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Why can't I get over this already??

Are you part of the NICU club? Do you have a child who is still struggling with the effects of being born too soon from preeclampsia? Share your concerns and stories here among parents who have been there.

Why can't I get over this already??

Postby vivsmommy » Thu Mar 11, 2010 06:20 am

by vivsmommy (3 Posts), Thu Mar 11, 2010 06:20 am

Hello all, I am a newbie. I am so happy I found this site. I have NEVER spoken to anyone about the terrible sadness I experience over my experience with Preelampsia and having to see my daughter in the N.I.C.U. My daughter is 16 months and perfectly fine, but I still can't get over that pain of seeing my baby so helpless. I guess I will tell you my story.

I went to the doctors at 27 weeks because my feet were horribly swollen and so were my hands. I had to get my wedding ring cut off. I went to my mothers house and she told me to go right back to the doctors. Thank goodness I did because my blood pressure was at 200/94, I was seeing spots, and I had the worse headache. Long story short they admitted me, did some tests, and diagnosed me with preeclampsia.

Everyday in the hospital I was giving blood and vitals taken every hour. The worse, I'm pretty sure you ladies can relate, was the heart monitor. Oh my goodness...this was the source of all of my sadness. When I would move in my sleep I would wake up in fear because I couldn't hear it. By day three they had to do an emergency C-section because blood was not getting to my baby. The C-section was a breeze. The anti siezer meds were a monster.

What I was not prepared for was not having my baby with me. It was the most agonizing feeling I've ever felt. Seeing her with all those machines and tubes literally made me want to just die. Everytime I had to go home I felt like I was being gutted. I could NOT stop crying to the point I would lose my breath. I did not sleep for a week, and could not eat. The N.I.C.U was open 23 hours and I was there off and on about 18 of those.

After a 2 week stay my daughter was able to come home. However, I remained scared...I mean so filled with fear for my baby that I would stand over her crib, pray constantly, and wake up in a cold sweat and run to my babies side to make sure she was fine. My husband, family, and friends could not help me...I felt so scared!

My doctor said I had post traumatic stress syndrome coupled with postpartum depression. He prescribed me medication, but I refused to take it cause I wanted to be 100% alert for my daughter. I was so obsessed with her being okay that it took over my life. For the first 4 months I had reoccurring nightmares that my daughter was still in the N.I.C.U and had fallen behind her "bubble" she was in. The worse was I was told to bring her a balloon by one of the nurses, I woke up before I could give it to her. I cried the whole day over that dream. Sometimes I would still hear her heart monitors as i woke up.

Fast forward 16 months later and I still cry. A song will play on the radio and I will lose it (not infront of anyone, I just go somewhere alone to cry). I still have minor heart issues from the preeclampsia. I still wake up in fear and check my daughter to make sure she is breathing. Everytime I think about my pregnancy all I want to do is cry. My husband wants us to have another child, but I refuse.

Why does this still hurt? Why can't I look at my daughter and feel proud instead of sad? Why am I completely obsessed with her safety to the point I am scared to let any one other than my husband and mother watch her? When will the crying stop? Anyone else traumatized by there experience with preeclampsia? Does it ever get better.

Sorry about the rant everyone, this is just the first time I've ever spoken so openly about this pain. She is my whole life and I love her so so so much, but I just want to forget about her traumatic birth and focus on the pure joy she brings us and our future!
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby mom2miracles » Thu Mar 11, 2010 08:11 am

by mom2miracles (21 Posts), Thu Mar 11, 2010 08:11 am

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so glad the baby is doing well. With that said...NICU life is something that you will probably never forget. It's traumatic...I would say Post Traumatic Stress seems right on in my non-professional opinion. I was sitting at a car dealership one day waiting for an oil change when my son was in the NICU and the overhead pager alarm sounded like the "code" alarm at the hospital. I panicked...at the Jeep dealership. Those monitors make me sick to this day...whether it's on a child or adult. My son was in the NICU for 9 months. I try to look at it like a good experience...they saved his life many, many times. The things that were so hard for you to see are also what saved your baby's life. I'm not trying to take away from your feelings because I know exactly how it feels...just trying to add a positive spin. I totally get it so just message me any time you need to talk! And congrats Momma, for hanging in there!
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby patty » Thu Mar 11, 2010 09:02 am

by patty (667 Posts), Thu Mar 11, 2010 09:02 am

((hugs)) the NICU is truly an ordeal, my little one is almost 2 and I still haven't gotten over it either. Maybe you could set up some talk therapy for the post traumatic stress if you don't want to take meds that could help you work through some of the bad memories. We are always here too if you need to talk or vent. Thanks for sharing your story.
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby vivsmommy » Fri Mar 12, 2010 03:46 am

by vivsmommy (3 Posts), Fri Mar 12, 2010 03:46 am

Oh ladies, thank you so much. I was actually nervous to read the replies because I felt like no one would understand or would think of me as overly sensitive.

Mom2miricles- Thank you so much for the positive spin. It means a ton coming from someone who has been through a similar experience. I can imagine how those pager alarms put you in a bit of a tale spin. I surely will send you a message.

Patty- You know, I never did think of speaking with a professional about the post traumatic stress. I have always been a "Oh, things will get better" type of person, but for some reason I can't shake this. I will surely speak to my doctor about talk therapy! I guess this is something that will stick with me for life, I just hope that I can find a way to use it for good...well I guess this forum is a step in the right direction :-)!
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby milesymommy » Fri Mar 12, 2010 01:12 pm

by milesymommy (336 Posts), Fri Mar 12, 2010 01:12 pm

Shanna,
My DS was born at 36 weeks due to PE/HELLP - healthy, no NICU time... but I tried to BF (I was highly encouraged) and 24 hrs after taking him home we landed back in the hospital for juandice. I wasn't producing enough milk, plus as a 36 weeker he didn't feed well. He had lost over a pound - I can't remember exactly how much now - and was lethargic. He was immediately admitted, IVs, blue light, monitors, me sitting there helpless. I felt so horrible - I was the one that failed him.
It hurt for months to think about it. I cried and cried because I was a failure. My DH was too busy with work during all this and I was so alone. I never really told him how much it hurt. I don't think he can understand.
So, what I'm saying is your feelings are normal. My experience isn't nearly as bad as yours and I hurt so much.
Since then, we've added another DS to our family. I was scared the entire pregnancy - but no PE, just PIH. I rarely think about those horrible days anymore. At some point in time the pain receeds. It happens and you don't even notice, until someone asks something one day and you realize that somehow that pain isn't so fresh and raw and now you can be happy. It's something you'll never forget, but someday it won't be in your thoughts all the time.
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby dohertyab » Fri Mar 12, 2010 01:53 pm

by dohertyab (236 Posts), Fri Mar 12, 2010 01:53 pm

I don't know that you ever get over it. The twins are 8 and I can vividly remember times in the NICU. I still come to this board because it's important to me. My hubby doesn't get it at all. I don't talk to him about it. I will say that my response wasn't as strong as yours sounds like. For me time really helped. However, please talk to someone (even if it's only us). Just as we all needed help from professionals or many of our kids wouldn't be here, many of us need help to now enjoy the next phase of our lives. It's funny how I have spoken with several new preemie moms and they've met my twins and have told me later that it really was helpful to see that it doesn't all mean doom and gloom. I do appreciate the things that my kids can do now, and yet I always remember what we all went through. AND now my girls all know that pregnancy can be dangerous so when we have to do the whole sex talk it will have a different spin on it (hee hee).
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby annes » Fri Mar 12, 2010 02:39 pm

by annes (2527 Posts), Fri Mar 12, 2010 02:39 pm

PTSD and post-partum depression can last long after the birth of your child. Not only did your child go through a lot, you went through a lot physically and emotionally. Have you considered talking to your doctor about it? They may have some suggestions to help you through this. Take care of yourself.
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby rebeccac » Fri Mar 12, 2010 09:17 pm

by rebeccac (761 Posts), Fri Mar 12, 2010 09:17 pm

All of your feelings are absolutely normal.

Antidepressants helped me through my traumatic birth experience and they can most likely help you too. There is no shame in using them to deal with this or anything stressful in life for that matter.

Four years later I still find myself with feelings of sadness and guilt that my DS and I had to go through this although I process the emotions and feelings better now. I'm sure that will be true for you too ;)
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby jend01 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 09:47 am

by jend01 (375 Posts), Tue Mar 23, 2010 09:47 am

Hi Shanna, welcome to the PF. You will always find understanding women and great advice here, it was a huge help for me when I found it. My DS is almost 21 months and I am still dealing with PTSD. I waited 9 months after he was born to actually accept that I had a problem and needed to get help. I was much like you, crying a lot, mood swings, not being able to appreciate that my baby and I were healthy. My DS was born at 36 weeks and didn't need any NICU time, however I had an extremely tough time after he was born. My son got to go home from the hospital before me and that caused me a lot of pain. I started to see a therapist when he was 9 months old and that helped a lot, she did suggest I took meds to help and I, like you, refused. I also thought that things would get better on their own. Things were ok, until I started to have anxiety attacks. I decided to try the meds and I am so glad that I did, actually I wish I did sooner :) I feel like myself again. It took me a few weeks to adjust to them, I was tired and got headaches often, but once those symptoms went away I was happy again. I am not trying to push meds, but like Rebecca said there is no shame in taking meds to help you.
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Re : Why can't I get over this already??

Postby kara » Tue Mar 23, 2010 05:49 pm

by kara (6614 Posts), Tue Mar 23, 2010 05:49 pm

Hugs! Many of us have been in your shoes, so to speak. It does sound a lot like post traumatic stress syndrome. That is totally normal for someone who has gone through what we have. Many of us have had it in some form.

Meds and talk therapy, as the others have said are good options. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can move forward and be the best you can be. You'll always have those memories, although they do fade in intensity somewhat. I still get anxious at the thought of having another baby.

Another thing that may or may not help you, but it helped me, was to have a consultation with an MFM to go over my hospital records, do some bloodwork and tests to try and figure out WHY I developed preeclampsia. It was very cathartic and healing to have a better understanding of what happened and why. Not everyone gets an answer or a solid answer, but it helped me.

You'll not find judgment here, as we've all been in serious situations and had to make decisions that no one should have to make, or seen things no one should have to see, at a time that is supposed to be so joyous. Hang in there!!
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