When my little one was first born 11 weeks early, I questioned everything about my pregnancy. What could I have done differently that would have kept my little one from being stuck in the NICU fighting for her life? Did the doctors overlook something at my previous appointment? Why was this happening to us? It took me months to realize that things happen and there isn’t really anything you can do.
I came down hard on myself for having a sweet tea as a treat every now and then and for doing more than I should have – pushing myself too much as my pregnancy progressed. Everything I could think of to blame myself for my little one’s situation, I did.
I also began to blame my doctors. Not the high-risk specialist I was sent to see when the pre-eclampsia set in, but the doctors I had been seeing throughout my pregnancy. I battled nausea up until one month before my daughter was born. I was on Phenergran for a while and then switched to Zofran. Although they helped, I was still sick at least once a day and had no appetite to eat. Throughout the first six months of pregnancy I consistently lost weight. I weighed three pounds less when my daughter was born than I did when I found out I was pregnant. I questioned the doctors very hard on this because my little one had intrauterine growth retardation and weighed one pound less than expected. Was there something they could have done to prevent her being small? If they had paid attention to my previous bout of high blood pressure, would that have put me in a category at risk for pre-eclampsia?
It took me a long time to really figure out that it just happened. My husband, my daughter and I are all stronger for it, but it just happened. Its not my fault, the doctors acted very proactively once the preeclampsia was discovered. And most importantly, my micropreemie is a fighter and fought every step of the way so that she could still be here with us today.
One thing that irks me now more than ever is how jealous I am of expecting mothers I see that are close to term. On one hand, I am happy and thankful that they are going to have a healthy, full-term baby. But on the other hand, I feel cheated for not getting to experience the entire pregnancy and what it is like to give birth to a full-term baby.
About a month ago, a friend who was 7+ months pregnant told me that I was lucky that I didn’t have to endure that part of pregnancy because it was horrible. I had to bite my tongue. I really wanted to tell her that she was lucky that her baby wasn’t born at 29 weeks and living inside an incubator with tubes everywhere, on oxygen, etc. I just smiled and went on with my day. A few days later, she realized how what she said sounded and apologized, but it still hurt. I missed my chance at being that pregnant. Of enjoying the whole pregnancy, complete with all the not-so-pleasant stuff. With our chances being around 50% of having the same thing happen in a second pregnancy, our preemie is likely going to be our only child and I’ll never get to experience that. For that I am jealous. I am very thankful for my beautiful, healthy, 9 month old daughter, but I feel like a full pregnancy is something I have missed out on.
Does anyone else ever feel cheated or think about what could have been?