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Feelings on early birth that went well but was a bit of a shock (long, sorry!)

(21 Posts)
wickedwilywaitress Sun 04-Aug-13 01:18:53

Hello all, this is my first post. I am mum to a beautiful, healthy 11 week old baby girl. She was born 6 weeks early at 34 weeks and, well, it was all a bit of a shock!

I feel a bit odd sometimes about it all because although the baby was planned and obviously expected I just wasn't expecting her to come so suddenly. One day I was at work, the next day I had given birth by midday! shock

She was in NICU for a week and I was on Postnatal (waiting for a bed on Transitional Care Unit) then we both moved into TCU for a week, so 2 weeks in hospital altogether. We were in so long not because either of us were ill, but trying to learn to breastfeed- we cracked it eventually and went home after 2 weeks.

I was wondering if anyone else had a similar experience with an early birth, whereby everything went reasonably well, but was left a little shell shocked and haunted by the experience?

I know that things could have gone much, much worse and I honestly am very happy and physically healthy (as is my beautiful daughter). However I found adjusting to life with a newborn just the biggest, hardest change ever in my life, and I do feel a bit cheated in some ways that I never even got to ease into mat leave and take some real chill out time for myself before the birth. I think the shock wasn't helped by the long hospital stay and for much of that time I didn't know when the baby and myself would be going home. In some ways it felt like being in a lovely kind of prison!

I know that others have it much, much worse with premature babies and I do feel a bit melodramatic blush in posting this, but is there anyone who has had a similar experience and how did you/are you adjusting to it all?

PattieOfurniture Sun 04-Aug-13 01:31:05

I totally get where you're coming from.
Ds1 was born at 38 week's, not mega early but I was expecting to go overdue and to enjoy a few weeks of peaceful maternity leave but that didn't happen.
Ds2 was also early, but earlier at 36 week's, I again, despite ds1 was not expecting ds2 so soon. I became quite down for a while, happy he was here and healthy but sad that I was enjoying the later stages of pg it was cut short very abruptly. He is my last baby, I'm definitely not having anymore.

VileWoman Sun 04-Aug-13 01:32:22

My DC3 was similar, he was born 4 weeks early, 12 hours after I finished work. My waters had broken so he was induced and it was a very short labour (2 1/2h). We were in hospital for 9 days, he was jaundiced, didn't feed properly, had a suspected infection, lots of little things really. He's now healthy.

At least I didn't have the shock of adjusting to parenthood (which will be a big part of how you are feeling) but it has taken a long time to get used to him being here and for some reason I can't ever remember his birthdate! But I completely know where you are coming from. DS is now 11 months and that initial shock dissipates as they get older and it becomes less of their life experience.

wickedwilywaitress Sun 04-Aug-13 04:44:05

Thanks for such quick replies, really good to know that others have had similar experiences! And interesting that sometimes the next child comes early too.
They couldn't find a reason why I went into labour early, I'd like to know if there was anything I could have done to prevent it like relaxing more.

VileWoman Sun 04-Aug-13 22:40:43

I know some people who have had several early (or indeed late) children but my DDs were both late so DS coming early was a complete surprise. Better than my poor cousin's wife who's PFB was early and her DC2 arrived 2 weeks late so she was pregnant for over a month longer which was a bit of a surprise!

Try not to go over and over the reasons why she was early, you'll probsbly never know.But I doubt stress makes much difference, I was very stressed when pregnant with DD2, but she was the most chilled out and relaxed baby ever.

cantreachmytoes Sun 04-Aug-13 22:53:18

Stress can make a difference for some people, but not everyone. I was extremely stressed for a prolonged period and ended up on bed rest due to the number of contractions I was having at about 26 weeks. A week or so into the bed rest it became apparent that any type of stress (argument with DP, or even speaking with people I didn't want to!) brought on more contractions, which in turn stressed me out!

Every body (as in each person's body) is different, has a different history and deals with stress differently, so it would be difficult to compare. If the midwives didn't pick anything up beforehand though, it's probably safe to say that it was just one of those (horrible, even though things are better than they could have been) things.

I am so glad to hear that things have ended well for you.

PattieOfurniture Mon 05-Aug-13 09:21:27

I think stress was the reason for me having ds1 early, my sister had just given birth to a very premature baby and I was called to the hospital to say goodbye as he was dying, I was an emotional wreck. That night my waters went and ds was born 10 minutes after dear nephew died.
However, I was very relaxed with 2nd pg, no stress and like I said I was really enjoying the last weeks of pg. I really have no idea why he was born early, neither do the medical staff.
I don't think there's anything you can do to prevent it happening again.

minipie Mon 05-Aug-13 09:30:18

Yes I completely understand - I had a very similar experience, waters broke on the way back from work one day and dd was born at 5am. Then 3 weeks on SCBU, like you learning to breastfeed her. We had the added shock that when born she appeared to have Down's syndrome (in fact she doesn't but took a week to find that out). Yes I do feel a bit robbed of the normal experience of going to due date or over, having a couple of weeks of maternity leave without a baby, I even feel robbed of getting huge at the end! Most of all I feel sad that the birth of my child was not the happiest day of my life as many say, instead it was a massive shock and incredibly worrying day.

As for coping... well with time and as dd grows and appears to be completely healthy (touch wood) I am counting my blessings and remembering that it could have been so much worse. I am also starting my childcare a few weeks before I go back to work, so that I can have some baby free maternity leave to do some of the things I never got to do (finish the nursery... lunch with friends.. etc).

I do think stress may have contributed to her arriving early, certainly if I ever do it again I will refuse to work long hours or be put under pressure in the later stages of pg.

CMOTDibbler Mon 05-Aug-13 09:35:34

I too know how you feel - ds was born at 35 weeks, and I hadn't even finished work (had to call in on the Monday and say I wouldn't be in). Didn't get the newborn photos. ds was in SCBU not very well for a week, and we hadn't bought very much for the baby so I missed out on buying all those bits.

Thereonthestair Mon 05-Aug-13 11:00:30

I have always felt cheated, and DS is 3.5 now. he was born at 29 weeks, had a scary time, I went into hospital because of a bleed, expected to be discharged but wasn't. I only had my phone, wallet and keys with me. I had been in maternity clothes for less than a month, and at work the day before he was born (I went in at midnight). No maternity leave send off, no presents on his birth, no antenatel classes (well 2 out of 8) nothing. And every time i get collared for yet another collection for another colleague going off to have their 3rd child, and who gets spoilt for the third time, and whose baby also gets presents when they don't need anything, it hurts.

sleepwhatssleep Mon 05-Aug-13 19:37:49

I understand what you mean OP. all three of mine were early and I definitely felt robbed of a normal experience - especially since I'm a planner! I'm normally very organised and my early arrivals have meant a lot of rushing around.

The main thing I missed was being able to have give birth and then leave the hospital after discharge with my baby and that due to them all doing between 9 days and 19 days in NICU, I never got to really enjoy having my baby. I always thought id spend the first couple of days with my newborn cuddled up in my pjs marvelling at this beautiful new life. Instead what i got was: surprise labour, not getting to even hold two of my children before they were taken to NICU, my first proper look at them was through Perspex, surrounded by beeping monitors and alarms and my first proper cuddles were at 12 hours, 26 hours and 79 hours after birth. There was so much rushing around, being at NICU and seeing my other children and never straying too far from a breast pump to keep up supply. Third time around i hated the NICU. esoecially since all the staff knew me. i felt guilty and seeing the familiar faces of the staff just made me feel worse. I've never had a baby shower or the fuss from leaving work/college (the child in me is still grumpy about that lol) and it always seemed by the time they were home all the new baby excitement had died down so we didn't even have any visitors other than MIL and two of my friends. I always felt sorry for my babies if you know what I mean

It can be a very surreal time but I suppose we've just got to accept it was how it was and enjoy what we have now smile

Mandy21 Mon 05-Aug-13 20:20:41

Also understand this - I went to the doctors one Tuesday as I'd been up in the early hours with very bad backache. I'd been at work as normal on Monday. Turned out I was in labour - I was 27 weeks and 4 days and can honestly say it never crossed my mind for a second that it was labour. It was a complete shock!

I had my twins 2 days later - they were in hospital for 8 weeks and 5 days. I didn't get to hold them for a day, then went almost a week before I could hold DS again, had to ask a nurse every time I wanted to touch them, change a nappy etc. I didn't feel like they were my babies for a very long time. They were OK, we had quite a smooth ride through special care, the doctors said they were just there to grow and learn to feed, but leaving them behind (I was allowed to stay with them for almost 3 weeks but was discharged after that) was torture. At the time, it was stressful, I spent most of the time in tears and was just getting through it on auto-pilot.

I did "mourn" that newborn experience that everyone else seemed to have had, but now (8 years on) I look back at it now and realise that although I didn't have time before (maternity leave) to prepare for their arrival, I did to some extent get time to adjust afterwards. Having time in hospital afterwards means you get to know each other under the care of the medical staff, they can help you with breastfeeding, there is always someone on hand to ask a question so in some respects, although it sounds strange, it was a help. I can only see that now though!

wickedwilywaitress Tue 06-Aug-13 00:34:42

Thanks for all the replies! It's good to hear of similar experiences. I agree it was probably just' one of those things'.

Mandy21, I know what you mean about having extra time to adjust, in some ways it was good because we had a lot of extra support with the baby especially with the breastfeeding.

Really glad that everything turned out well for all of you and your babies as well!

wickedwilywaitress Tue 06-Aug-13 00:36:57

And also wanted to add that I really feel for those of you who had to go home when your babies were in NICU/SCBU. That must have been so hard.

AlisonL1981 Tue 06-Aug-13 05:21:48

My ds was born at 32 weeks back in march. Very quick labour, I was at home alone cleaning the kitchen, started to have pains in my back and in half an hour the baby was born on the bed. Luckily I called 999 and the paramedics arrived just after the birth.

We were in scu for 4 weeks. I was determined to breast feed so we couldn't leave until ds got the hang of it. Neither of us were I'll either, ds was literally just there to be tube fed.

The hospital put me in touch with a counsellor from the neo natal unit who visited me at home 3 times after the birth.

She did it was normal to have a feeling of loss. I'd 'lost' the last 2 months of pregnancy, 'lost' the time I thought I had to relax on maternity leave and to get the nursery etc ready. I'd also 'lost' the experience of labour as ds came quickly at home and do missed it all. I didn't get to do the hand holding and pushing/panting/breathing etc (although I'm sure most people would prefer that!). I missed not bonding initially after the shock and as ds was in icu.

I also blamed myself and my body for not being able to keep ds in (no reasons were found for the prem labour).

It was useful to speak with the counsellor and I'm sure your hospital would put you on touch if you wanted to talk it through. Bliss also have people to talk to. X

Wiggleewormeywoo Tue 06-Aug-13 06:21:11

Oh wow, this could so easily have been posted by me! I also had my dd at 34 weeks - waters broke at work, no where near our intended hospital, at 9.30 and gave birth at 1.30! No overnight bag and dh missed it. Nicu for a few days and then a week in transitional care. It was a very surreal time and I really wasn't mentally prepared for coping with everything - kind of felt like someone picked me up from my normal life and dropped me into full on mummy mode! I Also didn't experience labour as most others describe it. We're ttc 2nd child now, but still have flashbacks to dd1s birth and first few months even now. Think I'll have everything ready by 30 weeks if next baby ever happens!

At least it's a tale to tell I guess!

Fizzyfuzzy123 Tue 06-Aug-13 08:57:28

My son was born at 33 weeks. He stayed in also for 2 weeks, he did well but needed to grow. He's fab now nearly 5 months but ill never get over the fact that I couldn't hold him straight after being born. I still feel like I got a raw deal however I also appreciate that others are not as lucky as me x

wickedwilywaitress Wed 07-Aug-13 10:25:26

Alison, that's interesting about the loss, I feel I missed out on a 'normal' labour where you sit on a ball and have your partner talk to you, I was on my own in the middle of the night on a hospital ward for most of it! I also feel I missed out on the last month of being pregnant- I really miss being pregnant sometimes.

Wigglee, I know exactly what you mean about being picked up from your normal life and plonked into mummy mode- that was just the biggest shock and change of my life!

BB01 Tue 17-Sep-13 14:51:48

So many people have summed up just how I felt and still feel to some extent. Feel v lucky compared to many as DD wasn't premature, just two weeks early, when she was induced for growth restriction. She was in SCBU for ten days and I was at home for all of that but two nights. It was the best and worst ten days of my life. DH said it was like someone giving you best present ever then it's temporarily lent to someone else. Nobody could say anything right. People generally just didn't seem to grasp how awful it was and that she was actually at risk (she had initial health issues too). DH's father called him the day after the birth asking him for help his PC. Obviously a priority when your first baby is in intensive care. Think part of it was our fault for playing it down by just saying she's in hospital with some health issues rather than she's really ill in intensive care. Could go on all day about the mixed emotions but it's just nice to know I'm not alone in still thinking about it all quite a lot

Spaulding Thu 19-Sep-13 19:06:18

I can totally relate to what's being said here. I had DS at 31 weeks, emergency c-section, completely unexpected. Went to hospital with a pain between my chest and stomach and while waiting for the results was even chatting to OH about going for a greasy fry-up when we got out because we'd missed breakfast! In came the Dr who said I had HELLP Syndrome and our baby needed to be delivered "sooner rather than later", expecting him to say to come back in a few weeks to be induced, he said, "within the next 24 hours... and it'll be cesarean". I just crumbled. DS spent 6 and a half weeks in Special Care.

It took me a long time, months and months, to not cry everytime I spoke about the day he was born. My pregnancy had been totally normal, and I had imagined myself going on mat leave, putting my feet up, OH had bought me some new books and DVDs as a present to keep me occupied. I imagined one day experiencing contractions and excitedly but nervously calling him at work, and us both sharing that wonderful moment that I had a natural water birth. Errr the complete opposite happened! And for a long time I felt very upset and bitter that I never experienced all that and probably never will now. I would burst into tears everytime I thought about holding DS for the first time, then a few mins later he was whisked off to SCBU and I didn't see him again for 26 hours. He's 2.7yrs old now, happy, healthy and just wonderful in every way. And instead of getting sad now, I just think how lucky I am that the HELLP Syndrome was picked up when it was otherwise neither of us would be here. I can see now that far outweighs the anger and shock and upset I felt at the beginning.

AlisonL1981 Sat 21-Sep-13 22:28:39

Mine is a similar story...

I moved house (moved from parents to boyfriend who lived 400 miles away). So I had plenty of time I took my 6 weeks holiday before maternity leave.

A week after I moved, everything still in boxes I went into labour at home. I didn't realise it was labour until it was too late as I was only 32 weeks.

15 minutes after I started to get pains my waters broke, I called an ambulance as I was alone and I had ds on the bed 10 minutes later. Paramedics arrived minutes later along with dp.

We were taken to the hospital. I was only wearing a top, trainers and a blanket round my middle. Dp grabbed a pair or pyjamas but that was it. All baby stuff was still in boxes.

We were taken to hospital where ds was kept for 4 weeks. He was healthy and was out of the incubator after a week. We just were kept in to establish breast feeding. I discharged myself after a day.

I had counselling organised by the hospital. I also felt very cheated. I didn't have a chance to 'nest', or to enjoy my maternity leave. I has a very demanding job and was on my feet for 8/10 hours a day so was looking forward to the rest!

I remember being in tears the day after was I'd lost my bump and could put my old jeans on.

I felt very lost. No longer pregnant but I also didn't have a baby to look after.

I was also exhausted as we visited the hospital 3 times a say Nd it was 3 minutes drive away. In between the visits I expressed as much as possibly but was also trying to unpack boxes and sort the house out.

I know I'm very lucky to have a happy, healthy baby boy who is now 6 months but every time I see a pregnant woman I get do jealous that it's not me! I loved being pregnant and want to finish the experience! I also lost the experience of labour as ds came so fast. My poor dp missed the whole pregnancy and the birth.

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