by amberstrika (31 Posts), Fri Jul 20, 2012 01:35 pm
I wrote you this huge, essay long reply and my laptop decided to take a big computer poo right before I clicked "send". I'm foaming at the mouth furious, but I feel like I have to respond to your post. My experience with my first daughter was so like yours that I hope I can help you out a little bit with my story. Sorry for the novel-length response, but here goes:
When my first daughter was born back in 2003 I never expected anything to end up being out of the ordinary. It was a pretty normal pregnancy, except for the fact that she was a HUGE baby. So huge that I was induced at almost 39 weeks, and ended up having a c-section because of failure to progress. She weighed in at 9 lbs, 16 oz. And this was a week and some days early. Recovering from a c-section was not how I expected to spend my first few days with my baby. Hooked up to an epidural waiting with gritted teeth for my next dose of pain meds. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. I already started off on the wrong foot. A few days later, the day after I was discharged, I could just feel that something was wrong. I could hardly breathe and I felt like I was surely dying. I made my husband take me back tot the ER, fearing possible bronchitis, or the flu. Turns out, I really WAS dying. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia, pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs hence the breathing problem) and pneumonia. BAM! All at once I went from new mom to critical care patient. Since I had pneumonia, my baby was not allowed to be anywhere near me. Due to all the medications, I could also not breastfeed, and felt like I was missing out on a huge part of motherhood. After 2 excruciating weeks, I was finally discharged and told to take it easy, and attend follow up appointments with numerous specialists. I came to find out that yet another product of my experience was a heart condition.
At my first follow up appointment I was told my my OB that I should not plan on having more kids. With my history it was too dangerous. Last thing my body needed was a re-occurrence of what had happened. I told myself that I planned otherwise. I spent the next 7 years getting my body in peak physical condition to change my fate and try again. I lost a ton of weight, ate healthy, lowered my blood pressure and cholesterol. After giving my body ample time to adjust to it's new found heart condition I saw a high risk specialist who gave me the green light. I was now in better physical condition that most moms going into normal pregnancies. I was still high risk, but was ready to try again. After becoming pregnant I made sure that my OB's were up to the task of working with someone who needed special attention and monitoring like myself. I made sure that the hospital I was planning on delivering in was ready for any problems that may befall me.
Did I end up getting preeclampsia again even though I had gone through such intense physical conditioning? You bet your butt I did! At my 37 week appointment my blood pressure had shot up, and I was spilling +2 protein. The next day, I was delivered via c-section and started immediately on a mag drip (which wasn't so bad, in my opinion). I had no lasting problems with baby #2 once she was out. I credit taking excellent care of myself, and working with a team of specialists for my ability to have more kids. I went from being told "no more!!" by my general practice OB to having another beautiful daughter with a mostly painless pregnancy. I did it again, and am currently 32 weeks pregnant with my third (and last) daughter. With careful monitoring (checking BP and protein every day at home) and frequent MFM appointments, I have been able to have more kids. It's EXTREMELY scary, but it can be done. As long as you are taken proper care of, it's a night/day difference. I had never even heard of preeclampsia until after my first was born, and with my other two I monitor myself like a hawk. Seeing a high-risk specialist makes all the difference in the world. If I were you, I wouldn't throw having more kids out the window until you have explored all your options. There are women here who have managed to have additional children even after having severe preeclampsia and HELLP at gestation's either not viable, or just barely, so hang in there.
Happy pep talk aside, it is important to discuss the repercussions of what you are going through now. Right at this moment with your new baby. It took me almost 4 years, yes, YEARS, to adjust to life with my first born. Everything went so unbelievable wrong with her, that I feared I would never get used to my new baby. During my hospital stay, I missed her first bath, her first stroller walk, even her first Halloween. This was not the way it was supposed to be. I reemerged from the hospital a scared, inexperienced new mom who didn't even recognize her own child. Everyone around me seemed to have everything under control, while I could hardly tell left from right. With my disappointment in everything going so wrong, I became severely depressed. I felt like I should be able to connect with my baby more, and like that had been stolen from me. I fancied that she was someone else's child, and that surely this could not be the baby I had so desperately wanted. I had a hard time interacting with her, and even imagined her real parents coming to take her away. It was a long hard road, but eventually, mostly through self-acceptance and awareness that even though I wasn't a cooing, proud new mom, she was mine and here to stay, things changed. It wasn't until she was no longer a baby, but a growing, talking preschooler that I finally felt the feelings of motherhood towards her. As a baby, my mind refused to accept her as my own, but once we had the ability to go out shopping, and sharing a laugh at something funny over ice cream cones, that that warm, maternal feeling finally found a place.
I can promise you, from my experience, that even though it is not easy, and may very well be a long, hard road, things will change for the better. See a therapist, or speak to other moms about your feelings. Even if it's just online. Never underestimate the value of honesty. When I finally got up the courage to reach out to other moms online, I was shocked to see just how normal my situation was. The text-book images of happy, beaming moms in their clean, perfect houses is not reality for most of us. There were some days I wanted to pawn my baby off on anyone who would take her just for some breathing space. And when new motherhood isn't exactly what you expected, you are often left behind feeling disappointed and angry. You are not alone though, and I hope my story can help you in some way. Just keep your chin up and take each day one step at a time. Don't let you feelings of disappointment swallow you whole, and be sure to seek separate opinions before you give up on your dreams of additional children. Good luck!