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Anxiety - preterm birth at 27 weeks

11 replies

Suilach · 12/05/2023 01:16

I'm looking for some advice about how to get through a very difficult time.
On Monday I gave birth to my baby boy in a very abrupt and chaotic way after an incredibly difficult and high risk pregnancy. I was 27 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
My consultant said that if I could make it to 28 weeks I would be doing well. I was pleased that I made it to just three days short of it.
But reality has set in now. After being so elated that my son was born alive and tended to by the neonatal doctors, I have had a complete collapse in terms of mood, as I realise how difficult the next few months are going to be.

I am absolutely terrified about my son, I find it hard to look at him sometimes in his NICU cot. He looks so small and frail and delicate. So many wires and canulas and things coming out of him. I'm so terrified that something bad is going to happen. I just sit and look at him and cry. The drs and nurses reassure me that he is doing ok, but I can't shake this terror I feel at the situation.

The pregnancy was incredibly difficult for a number of reasons that I can't even bare to discuss and mentally it is the most difficult and draining thing I have ever been through. Now that I have delivered I have to move from the most stressful pregnancy to a NICU journey with a very premature baby. I just don't know how I will cope anymore. I also have a three year old at home who is missing me terribly.
I'm still in hospital following the birth and the midwives and drs are all aware of my situation. They offer me their support all the time. I have told them that I'm really struggling. They are trying to help me.

Does anyone have any advice on how to get through NICU? I'm so scared of the baby developing something terrible like NEC, and the worst happening. How do I stop thinking like this?

I am keeping a diary of his days, I'm expressing milk for him, I'm talking to him.
But I'm just so scared.
I havnt even announced his birth yet. Obviously my family and friends know and are so happy he's here, but I feel like I can't even celebrate his birth coz I'm afraid something terrible will happen.
Is this normal? Will I ever be able to breathe a bit and relax a little bit? When does it get easier? My mum is here helping me and my partner is trying his best. I think everyone is worried about me. I don't know how to become more positive and optimistic.

He's on CPAP so I can't really see his face at all. He's so tiny and so covered in things.

Any help or advice appreciated. A new NICU mum finding it all so hard.

OP posts:
Assignedtoworryyourmother · 12/05/2023 01:25

I have no useful advice at all I'm afraid, other than I think what you are feeling is probably completely normal under the circumstances. It's only been a few days so you are having the hormone crash on top of the birth, the anxiety of the situation, your body recovering, exhaustion.... It would be strange if you weren't feeling completely blindsided by it all really.
Try and rest and recover as much as possible, your health is important too. Your little boy is in the best place possible for now so just keep doing what you are doing, it sounds perfect.
Congratulations to you all and very best wishes to your little one Flowers

Timothhorton · 12/05/2023 02:22

Yes the first poster is absolutely spot on about there being nothing wrong in your reaction your fears are a manifestation of love. I’m sorry this has happened to you and it sounds like it’s been a roller coaster of expectations, disappointment and the whole thing is hitting you like a brick wall. You need to think about what is best, whilst you have so much support from the hospital I would prioritize your sleep, try and get at least 4 interrupted hours at a time, try and eat and hydrate. I expect you will roll your eyes at this but you can only
manage such a hard role in a position of physical strength, at least as well as you can after such a difficult birth.
You don’t need to pretend to be positive, allow yourself to grieve the normal pregnancy you didn’t have. The feeling of doom is probably a combination of things, hormones crashing, your reality of such a difficult pregnancy your little one at home. You need to acknowledge the feeling but also start asking a lot of questions of the staff about what happened and what is likely to happen in the future, what going home will look like and when for both of you and it will help you feel more in control. My heart goes out to you, keep writing the diary remember extreme anxiety is a biological imperative, from an evolutionary biological point of view you are protecting your tiny infant and doing the most difficult human role there is. It’s understandable your life is upended, things are rarely in life as hard as what you are experiencing right now. I wish you all the very best. I hope to hear more when you are able.

OzziePopPop · 12/05/2023 02:39

Hopefully this will help just a tiny bit…

my husband was born very premature, my MIL says ‘6 months gestation’ so broadly 24-28 weeks. He was just under 1lb and given just a 5% chance of survival. He’s now 45 and we have 2 kids. He doesn’t have any major health issues, he’s had some issues with ear infection and hearing loss but honestly, nothing major. He’s a bit of a miracle really 😀

I had high risk pregnancies too and was in hospital with both kids for months each time. It’s not fun! That said, take one day a time and you and your DS will get there too.

I wish you both a quick recovery and hope you feel better really soon 💐💐💐

Gawdknows · 12/05/2023 02:56

Congrats on the birth of your little man!

When my daughter was born (full term) in a totally 'normal', non high risk pregnancy, she was 6 hours old when rushed to ICU. I couldn't follow her as I couldn't walk. I remember being wheeled in on a wheelchair & being met by a sea of blue lights from all the lighting, machines beeping, concerned faces. I was told they didn't know if she would live or die. I had to go back to the post delivery ward & I remember all I wanted was a shower. I could barely stand due to the drugs but my mind was probably in shock.

She had some really harsh tests. Cannulas everywhere as you say. Lumbar puncture, MRI. I couldn't hold her. So many wires. I was terrified to hold her because if I held her I may fall in love with her & what if she died? Every day consultants would speak to us. All gather around her incubator having discussions & I just sat there, & could not help or protect her. I was absolutely bitter with jealously & anger that this had happened to us when everyone else just got to have a baby & go home.

Thing was, as time went by, the wires gradually came away. I did hold her, she moved to HDU. Then low risk. Then home.

You literally need to take it minute by minute in that place. The staff we had were amazing & did their best to make our time there positive. You'll get through it as you have no choice. Once out, I did seek therapy just because of the trauma of the whole situation, not just NICU but my daughters diagnosis etc. Also see if they have a counsellor available within the NNU, I did speak with one whilst we were staying there.

Massive hugs to you, you will be ok xx

Suilach · 12/05/2023 11:19

Thank you everyone for your lovely messages.

I've been very upset this morning and the midwives have been in to see me alot.
They said there have been a number of concerns raised behind the scenes as to why I have been left in such a high risk pregnancy with so little support.
I asked about mental health support about 2 months ago and my consultant told me I would have to go private. The midwife told me today that I actually should have been referred to the bereavement team and been receiving weekly counselling sessions.

I was also left with out a midwife. It's confusing because I was placed under the care of a consultant when the pregnancy became high risk, but I wasnt given a midwife. The consultant only wanted to scan me every three weeks to check the baby and check my cervix. Aside from these scans, I had no midwife apt, no one checking my blood pressure, urine etc. No one checking my mental health.
There has been some oversight and basically I wasn't being given the right level of care for a high risk pregnancy.

Now it's all come to a head as Ive ended up with a preterm birth and child in intensive care and a total collapse of my mental health.

Everyone is really concerned and apologetic now. I just feel so sad that it all happened like this.

My baby seems to be doing ok. I'm expressing for him and he seems to be breathing and feeding ok thank god. I find the day time is much easier to deal with.
I find night the night time so much scarier.

Thanks for listening.

OP posts:
CatkinToadflax · 12/05/2023 18:34

Sending a huge hug OP. My DS1 was born at 24 weeks 17 years ago. I wish I could tell you that it was easy…. but you know already that this won’t have been the case. The only advice I can give is to take each new day as it comes. Hold onto and celebrate all of his milestones. Don’t be afraid to grieve for what could and should have been…. but feel allowed to celebrate him too.

as for your mental health, you are so right that this needs attention. My boy will be 18 in a few months and yet I still struggle. Finally next week I start therapy. Please don’t leave looking after yourself for too long.

Hope he’s doing ok. Flowers

July17January20 · 12/05/2023 19:15

Hi, I saw your post and couldn't not reply. I hope you're doing ok.
My little girl was born at 27+3 weeks and will be one in a couple of weeks. I understand completely the rollercoaster of emotions a NICU stay invokes and it's so difficult. My pregnancy was high risk as well after the stillbirth or our little boy.
I found the help very hit and miss as well despite the midwives and nurses being amazing.
I didn't announce our little girl's birth for a couple of weeks, I think she was 30 weeks before I dared announce her.
If I can help at all please feel free to message me, I know how hard it all is.
I had a 5 year old at home as well so understand the pull to be with whichever child you're not with. Best wishes.

mastertomsmum · 12/05/2023 19:25

My DS was prem, I wasn’t very far ahead of where you were. You will feel it is a bit of a rollercoaster ride but hang on in there.

DS is 17 now and 6ft tall, it barely seems possible that he was once the oldest child in his reception year but smallest in the school. Take care 💕

fourlambbhunas · 12/05/2023 19:32

I had a NICU baby but he was full term so a different situation but being in that environment is traumatic so please be kind to yourself. Ask to be referred to the perinatal mental health team, I had a nervous breakdown caused by the sudden change in hormones and they were amazing and they usually send someone to assess you very quickly. For me the answer was sertraline, which massively helped me within a few days. Don't be afraid if you need something to help you get through this time, it's the best thing I ever did xxxx

Arxx · 12/05/2023 19:38

Aww sending so much love.. glad he is doing well considering everything. I’m at a similar stage of pregnancy so I can’t imagine the trauma of going through all of that.

You are feeling the way you are feeling for very valid reasons. You aren’t just panicking and going crazy when nothing has happened, this has been a really scary time for you so no wonder you’re feeling this way. The fact you’ve told people how you feel (and they’d probably expect you’d feel that way) is a good sign too. Don’t feel you have to announce that he has arrived in any rush, take it at your own pace or let people know he’s here without any big celebration then delay that for when he gets home, the way you would have done if he’d been born at his due date. I know two babies born very prematurely, both are absolutely fine now. One was 26 weeks, the other was 29. There are so many stories of hope and I’m sure his odds are pretty good 🤞🏻 There seems to be a whole world of premature/NICU parents online and on Instagram. Maybe just losing yourself in all of that for a while would be a good way of moving from one step to the next or just one day to the next. Hopefully the hospital will be able to offer you lots of help. Sending lots of good luck his way, I’m sure he’ll smash it 😊

Africa2go · 16/06/2023 21:20

I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner. How are you doing @Suilach ? I hope you're OK and your little one is doing well. I had twins at 27+6 and the whole stay in hospital was an emotional roller coaster. Your feelings are completely valid, I hope you get some support x

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