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Guilt over early labour

(10 Posts)
Oysterbabe Tue 05-Jan-16 06:48:49

My waters broke unexpectedly 5 days ago at 35+5 and i went into labour that day and had my DD. She was born weighing 4lbs 13 but is now down to 4lbs 9. I'm still in hospital and she's in SCBU. She's had to be tube fed due to her blood sugar being all over the place, vomiting all the time and failure to suckle. Yesterday we managed to give her three feeds in a row of expressed milk in a bottle and were feeling really optimistic about her coming out of scbu but then they found her bilirubin levels had crept over the treatment line and she's back under the lamps. It meant that her feeds over night were through the tube.

I just feel really low. I'm fed up of being in hospital, I miss my husband, decent food and any kind of normality. Yet I've been fighting their attempts to discharge me as I can't face leaving without my daughter. But the thing that is making me feel dreadful is that I can't shake the the feeling that this is my fault. I feel so guilty that I couldn't carry her to term and she's ill because of it. I keep going over trying to think what might have caused this, berating myself for being so blasé about it all and not taking it easy. Was there some kind of indication that all was not well that I missed? I swear if I do this again I'm going to do some serious resting in the last tri.
How do you stop blaming yourself for an early delivery? If she has any long-term problems I think I'm really going to struggle with it.

Moving15 Tue 05-Jan-16 07:20:04

So sorry to hear what you are going through. I completely understand where you are coming from and I have been through it twice with one prem born at 32 weeks (my waters went at 30) and one born at 28 weeks. We spent many weeks in hospital especially with the second who went through every prem baby treatment in the book. It felt endless at the time.

I too felt guilt especially during the stages when my baby deteriorated in health. I am an active person and I thought I had caused them to come early. Within the last year I had further tests following a third very early delivery and it turns out I have a strange shaped womb which causes waters to break early as the baby runs out of space. Actually, I did really well to keep the two boys in for so long. Not that I had any control over it. I was completely unaware. Same for you.

And that is what I would say to you. Every day you kept her inside your body gave her so much. Something, we dont know what, means now she is better outside where you can watch over her and get her the medical support she needs.

Looking back I wish I could have told myself to take each day as it came. Try to eat small regualr healthy foods so that your body is healthy for when she needs more from you. Remember your hormones are crazy now and this will make a tiring experience even more challenging for you.

It really helped me to focus on practical things like expressing milk for tube feeding. You are doing really well to be expressing for her and it is fabulous news she fed so well before she went under the lights again. Having been through the SCBU thing twice and spent days observing the babies I would say that Breastmilk seemed to make a massive difference to the babies. Keep it up if you can.

The docs and nurses do seem to get a bit hysterical about bilirubin levels-as if coming out for a feed would really interrupt treatment in the scheme of things. But hey ho, we have to cooperate with them.

I hope the readings will improve.quickly so you can get on with feeding training again!

Be kind to yourself and let us.know how she gets on. She is so close to the.magic 5lb so fingers crossed it won't take long for her to fatten up a bit and come home.

TiesThatBind Tue 05-Jan-16 08:47:54

Sending you masses of hugs. My DC2 was born just over three weeks early (so technically nearly term), but had respiratory distress syndrome and needed ventilation etc. We were in the NICU for just over a week.

I felt horribly guilty. (And to be honest six months later still have flashes of guilt every now and again).

For some reason I had always thought he would be early (my first was ten days overdue), and I had said this to other people so I very much felt it was my fault. That someone I had "wished" it.

Plus during months 5 - 7 I worked flat out on an incredibly stressful project at work (6 days a week, masses of pressure etc). Perhaps that contributed?

Who knows.

Sometimes these things just happen and it doesn't help your baby at all for you to feel guilt. The only thing that matters now is that both of you recover.

I think Moving has given you great advice. No brilliant words of wisdom from me, just sending masses of hugs. It is a tough thing to get through but you will both get through it. flowers

Oysterbabe Thu 07-Jan-16 20:08:38

Thank you both for your advice and kindness.
We are out of hospital and my DD is thriving now I can care for her, enjoying my expressed milk and even having a fair attempt on the breast, I'll persevere with that.
It's not all positive unfortunately. They found she has a heart murmur and scanned her. She has a ventricular septum defect, a small hole. It won't cause her any symptoms and there's about a 50/50 chance it will close on its own. If it doesn't though they'll monitor her over the next few years and decide whether to repair it. It's so upsetting that my girl has a heart defect but I'm managing to shove it to the back of my mind and just spend the day staring at her, cutest baby ever smile

Moving15 Thu 07-Jan-16 20:20:53

Fantastic news to hear you are both home!! Congratulations. flowers
Sorry to hear about her hole. Let's trust the 50% chance it sorts itself out comes true, after all she is very clever to have got herself home so quickly, as are you xx

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 11-Jan-16 14:28:59

Glad you are out of hospital OP and hope you are feeling better.

I had DS at 36+1 (but a bit earlier by my dates) and can relate to the guilt feeling. I had low lying placenta but was told it'd move up and was still working. I do still wonder if bed rest or taking it seriously and packing a bag would've helped. Sounds ridiculous I know!
I did have some therapy for PTSD as the birth was so awful. Do you think a debrief might help? Or do you feel OK now?

I hope all goes well with the heart condition

P1nkP0ppy Mon 11-Jan-16 14:39:08

Congratulations op!
My ds was born at 35+3 weeks 34 years ago, when prem was anything before 38 weeks and technology available today didn't exist.
He also had a VSD but it healed itself; he's now 6'3", and is a fitness fanatic.
I felt guilty too (and I was a midwife) but babies are sometimes better off out than inside you (it transpired I had placental insufficiency) and nature acts accordingly.
I still remember the sense of marvel when I had mine, you never forget it. I bet she's gorgeous.

123xyzabc Fri 15-Jan-16 01:08:24

Completely Normal to feel guilty - but you shouldn't blame yourself. My son arrived just before 30 weeks. I'd been on hospital bed rest the previous four weeks and it hasn't helped as placenta went wrong... I felt terribly guilty and i really don't think there was anything I could have done differently. So don't beat yourself up, and try not to worry about the murmur that may correct itself. Our DS came home with a few things that needed follow up (and might have developed into a problem). He's doing brilliantly now and I think I spent far too much energy worrying and feeling guilty rather than enjoying him... So try not to do what I did, if you can. I found a bit of counselling useful (the GP referred as she thought I had PTSD) and also don't turn down help looking after you or your baby - I felt I needed to be supermum to make up for being bad at being pregnant.... Sounds utterly ridiculous now! I wish I had asked for more help. Some pregnancies don't go well for all sorts of random reasons. It wasn't your fault.

Oysterbabe Fri 22-Jan-16 17:20:26

Thanks all.
We have another appointment re her heart in a couple of weeks so we'll see how she's doing.
I feel better about stuff now she's home and doing well. She's already far above her birth weight at 3 weeks, although is just below 9th centile.
I'm worried that breastfeeding isn't going to happen. She's having bottles of expressed and the odd feed using nipple shields but won't feed without, she's just a bit small and weak. I'll keep trying though.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 02-Feb-16 18:35:58

Just a very quick message from me, sounds as if you are feeling better now that you are home.

It is entirely natural to play the blame-game, and as a mother, you will feel responsible. But you will have done everything right and hopefully you’ll know that SCBU staff are the most dedication and professional medics. She just wanted to meet you. I had twins at 27 weeks and (10 years later) I still feel guilty when I think back to those early days. I was (with the benefit of hindsight) rather single-minded shall we say, breast feeding was going to work come hell or high water (it did work in the end but I was perhaps too obsessed with it), everything had to be homecooked organic etc when they were first weaned, no-one else (other than my husband) was allowed to cuddle them whilst they were in hospital (for 8 weeks) in case of infection. My H came home with a stomach flu when the babies were about 4 months, I wouldn’t let him in the house and packed him off to his mothers until he was better. I just say all that so you don’t lose perspective, let the guilt spoil this amazing bundle you have and enjoy being a new mum.

My DD also had a heart murmur which closed by itself, so fingers crossed.

Also, my babies didn’t really get the gist of breast feeding without shields until they were term – their sucking reflex wasn’t really strong enough. The bottle / teat and nipple shield will just make it easier for her for the time being. If you do want to persevere, then keep going because you’ll find as she gets bigger they’ll find it easier. Good luck.

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