pm

The emotional fallout from PE is awful. I remember feeling so disconnected from everything, almost like I was watching it on TV. I knew exactly what I needed to do, but it took me a long time to make myself do it. It is tough when you know what is going on and still can't kick it. I hope you can find someone to talk to. Things will get better.
Congrats on the two nights of sleep! Can you find a different pediatrician? It seems like you are a bit worried about her growth and development, and that will just add to the stress until you feel confident in her doctor. It might also help you decide what to do about her sleep problems if the doctor can confirm that she is getting enough to eat or not without night time feeds.
I don't have any good advice on the sleep front. We lose many nights of sleep to insane dogs, but my daughter has always been a heavy sleeper. One of my good friends is working up the resolve for cry it out. It is such a lightening rod of a topic. I believe that helping a kid learn to sleep well is one of the best gifts you can give them. I also think that there are probably many ways to do it. Can you look for a few books on sleep training using non-cry it out techniques? You might find something else that works for you. One thing that really worked for us was sticking to a rigid sleep schedule. My daughter is not flexible about her sleep habits, and she has always needed consistent naps with an early bedtime. She is a mess if she gets off her schedule and has been that way since about three months.
Daughter born April 2009 at 35 weeks due to Class 1 HELLP
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby lynnebialas » Sat Feb 23, 2013 08:13 am

We had our first full night of sleep last night!! Amazingly enough, I decided to forego the monitor as I can hear her wake from my room with the doors open. Around 1am I heard little peeps, went in, stuck the binky back in her mouth and not another peep until 6am!!! Maybe my stress level has gone down. I am so grateful for your feedback..just to hear that other people have had the same experience is more validating than anything I could imagine! Professionally I have wished there was more I could do to help other women who have gone through this. I found a federal grant for research and practice into pre and perinatal mental health issues. If only I had the time and energy to write a proposal!!
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Re: Dealing with PTSD after 27 weeker born

Postby tree » Sat Feb 23, 2013 03:02 pm

Congrats on your first night of sleep!! That is a big deal, as is reducing your stress level a bit. I am glad to help. I stayed active in the forums because it makes me feel better to be even a little bit helpful to women who are going through this now. This group definitely talked me down off the ledge a few times.
Have you written federal grants before? They are a ton of work, but it does feel good to actually convert an idea from a tiny nugget in your brain into an actual project. I find the proposal process somewhat cathartic. Unfortunately, I work in a different field and can't go for PE related research grants. They are definitely a bad idea if you are already sleep deprived and strung out. Proposal writing makes both of those things dramatically worse in the short term.

Are you ready to start doing something nice for you to help keep your stress level down? It really helps to take a little bit of time to take care of yourself when things get bad. I know it is hard when you are working and dealing with a non-sleeper, but it is really important. I needed to start getting any kind of exercise, so she and I would walk between naps when she was little. Yoga, reading, getting your nails done, running, biking, book club, etc. can all help you get back to the point of starting to value yourself and take care of yourself. I felt really guilty about it for the first year, but we are all much happier if I get an hour workout in everyday. My daughter tells me to run when I get grumpy now, and I think we would have all been better off if I had started doing it earlier. If an hour sounds like a lot, try 20-30 minutes and work up.
Daughter born April 2009 at 35 weeks due to Class 1 HELLP
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