Tuesday, 21 August 2012

It Could Have Happened Again

As I was writing about my struggles with anxiety and moodiness since Frostina was born I mentioned something in passing that I realized I haven't shared here on the blog. I don't know why I haven't talked about this before. It's actually a huge revelation and something that will affect any future pregnancies I may have. I'm going to blame baby brain and sleep deprivation because it's the only thing I can think of as to why this wasn't something I shared right away.

After Frostina was born, my doctor made the statement, "Well it's a good thing she was born today." When I asked why he explained that based on the very low fluid levels and the fact that my placenta looked quite degraded, it looked to him like the same thing that happened during my first pregnancy with my son had happened again. He also said that the cord was wrapped around her neck twice so it's a good thing we had planned for a C-section.

As you can imagine, this news came as quite a shock to me. Keeping in mind that I was laying in the recovery room with my much wanted rainbow baby in my arms when I received this news, I didn't ask too many questions. This bombshell of information was a bit lost in my new baby euphoria mixed with what I'm assuming was some pretty good pain meds. So I did little but acknowledge the information and then go back to staring at the beautiful baby girl who was laying on my chest.

When my doctor came to see me the next day I had many more questions. We talked in length about it then and also at my 6 week follow up appointment. Basically it turns out that the "infection or virus of unknown origin" that the pathologist thought was the cause of my immune system attacking the placenta was in fact not a virus or infection at all.

It was my own immune system rejecting the pregnancy like a person might reject an organ that is donated.

For whatever reason, the pregnancy triggered an autoimmune response that resulted in my son's tragic death. Apparently this kind of reaction is the strongest the first time you are pregnant and he suspects that the trouble started around 31 weeks or so (based on his review of my scans). Each subsequent pregnancy will still trigger a reaction, but each time it will be less aggressive and happen later.

With Frostina all was looking completely normal at my 36 week scan. We had already planned the C-section for 37 weeks which was on a Friday. I went in on the Wednesday before (1 week after a perfectly normal scan) for some last minute checks and to sign all the consent forms. At that appointment we did a mini-scan with his small laptop and I remember him mentioning that fluid levels were a bit low but not to worry because we were already scheduled for delivery in 2 days. So I didnt' worry.

Well as it turns out, the fluid levels were even lower by Friday. This is why my doctor said that it's a good thing she was born when she was. As it turns out, she didn't grow at all that last week. She was born at 5 pounds and 6 ounces which is smaller than he was expecting. But at 37 weeks she was full term and as we all know, things turned out fine. But it's so scary to think that if I didn't have such a good doctor and receive such vigilant care, things may have turned out much differently.

If I'd had a doctor who wasn't willing to scan me as often. If I'd had a doctor who didn't agree to schedule a C-section at 37 weeks exactly. If I'd had a doctor who wanted me to go full term, or try for a VBAC, or wasn't as educated in high risk pregnancies..... I shudder to think about that.

It could have happened again,,,,,,,

I'm so grateful that it didn't. I am truly grateful for the amazing medical care I received this pregnancy. And I'd also like to think that our angel in heaven did his bit to make sure his little sister was born safe and sound.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday In Heaven

I'm a day late on this because yesterday was crazy busy and very emotional. 

Two years my sweet boy.
Two years since you were born silently into this world.
Two years we have been learning to live without you.
Two years.

We miss you terribly. I wish you were here with us. I wish you could be here to meet your little sister. I wish we could have been a family of 4.

Two years and I miss you just like it was yesterday.

Happy Birthday in heaven my sweet baby boy.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Reality Of This Baby

As I've written about in my previous posts, I've really been all over the place emotionally since Frostina was born. At first I thought it was just normal baby blues and it would pass. Then as time went by and my feelings of overwhelming anxiety continued, I realized that maybe this wasn't something I could take care of on my own.

My first attempt to reach out didn't achieve the results I had hoped. I asked my OB (consultant) who told me that this was completely normal for someone in my situation with my history. I knew this didn't seem right so I didn't stop there. I reached out and was connected with a lovely therapist who not only has an office near me, but is willing to make house visits. Considering that Frostina is only 2 months old, a counsellor who is willing to come to me is amazingly convenient.

I had my first session with her this week and got a lot out of it. It was really nice to have someone to talk to about the jumbled up mess that is going on in my head right now. I realized that I really need to be in therapy right now. We had grief counselling after our son died and I found it amazingly helpful. We had a session with a therapist as part of our egg donation program. But since then we haven't had any kind of therapy.

In hindsight I'm not sure this was the greatest idea. We endured our entire pregnancy after a loss with no professional help. The time when you would think we would need the most support, we decided to go it on our own. I did consider it a few times, but just never got around to setting anything up. So all those fears and anxieties just built up inside me.

The result? A new Mommy who really needs therapy.

I've only had one session so far but here's what I know. I don't have post natal depression, but I do have lots of anxiety left over from my traumatic past that I need to work through. The birth of Frostina has brought back so many feelings surrounding the birth of my son. The comparisons between the pregnancies, the comparisons of the births, and the glaringly different outcomes.

Even though I have grieved my son, those feelings are still there, and having Frostina here with me just highlights how much I missed out on with him. The sleepless nights are real now, not imaginary. She has become the center of our household in a tangible way, while he was always only the center of our thoughts and dreams. He was and always will be the fantasy of a baby, his life unfulfilled, while she is the reality of a baby.

The reality of a baby. A baby who cries, and has colic, and cries some more. A baby who doesn't adapt to my idea of a schedule and won't go to sleep on demand. The reality of a baby after 2 years of dreaming about my fantasy of a baby. A fantasy baby who probably would have been very much like his sister if he had lived.

I have learned that I need to set aside my fantasies and deal with the reality of this baby. I have to allow myself to enjoy her and live in the moment. To stop trying to control everything and keep on top of all things. To not be so hard on myself. To relax more and to stress a bit less. Because she is her own little person who will exert her own will. Who will eat and sleep on her own schedule, and that's OK.

So that's what we're going to be working on in our sessions. The reality of this baby. This baby who is alive and here with us. The reality of this baby and everything that goes along with it. The fun parts and the challenging parts. The reality of this baby who we have wanted more than anything, who we love more than anything, and who has brought an amazing amount of joy and happiness to our family.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Someone With "My History"

I'm still waiting for answers as to what's going on with my moodiness. I did ask my doctor at my 6 week check up but he was very dismissive. He told me that if I was clinically depressed then I'd be frozen and wouldn't be able to even hold or feed my baby. He said that the mood swings I'm experiencing are completely normal for someone with "my history."

My History: Years of infertility... Finally getting pregnant... A full term stillbirth... Another pregnancy filled with fear and anxiety... The birth of my rainbow baby.

Apparently someone with my history should expect to feel like an emotional wreck? I'm not so sure all of this is normal. My doctor is an amazing doctor and I truly believe that without his vigilance and expertise this pregnancy would likely have ended like my first one. **I have good reason to think this. Have I written about that yet??? I don't think I have but I will soon.

Anyway, while his expertise in all things high risk pregnancy and placentas is amazing, I don't think that emotional issues are his strong suit. So I have a call into a therapist who specializes in pregnancy related issues. I am hoping that a sit down with her will help give me the answers I need.

Maybe the way I'm feeling is totally normal for someone with my history? Maybe it's not? Maybe I just need someone to talk to about it, especially as the two year anniversary of my son's birth creeps up on me?

I'm just wanting some answers so I can figure the best way to snap out of this. Because I really want to be able to enjoy Frostina and be the Mother she deserves without all the self doubt and anxiety.