Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Are you considering having another child after preeclampsia? Trying again after preeclampsia can be an emotional challenge. You can find support with others who share your concerns here.
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Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby cfarrell » Fri Jun 08, 2012 09:47 am


I suffered from severe pre-eclampsia on my first birth at only 26 weeks. My son was born just under 2 pounds. I was in the hospital for two weeks with blood pressures up to 225/120 and headaches so severe morphine injected into my picc line didn't touch them. My son miraculously lived with no long term health complications. He is now two and a half years old and as perfect as can be. You'd never expect he was born early.
Those few months have been the hardest trial of my life, and I have been seeing a counselor to deal with post tramautic stress and anxiety I have in parenting my son. It's taken a long time (and is still a work in progress) to convince my mind that my son's life is not still at stake.
As my son is getting older, I feel it is time to expand our family and give him a sibling. However I'm terrifed at the possibility it could happen again. MFM has said since my probability is around 44% that it will reoccur early on again, due to how early and severe it struck last time. 22% of that accounts for delivery before 28 weeks, and 22% is for delivery between 28-36 weeks. There is another 22% that is will occur after 36 weeks, but that's not a big deal so I'm not as worried about that.
My biggest concern at this point is my health since I am a mother to such a sweet. miraculous little boy who I love more than life. After receiving such tremendous blessings with him, I feel guilty at the thought of putting my health at risk again for the sake of having another one. I'm worried about my physical health first and foremost, but also my emotional. I barely hung on by a thread last time, and I don't know that I could endure it again. I am also nervous about being in the hospital long term and being away from my first son, or even placed on bedrest.
I don't know what type of response I'm looking for, I guess just people that have been through this situation before and can offer words of encouragement (or warning!). Any advice would be highly appreciated! :D

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby ellemoon » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:05 am

I haven't "been there, done that" but I can say that I know exactly how you feel. I dealt with a lot of PTSD and extreme bitterness that my pregnancy was cut so short. I still go in and check to make sure DD is breathing while she's sleeping. I can't seem to get my mind to turn off the "A's and B's" mode, even though we are way past that. I, too, worry about a subsequent pregnancy and how it will affect DD. I want so badly to be pregnant again and (hopefully) experience a full term pregnancy but at what cost? I don't know my exact odds yet because I haven't seen MFM yet (I will July 26th) but I know they aren't good since I am Chronic Hypertensive and developed pre-e so severely early on. I don't want my DD to have to suffer because I selfishly wanted another baby. So, it's a tough decision. I'm nowhere ready to decide yet- DD is just over a year old but it's always in the back of my mind. Its so unfair that our decisions to have another baby aren't as simple as other people's. It's not just about "can we afford it? are we ready?" It's about risking your life in order to give your child a sibling. It sucks. It's not fair. But I understand exactly what you're going through (as most people here do too). Good luck! :)
Leslie (26) DH (28)
Chronic hypertensive since age 17
DD- born April 24, 2011 due to severe pre-e at 29w1d weighing 2lbs, 11oz
Diagnosed with homozygous MTHFR C677T
Pregnant with #2! Due 9/2/13 but will deliver at 36-37 weeks due to classical csection.
(Labetolol, HCTZ, Aspirin 81mg, Calcium, Mag, Zinc, D, Fish Oil, Fiber gummies, Folic Acid)

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby cfarrell » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:41 am

ellemoon, I do the exact same thing!! (go in while he's sleeping to check if he's breathing) Even though he's over two years old :oops: Thank you for responding, I am finding comfort in browing through this forum and hearing from so many other women who feel as I do. It's hard to explain to others who have not experienced PE how real the intense the fear is.

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby LBD30 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:50 am

I am going through the same thing right now. DD is just over a year and doing great and we would like another one, but I can't get past my trauma either and I am terrified of getting sick again. I got pre-e starting at 32 weeks but it got severe at 34 and delivered then. I was also in hospital for over a week due to BP. I know I wasn't as early as you, but I do understand what you are going through.
Lilah born 5/30/11 - emergency c-section at 33.5 weeks due to severe pre-e

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby aajatwins » Fri Jun 08, 2012 02:47 pm

I'm sorry you went through such a traumatic experience. PE just plain stinks! It is very normal to be dealing with PTSD and things of that nature. Many women have said here that even seeing the hospital where it all happened could send them into a tizzy. It is amazing what you (and your son) have come through and you need to make sure you acknowledge that! I'm sure I had postpartum depression on some level in dealing with my delivery - I felt so crazy and unable to move on for a good 6 months. I remember wondering how everyone else went about their days without bursting into tears at least once daily over what we had all been through. But there is healing! We all come to it in different ways.

Deciding to TTC again is such a personal decision. We certainly have posters who decide they can't do it, emotionally, mentally. But I do not believe that anyone should feel guilty for wanting to mother more children. Children are a blessing! You obviously love your son and it is such a sweet mystery to see how your love will expand to include more children and I think it is perfectly natural to want to experience that. It is also the wish of many moms who have such a traumatic pregnancy and/or delivery to want a better experience of those. I know I did. I felt very out-of-control during my twin pregnancy and I do not remember their delivery. That is still very much a tender spot for me, but I know that having my 3rd son in a normal pregnancy with VBAC was definitely part of my healing process. I don't think it would have matter too much what kind of delivery it was (I would have been thankful to remember it either way), but getting to VBAC was particularly special to me. That said, that is my own experience and not everyone gets that. But we have had several recent success stories :) You definitely need to be physically and emotionally healthy to make a decision like whether or not to TTC. I hope you find peace one way or another!
Anna (28) - endometriosis
Hubby (27)
Aidan & Jordan - 7.2.09 at 36 weeks. Induction turned emergency c-section due to eclampsia. big healthy toddlers today!
Asa - 10.23.11 at 39 weeks. NO hypertensive issues!! successful VBAC :)

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby angieb » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:48 am

After HELLP at 23 weeks and our daughter's death, our odds were pretty ugly. 12% chance of HELLP, 70% chance of preeclampsia, but they were pretty confident it would be later and less severe. Since our daughter had already died, I really didn't especially care all that much if my next pregnancy killed me, as long as I didn't have to watch another baby die, I'd consider that an okay trade off. (Sounds a lot braver than I really was, it was much more out of desperation than bravery.)

My next pregnancy we found an MFM I really liked and a plan I was comfortable with, I was watched closely by my doctors (who were adamant that I wasn't going to die though they couldn't guarantee us a living child), and the weeks slowly but surely ticked by and I think even my doctors were surprised when we made it to 36 weeks. (Delivered at that point due to my previous c-section.) DS was a healthy 7.4lbs, and did not spend a minute in the NICU. My pregnancy with DS was terrifying and stressful and risky, but so so worth it.

I am not a doctor or medical provider, and I don't think a doctor could guarantee you can walk away healthy from a pregnancy (which is true even for normal pregnancies), but generally, most often, the women who die from preeclampsia are USUALLY first time mom's, they may not know what to look out for or what is/isn't normal (especially since stuff like swelling can very well be normal), and/or they may have doctors who don't take their symptoms seriously or aren't watching them closely. And of those, the number in the US is very small. (Although I think we would all argue that any deaths are too many.) Another reason for the high number of maternal deaths are usually in countries without what we in the US consider normal prenatal and postpartum care. After having to deliver at 26 weeks, you should absolutely see someone for high risk patients and be watched very closely from around 20-24 weeks on. (My high risk doctor starts seeing me at 6 weeks but that may not be the norm.) I can't tell you what potential health consequences or the risk of dying from a pregnancy, but I do want to iterate that the odds of dying at least are very small. And I certainly don't want to talk you "into" or out of, trying to have another baby, that's a very personal decision, but I do think it is helpful to keep some perspective on the risks. I haven't seen stats recently but I think it's safe to say far more people in the US die from car accidents than from preeclampsia, but many of us still drive and ride in cars and put our kids in cars. That being said, another pregnancy might not be worth the risk, this disease sucks and there aren't any guarantees.

Anyway, good luck with your decision.
Me (29) DH (30)
#1-Olivia Caetlyn-9-28-09-9-28-09, 23+2 wks, emergency classic c-section, class I HELLP, IUGR
#2- Lucas Oliver (rainbow baby)- April 2011, 36+2 wks, HELLP and pre-e free! (lovenox and LDA pregnancy)
#3-Matthew, late October 2012...mostly normal, 37 wks, (lovenox and LDA again)
My blog: http://www.butterflies-and-rainbows.blogspot.com/

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby cfarrell » Sat Jun 09, 2012 05:13 pm

Thank you all so much for you replies, reading them meant a lot to me. I appreciate the reassuring remarks about not being selfish for wanting to a child. When I really started contemplating it, I realized that the whole driving force behind having another one is my first son. The reason I'd be putting myself through this again is definitely not because I'm bored and baby hungry - it's because I see my toddler's sweet spirit when he has met baby cousins or played with friends. He is yearning for a playmate, and I think he deserves to have a sibling.
Angieb, it is so great to hear your next pregnancy went so well! What a miracle!! And you truly deserved that. I cannot fathom the despair of losing your first one. I appreciated your positive stance on death from pre-eclampsia. Because what you said is true - and I need to try to focus on that rather than grasping onto the less rational thoughts.
I have met with an OB I like, and MFM who plans on jointly following me around 18-20 weeks. They are also going to start me on baby aspirin after the first trimester. I just need to keep reminding myself that between both of them I will be monitored extremely closely and chances of something serious happening are very small.

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby holly3372@msn.com » Mon Jun 11, 2012 07:28 am

I know how very hard this decision is and of course it is a very personal one. since you are asking however I will say this, I also had severe early onset preeclampsia at 26 weeks. After 4 long months in the nicu we lost our only child. In my heart I told myself,if he makes it out of here I will never risk myself or a child again knowing what I know now . If I had a healthy child I would not get pregnant again after such trauma, I would foster or adopt if i wanted a sibling . That being said, because I have no living children I am almost 2 years after the death of my son pregnant again. I wish you luck and peace in whatever you choose, it is not easy.
Benjamin Spider Reeves born 4-28-2010( 1lb 6oz 26 weeks to severe pre-e and Iugr) we lost you after 4 long months in the NICU. You fought so hard,and were so brave.Our first baby .We miss you everyday and love you forever xo

Expecting ,dreaming, and hoping for our baby Girl sometime in January 2013

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby ktsl123 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:38 am

Obviously everyone is different with how PE effects them. I know girls who had PE and it didnt' phase them and they went on to have the amount of kids that they had planned on originally without even thinking about it. They weren't about to change their plans of raising a larger family. I also know of some girls who needed therapy and some who refuse to have other kids after PE. What I believe personally is if you have the desire to have more kids you should because you will be monitored carefully with other pregnancies and you may always have an emptiness in your heart if you don't go for that baby you desire. Everybody is different and it make take some time to feel comfortable with having another baby. I would recommend finding a Dr you are comfortable to ease your decision.
Son born healthy at 5lbs 8oz at 35 weeks +2 days due to Severe PE on 7-21-09

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Re: Feeling Guilty for Wanting to Try Again

Postby caryn » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:12 am

Many of our posters went on to have more pregnancies that resulted in dead children, or in children who spent months in NICU and who have permanent disabilities. I think it's perfectly rational and reasonable to consider the possibility that the harm pregnancy could cause might outweigh the good. Many of our posters decide that this is unlikely, given the odds we face. But everyone's odds are individual, with this disease, which is one very good reason to speak with a MFM about *your* individual risks and then to assess your decisions in the light of your own values.
Science! The articles you don't want to miss:
The Preeclampsia Puzzle (New Yorker) and Silent Struggle: A New Theory of Pregnancy (New York Times)
Looking for recent articles and studies?
A chance to participate in research? For us on Facebook or Twitter?

Caryn, @carynjrogers, who is not a doctor and who talks about science stuff *way* too much
DS Oscar born by emergent C-section at 34 weeks for fetal indicators, due to severe PE
DD Bridget born by C-section after water broke at 39 weeks after a healthy pregnancy

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