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Still upset nearly two years later...

(17 Posts)
Edenviolet Sat 22-Feb-14 21:20:31

Is this normal?

Ds2 was born at 36 weeks and 6days in 2012 after I had serious complications. I had an elective caesarean but it was traumatic as I knew I might need a hysterectomy or could suffer a severe bleed (I'd had three previous cs and had accreta after having had it in my second pregnancy too)

Ds2 was very unwell, had to go straight to nicu as he had an infection and breathing problems. He was there for a week.

During that time I was so upset. Upset because I was scared, upset because I was worried about him having his tube feeds topped up with formula (other dcs had milk allergy and it worried me he may too but the nurse said to me "don't be silly we will give him BABY milk not cows milk")

On day four I was allowed to hold ds and try to bf him, he wouldn't feed but the next time I held him I tried again but the nurse snapped at me to "put them away" as there was a dad sitting nearby with his baby and she didn't think it was appropriate, she made me feel so upset.
Every day we got there early but then had to leave at 10 am till about 1 pm till drs had finished their rounds and I would just sit and wait or walk round the hospital in tears.

Also on the day I was discharged my DM decided that the other dcs had to go home with us which made getting to and from hosp a nightmare due to childcare etc. she didn't realise that dh and I both wanted to be with ds2 she just said why should we be sitting around while she looked after other dcs.

I don't know why it today I ant stop thinking about what a horrible experience it was. Ds is fine now but I feel like it was yesterday and I don't know why.

Is this normal?

Bankholidaybaby Sun 23-Feb-14 01:43:34

Yes, completely normal and totally understandable. It sounds like what would always have been a stressful time was made harder by the insensitivity of nurses. I think having to leave during rounds is normal because of confidentiality (I had to do the same thing and stay out of the room from about 10am onwards), however, dismissing your concern about milk and putting a stop to your special breastfeed were thoughtless and wrong (surely normal formula is based on cows' milk? and that man could have left if it was bothering him).

You didn't get the lovely homecoming and two-on-one time you expected with your son because your mother sent your other children home. Have you told her how you feel? Did she know at the time that you had imagined and planned something different?

I've recently called the Bliss helpline to talk about how troubled I've been about my son's rapid, premature birth. They've signed me up for six counselling sessions with someone who understands the trauma and hurt of having a baby born early and in a way you didn't hope/plan for, and needing to visit that brand-new baby in a hospital ward for his first, precious portion of life.

I'm so glad he's ok now. You are so very, very healthily normal and not at all alone in these sort of thoughts. Talking helps me. I hope it helps you.

Edenviolet Sun 23-Feb-14 08:59:40

It was just such a stressful, panicky time. The nicu room was like nothing I'd ever seen before andi was terrified.
The man had not complained at all about me breastfeeding, he was just sitting with his baby, I don't think he even spoke English from what I gathered over the couple of days his baby was in there in a cot next to ds incubator. I think it was the nurses problem not his which almost makes it worse.

I have spoken to my mum about what happened but she was very much of the opinion that we were 'home' so should have the other dcs, not realising that for most of the day we were at hospital or I was expressing milk. We wanted to be with ds2 together but then dh had to look after other dcs and I was petrified on my own sitting there staring at those numbers and praying none of the alarms went off. Sometimes ds oxygen level would go right down and every time I nearly had a panic attack.

My mum mentioned to me that if I was upset, so was she as on day 2 when she visited she wanted to go into nicu (db had been in there years previously) but couldn't ( we misunderstood the 2 visitors thing to mean just parents as had only seen parents in there) so told her she couldn't, we were not being mean we just didnt know she could.
She had also brought all the cards and presents up from family that id asked her not to and made me open them, I cried my eyes out, it was ds worst day and he had been seriously unwell in the night and put on a ventilator and there I was opening cards and presents for a baby I thought I was going to lose. All DM kept saying was how unfair it was on her that she couldn't go in.

When ds was better we were told we could room in for one night before going home, they had a lovely room and en suite and dh was told he could stay, I was so excited but no, DM would not have the dcs so I had to stay alone. I feel so bitter about how she treated me. I have no idea why its all resurfacing now.

I just keep bursting into tears about it. I know it was just a week and some baby's are in nicu for months so I should be grateful but I feel heartbroken and I don't know why.

CelticPromise Sun 23-Feb-14 09:05:44

Bless you. NICU is tough enough without extra problems from the insensitivity of others. You can't do much about your Mum but if you feel strong enough might you be able to give your hospital some feedback? They might have a parent group or you could contact the ward manager or a nurse you trust. It might give you some peace to know you have tried to improve things for others. You could also contact Bliss- they are brilliant.

Bankholidaybaby Sun 23-Feb-14 10:13:22

You don't need to compare your experience with that of others - what happened, happened to you. Other babies, other mothers, it's not important - please don't feel guilty about being so upset when your baby was 'only' there for a week - a week can be endless and desolate in a neonatal ward, and you must have been very frightened for both the present and the future, for your baby, yourself and the rest of your family.

Edenviolet Sun 23-Feb-14 10:40:40

It was just so unexpected. All the worry was about me, the placenta accreta, fourth cs and likelihood of bleeding etc. had a huge medical team in theatre etc.
Everybody said baby will be fine, I was 36 weeks and had had two steroid injections. Not to worry at all etc.

He was so, so unwell. It was horrible. He had fluid in his lungs and got a nasty infection. It was really frightening. I really thought I would lose him and I don't know why now I'm feeling so unhappy. Ds2 is a happy little 1 year old, playing and running about so why my mind is taking me back there I don't know.
Maybe I do need to speak to somebody.

FraggleRock77 Sun 23-Feb-14 10:43:09

BankHol, can i ask how you accessed the six sessions from BLISS? X

SilkStalkings Sun 23-Feb-14 10:50:21

This is called Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is hugely common and frequently misdiagnosed as PND. It's exactly the same as soldiers at war get - you and/or a loved one were in danger and you weren't able to deal with the shock/anger/horror at the time because survival was the priority. You were still so reliant on the people you were angry with and you couldn't afford to let the rest of it out. It can pop up days or years later, mostly when you're feeling settled and able to let it out. Have a look at birthtraumaassociation.org.uk
Hope this helps.

BetterWithCheese Sun 23-Feb-14 10:52:50

I think sometimes we suppress feelings until we're ready to deal with them. It sounds line at the time all of your emotional energy was going on worrying about your little boy and I would imagine that things were then very busy with 4 DCs. So now your ready to deal with all of the other feelings you couldn't deal with at the time. I think if you can access some counselling it could be helpful but it may just be that you need to mull it all over a bit more. It sounds like you have a lot to be angry about. I'm really glad you're DS is ok.

BetterWithCheese Sun 23-Feb-14 10:53:53

Cross post with Silk who has explained it better.

Bankholidaybaby Sun 23-Feb-14 11:07:20

Fraggle - I had a really teary evening and lots of flashbacks to the birth/NNU and thought: oh, bum, I've probably got PTSD. I called the Bliss helpline in a bit of a state and they suggested counselling. It hasn't started yet but I've had the paperwork. They also have a buddy scheme and I believe that there are groups for parents and babies who've been in NNUs.

Bankholidaybaby Sun 23-Feb-14 11:08:01

I'd been feeling like that off and on for a while, but that night it all just overcame me.

SilkStalkings Sun 23-Feb-14 11:19:50

I was v lucky that I was able to cure myself by having another baby 100% my way. I got pg by accident 12m after traumatic labour attempt and v welcome CSec under GA. Wept all over GP and we arranged the following: No midwives (gp did my checkups), different hospital and elective CSec ( gp wrote what must have been a pretty awesome letter to the consultant of my choice - I phoned up hosp and asked off the record for the least VBAC-obsessed one.) I was convinced that if I even attempted labour I would become catatonic and was prepared to hold a scalpel to someone's neck if they tried to make me do it! Op went fine and I was able to return to original hospital and manage a VBA2C for baby#3.

FraggleRock77 Sun 23-Feb-14 11:45:00

Thanks BankHol.

MiaowTheCat Mon 24-Feb-14 12:49:08

You're not alone. And you're also not alone in having those horrid mixed feelings toward the hospital either - while I feel immense gratitude toward the hospital that delivered DD1 for saving her life... at the same time - I will hate them to my dying day for ruining mine.

I've posted what they did to me before - so I'll just cut it as short as I can. Killer SPD, terrified of long term damage, had read all about making sure you noted safe pain free gap and tried to stick to it if things like epidurals were required... went in at 33 weeks with period-type pains on regular intervals... hospital said not in labour, but a FFN test was positive so they were keeping me in for steroids (I now know from DD2's birth that I get painful contractions but don't dilate to be actually deemed "in labour" until right at the end where I can go 0-baby in under 10 minutes)... denied pain relief and on an awful ward and terrified (we'd just lost a relative to a hospital contracted infection and I explained this was why I was so scared). Then suddenly I did the 0-10cm bang thing and was ran down corridors by the midwives (who can't steer trollies to save their lives - I hit every wall going bless 'em!), and basically shouted at and bullied - they refused to note my pain free gap with my SPD when they wanted to do a spinal and forceps, yelled at me and bullied me and ignored consent issues and I reacted to the spinal leaving me shaking and terrified and no one explained this was just the reaction - and they didn't even tell me the baby was out and what sex it was as they wheeled her away - I just had to lie there not knowing if she was a boy or a girl or alive or dead or what they were doing up to their elbow in my nether regions (they were fishing chunks of placenta out - it gave me a new respect for the cows on James Herriott I can tell you).

Then the hospital staff told us from the outset that "we're not really interested in caring about the parents here - we're only bothered about the babies", I got bullied into doing NG tube feeds despite repeatedly saying I was struggling with parts of the process - and they rang social services on me over the consent issues during the birth (I only wanted them to not yank my legs so far apart they crippled me permanently FFS!). So although I was only in with her for a fortnight - I was a prisoner once they moved us to transitional care - there weren't staff available for me to leave the ward and I was basically a cheap nurse and dairy cow being breast pumped and tube feeding every 4 hours and being screamed at if a feed was late as I'd been buzzing for help cos I couldn't get some stomach contents drawn up to check the acidity level and the tube placement (I got told I was going to "stuff your baby" because no one had told me to readjust the subsequent feed time... at the point when I was dealing with having to have fed her formula and all the "it causes obesity" baggage in my head - this one was awful to hear). I was left starved because ward meal times directly coincided with the times the hospital insisted I had to run tube feeds, and told that "well sometimes being a mum means you have to miss feeds" (I hadn't eaten for days by then) when I mentioned it, and was plonked in the corner of a normal post natal ward - to be stared at like a freak show walking around with my teeny tiny baby with a tube dangling out of her nose.

Was 2 years ago in a month or so - and last night it all hit me all over again with the birthday looming and I just collapsed in fits of sobbing for hours and hours. I've had counselling via Bliss, I'm on such high dose of anti-depressants the GP can't raise it any more and they're not even touching the sides of how I feel, and because I'll always have the social services strike on my record (we'll always remain "known to them" - despite things being settled very quickly... my community midwife was absolutely apocalyptically livid when she heard what had gone on), I'm too damned scared to tell people I'm still really really wrecked by it all. People don't "get" that I can feel such mixed feelings toward the hospital and think I should just be showering them with gratitude... or that it stays with you, and even preemie mums see a 33 weeker as nothing to be traumatised by - so I just kind of shut up about it all (I tell about the social services stuff purely to try to break the stigma down and let other women know that it does happen... because I sobbed when I read about similar happening to one other woman as I thought I'd been the only person to ever have gone through it and "failed" my childbirth thing that spectacularly)

Only reason DD2 is here is I got pregnant again accidentally about 3 months later and didn't really have much of a choice in the matter! Different hospital, everything flagged from the start to try to prevent transfer to the one that did all that stuff to us and a sub-10 minute actual labour where I just about got my trousers off in time! (The doctor who'd said the baby definitely wasn't coming didn't half get the piss taken out of her for that one)... never risking another with the combination I seem to have of my body trying to go into labour around the 33 week mark and incredibly fast labours - DH's been snipped!

Mama1980 Mon 24-Feb-14 13:02:26

Totally normal and understandable. I had my ds1 at 26 weeks following a car crash and placental abruption. We both nearly died, I will never forget the first sight I had of my son, so so tiny, barely pink as they were fighting so hard to get enough oxygen into him to stabilise him to operate on his heart. No one ever prepares you for a sight like that. But I was fine until about 2 years later when I started suffering horrific flashbacks and I was diagnosed with PTSD and received bliss counselling which actually didn't help me but their 'friend' system where I could talk with another woman who had been through similar really did. They explained it to me that my brain and body had gone into survival mode the day of the accident, my son needed me so I sort of shut down, which apparently is a natural reaction. But later when he was well it was still there waiting to be dealt with and in my case surfaced as flashbacks.
I recommend contacting bliss ASAP they really are amazing.
I subsequently had another son at 24 weeks and this time feel much more able to deal with what happened, but I am also now aware that these things can pop up at anytime, some days it still hits me and I find myself grabbing my sons and just holding tight.

elliejjtiny Mon 03-Mar-14 13:17:47

I understand how you feel and it's totally normal. My DS4 was born at 35 weeks and everyone at the hospital was very breezy about how he'd be fine. I had a c-sec because my waters had gone and he was in a weird position. He was taken to NICU while I was being stitched up and I couldn't see him for 6 hours. When I was allowed to get up, 21 hours after he was born I had to walk to NICU every 4 hours to take the milk I had expressed for him. It was a long way and it hurt so much. Everyone else on the postnatal ward was really poorly as you get discharged really quickly normally so the midwives didn't have much time to help me. DH was looking after the older boys and couldn't visit much. My mum kept texting me saying that she hoped I was enjoying a nice rest and being pampered (what!? I was in hospital not at a spa) and asking when she could visit. I didn't want her to visit, I just wanted DH. DS4 was in for 4 weeks.

DS4 is now 9 months old and I'm accidently pregnant again and terrified.

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