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Posts tagged ‘Mental health’

Pressure.

Pressure from society and social media to be the “perfect parent”

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World Prematurity Day 17th November 2017 — Triggering PTSD

Today is a very significant day for parents of premature babies world wide. As with many health issues you can find support groups on social media platforms such as Facebook etc personally I am a member of a few groups aimed towards anxiety, premature birth and multiple birth. It is a well known fact that multiple births are high risk pregnancies and a high percentage end with the babies being born early. Usually the more babies are there, the earlier the babies are born. What isn’t discussed as often is Singleton babies born too soon. According to The World Health Organisation (WHO) there are sub-categories of pre-term birth, based on gestational age.

  • Moderate – late preterm (32 to <37 weeks)
  • Very preterm (28-<32 weeks)
  • Extremely preterm Aka micro preemie (<28 weeks)

My boys were born at 25 weeks gestation. Lewis was 1lb 7ozs. (652grams) Logan was 1lb 11ozs (765grams)

Of the 1 million preterm babies who die every year it has been reported the 3/4 of these babies could have been saved if they had access to proven and usually inexpensive care, such as warmth, breastfeeding support and basic medical care for breathing difficulties and infections. Just let that sink in. 3/4 million babies could be saved every year. That one statistic is enough to prove raising awareness of preterm birth is essential. By raising awareness we are able to raise funding that can go towards research to prevent as many preterm births as possible. Although, as a preemie mum it can be so so difficult to see all the pictures of tiny babies with breathing tubes fighting for their life in incubators I understand the importance of getting those images and stories out there. If you read blogs or articles that take you through someone’s NICU journey you will find most of the mums state that they had very little knowledge of preterm birth and it’s causes.

My case was a bit different however, I grew up knowing that the miracles of science could save a baby born so early. My older brother was born at 26 weeks gestation in 1977. The doctors didn’t give him a real chance of survival. He weighed less than a bag of sugar. He is now 40 years old with his own family. My poor mum then went into labour with me around the same gestation, however, this time they knew that there was a chance of this happening so she had been monitored very closely throughout her pregnancy. So with some medical interventions I lasted until mum was 30 weeks pregnant. It was always thought that spontaneous preterm labour was not heredity, yet recently WHO have stared there could be a family link.

I have tried to speak about my experiences of preterm birth with my boys in this blog but I have successfully managed to avoid my personal feelings and speak more about the facts. This has been one of my biggest personal demons. I’m like an emu. When life is stressful I put the biggest smile on my face, pretend to the world that everything is A-ok and bury my head along with my problems in the sand. I recently discovered this only works for a certain length of time then all those fears, feelings and anxieties rush to the surface and there is no way to hold it all back. The last few months have been like a living hell and I’m sure my family who are my biggest support network will agree it wasn’t pleasant for them either. I went from being a happy bubbly person to someone who took every tiny thing to heart and would explode in a rage to defend herself when in actual fact I wasn’t being threatened in the slightest. Some studies suggest that up to 71% of NICU mums go on to develop PTSD. Is it any wonder though? The body and mind go through such a massive invasion at childbirth and that is when mum and baby are in good health. Now add in additional stressors such as traumatic birth, premature birth, complications to mum and baby.

So today is National Prematurity Awareness Day. Please take some time to pray for and/or send Well wishes for those babies who are still currently riding that NICU rollercoaster.

Think of the babies born too soon who didn’t get to go home from the neonatal unit.

Think of the babies who fight life threatening illness every winter due to their lungs being damaged from Prematurity.

Think of the babies who due to being born early and fighting for life daily in the early stages are now left with physical, cognitive or learning disabilities.

Think of the parents who fight along side their little warriors praying to take their place and not see their little miracle suffer everyday.

Think. Just think. The fight doesn’t end for many parents and babies when they leave the NICU and often this is a time where the parents need more emotional support than before. The fight can continue for years and even be lifelong.

To all the babies born too soon, I salute you.

Stay Cool.

Scottish Twin Mamma.

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World Prematurity Day 17th November 2017 — Triggering PTSD

Today is a very significant day for parents of premature babies world wide. As with many health issues you can find support groups on social media platforms such as Facebook etc personally I am a member of a few groups aimed towards anxiety, premature birth and multiple birth. It is a well known fact that multiple births are high risk pregnancies and a high percentage end with the babies being born early. Usually the more babies are there, the earlier the babies are born. What isn’t discussed as often is Singleton babies born too soon. According to The World Health Organisation (WHO) there are sub-categories of pre-term birth, based on gestational age.

  • Moderate – late preterm (32 to <37 weeks)
  • Very preterm (28-<32 weeks)
  • Extremely preterm Aka micro preemie (<28 weeks)

My boys were born at 25 weeks gestation. Lewis was 1lb 7ozs. (652grams) Logan was 1lb 11ozs (765grams)

Of the 1 million preterm babies who die every year it has been reported the 3/4 of these babies could have been saved if they had access to proven and usually inexpensive care, such as warmth, breastfeeding support and basic medical care for breathing difficulties and infections. Just let that sink in. 3/4 million babies could be saved every year. That one statistic is enough to prove raising awareness of preterm birth is essential. By raising awareness we are able to raise funding that can go towards research to prevent as many preterm births as possible. Although, as a preemie mum it can be so so difficult to see all the pictures of tiny babies with breathing tubes fighting for their life in incubators I understand the importance of getting those images and stories out there. If you read blogs or articles that take you through someone’s NICU journey you will find most of the mums state that they had very little knowledge of preterm birth and it’s causes.

My case was a bit different however, I grew up knowing that the miracles of science could save a baby born so early. My older brother was born at 26 weeks gestation in 1977. The doctors didn’t give him a real chance of survival. He weighed less than a bag of sugar. He is now 40 years old with his own family. My poor mum then went into labour with me around the same gestation, however, this time they knew that there was a chance of this happening so she had been monitored very closely throughout her pregnancy. So with some medical interventions I lasted until mum was 30 weeks pregnant. It was always thought that spontaneous preterm labour was not heredity, yet recently WHO have stared there could be a family link.

I have tried to speak about my experiences of preterm birth with my boys in this blog but I have successfully managed to avoid my personal feelings and speak more about the facts. This has been one of my biggest personal demons. I’m like an emu. When life is stressful I put the biggest smile on my face, pretend to the world that everything is A-ok and bury my head along with my problems in the sand. I recently discovered this only works for a certain length of time then all those fears, feelings and anxieties rush to the surface and there is no way to hold it all back. The last few months have been like a living hell and I’m sure my family who are my biggest support network will agree it wasn’t pleasant for them either. I went from being a happy bubbly person to someone who took every tiny thing to heart and would explode in a rage to defend herself when in actual fact I wasn’t being threatened in the slightest. Some studies suggest that up to 71% of NICU mums go on to develop PTSD. Is it any wonder though? The body and mind go through such a massive invasion at childbirth and that is when mum and baby are in good health. Now add in additional stressors such as traumatic birth, premature birth, complications to mum and baby.

So today is National Prematurity Awareness Day. Please take some time to pray for and/or send Well wishes for those babies who are still currently riding that NICU rollercoaster.

Think of the babies born too soon who didn’t get to go home from the neonatal unit.

Think of the babies who fight life threatening illness every winter due to their lungs being damaged from Prematurity.

Think of the babies who due to being born early and fighting for life daily in the early stages are now left with physical, cognitive or learning disabilities.

Think of the parents who fight along side their little warriors praying to take their place and not see their little miracle suffer everyday.

Think. Just think. The fight doesn’t end for many parents and babies when they leave the NICU and often this is a time where the parents need more emotional support than before. The fight can continue for years and even be lifelong.

To all the babies born too soon, I salute you.

Stay Cool.

Scottish Twin Mamma.

World Prematurity Day 17th November 2017

We are coming ever closer to a day that is very close to my heart. National Prematurity Day 17th November 2017. However, in the UK we raise awareness the whole month through. The charity Bliss ( Twitter – @blisscharity ) are this year focusing on Prematurity and what it means to you.

With 1 in 10 babies being born premature worldwide we need people to know what obstacles babies and parents come across each and every single day. Giving birth to a preemie baby has a massive ripple effect that’s not just felt by parents but siblings grandparents friends and even work colleagues. In the UK alone 95,000 babies are born premature or sick. Being born far too soon means the baby is at higher risk of longterm health problems such as Cerebral Palsy and even at a higher risk of requiring special education at school. This fact is particularly true for my boys just now. Logan was stuck on a ventilator and no matter what the medical professionals attempted they couldn’t wean him off it. Everyday spent on a ventilator damaged his lungs further and brought up more health risks. The consultant spoke to my husband and I about giving Logan steroids in order to get him off his vent. Seems a logical solution – go for the treatment that will take away the ventilator, This came with a massive but though. The steroid treatment meant that Logan would be at higher risk of developing cerebral palsy, this was magnified by the fact he had suffered a brain bleed at birth and was at risk of cerebral palsy due to his Prematurity anyway. The discussion we had that night when we got home was just awful. We felt like we were trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea. In any event, we decided to be proactive, charge ahead and deal with the consequences as or if they arose. Logan is now 2 years and 9 months old. This is where we are seeing his cognitive development is not where it should be, even giving him grace for his Prematurity he is no where close. So this has started the discussion between his health visitor, speech therapist and nursery personnel that they feel he may be better suited to a quieter, smaller learning environment with specialist teachers. This is not to say he won’t ever catch up it is just to give him the best chance to catch up and attend a mainstream primary school. I was also worried that even though he was walking that he may have a milder level of cerebral palsy. He walks with his arms flapping about in the air with no purpose. He seems to have hyper mobile joints especially his elbows and shoulders. He also a very clumsy boy and will fall over very big obvious obstacles. The health visitor seems to think this is due to a sensory perception disorder (SPD). So life is very much up in the air with regards to the boys cognitive abilities. All I know is I have a very supportive family and no matter the outcome those 2 little miracle lion cubs will be fully supported and loved more than the world by everyone.

On our first day in the NICU the nurse looking after my boys explained that this is day one of a rollercoaster journey. Whether your journey is days, weeks or months you will be pushed to every physical and emotional limit you have. Just as you feel you couldn’t possibly deal with anymore along comes another dip. Yet everyday you get up, get ready and sit by the side of the incubator of the most precious wee warrior you know. Just knowing that they are fighting hard is what gives you the strength to carry on. This little person who you made and brought into this world yet haven’t been allowed to touch never mind give a cuddle is what gives you the courage you need to continue on.

We spent a heartbreaking 118 days sitting Vigil at the bedside of our little lion cubs. Willing them on, celebrating every gram of weight gained and every ml of milk taken, until we were given the news that we could eventually be a family together at home. I remember rooming in with my boys and being terrified. Even though we were still in hospital I was their sole care giver. My husband was still working away through all of this with the hope of taking his paternity leave when the boys finally made it home. It was like a military style operation organising feeds, medications, nappy changes and oxygen and that was for just one baby never mind the two I actually had.

The thing I didn’t realise is that nearly 3 years later the rollercoaster would still be going up down and roundabout. I thought that ended once you left the NICU. Nope. It certainly doesn’t.

I have many many stories of our time in nicu but for now I will leave it at that. This has taken me quite a few days to write as even though a lot of Time has passed it is still very raw in my heart and I get upset thinking of my wee guys being so ill.

Please feel free to share your experiences of Prematurity or your child being born unwell with me. Together we can bring awareness to an issue no one thinks about unless it happens to them. We need to highlight the issues and get funding for research so other parents and babies don’t need to go through what we have experienced. Even though our journey was man extremely difficult one, my family had a happy outcome. Unfortunately, not every baby who is born early or unwell leaves the NICU. Some babies fight the good fight but the angels take them to a better place than this cruel world. There are also some babies who get to leave the NICU, go home and then due to medical complications of Prematurity become very unwell and pass away months or even years later.

Please keep those babies and parents in your hearts and prayers. Light a candle for them on the 17th November and raise awareness of a cause very close to my heart.

Stay cool.

Scottish Twin Mamma.

Xx

Feeling sad and disconnected

As I have mentioned in a previous post I broke my upper arm about a month ago.  This is not ideal when you have 11 month old twin boys who rely on you for everything. I did all feeds nappy changes and cares by myself day and night bar one.  Their daddy would always help with the feed before bedtime as it was the only one he was there for due to work. So breaking my arm has been a major blow.  I’m very grateful and lucky to have a very supportive family and at present always have at least one person with me from when hubs goes to work in morning til he gets home at night.

The down side to this is never having any time alone with my boys.  Also not being able to visit with my friends and their babies when I want to as it isn’t fair to ask my family to sit through a visit with people they do know know. Plus as you may have guessed I have the tendency to waffle on a bit and my family know this all too well.

I’ve read loads of stories of parents in NICU struggling to bond with their babies due to always being watched and not being able to cuddle their babies when needed or wanted. I always felt very thankful that I wasn’t one of them.  Well I wasn’t until now.

I am am right handed and it is my right arm I have broken so even with the biggest will in the world I am unable to do anything for myself.  The luxury of washing dressing and even which way to out my hair that day has all been stripped from me and I’m relying on the help of others.

So so you may ask what does this mean for my boys? Well they are still being well cared for its just not by me.  I can’t feed them, wash them, play with them or even change a nappy. I always want to cuddle them but need to wait til they are settled and my care giver of the day can place them onto my left side but as soon as they are active they are whipped away from me as it just wouldn’t be safe.  I couldn’t catch them if they decided to hurl themselves backwards for example.

After struggling with infertility for 9 years I am well aware that I should just be happy that I have not only one baby but two   Trust me, I am deliriously happy  however, very selfishly I don’t want to just love them I want them to love me back   I want to be their world as they are mine  Unfortunately I fear that babies are programmed the same way as my cats, their main aim in life just now is survival so their loyalties lie with whoever feeds and looks after them and I have to say this is breaking my heart.  I know all the logical future scenarios of “och the babies won’t remember anything of this and all will go back to normal once you are healed” this does not stop me from being scared that things won’t return to normal and even if they do I still want my boys to look at me the way they used to. Perhaps I am overreacting and their behaviour hasn’t changed towards me at all, I feel it has though and nothing I do shakes that feeling.

I feel I’m done with the days of having to ask permission of whoever is about to cuddle my own boys   This whole experience has brought back some horrible memories that were best left buried in my sub-conscious somewhere.

 

I just miss my boys and selfishly want them back to relying on me   Looking into my eyes with that milk drunk look that says “dude, your the best!” And perhaps one of the things that makes me the saddest- being able to snuggle both my boys at the same time and smother them in kisses

For being generally an upbeat person, I have a lot of not only dislike but hatred running through my body. I hate feeling disconnected from my boys, I hate this whole situation it I think most of all I hate myself for being so stupid as to fall in the snow.  I mean I live in Scotland for crying out loud, it snows here more often than it rains elsewhere.

Scottish twin preemie mamma

x

 

 

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