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Old 10-18-2010, 07:51 PM   #1
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Still feeling guilty

I know I have nothing to feel guilty about, but I still feel badly that my baby had to be in the NICU. My twins were 36wks, average for twins, not even really early. My first set of twins were 35wks and one of them was in the NICU for 14hrs. That was it. It didn't even really count. This time, I had tons of pre-term labor issues was on strict home bedrest and hospital bedrest. I was dilated to 3cms at 31wks and was dilated to 5cms by 34wks. I battled having full on contractions every 10 minutes or more almost all the time for over a month. I was borderline pre-e and did end up with it. Somehow, I still managed to hold on till my goal of 36wks. I feel like it didn't even matter. One of my twin boys still ended up in the NICU for 11 days with breathing and heart issues. The other had no issues at all. I know I have nothing to feel guilty about at all. I did the best I could and really, I did outstanding considering everything I went through.

My boys are 6 months old. Still, for some reason, I randomly get waves of guilt. I find myself talking to him and saying things like, "I'm sorry I didn't keep you in long enough." "I'm sorry you had to stay there and you couldn't nurse with your brother." "I'm sorry I couldn't be there with you more." I had another newborn (who wasn't allowed in the NICU!) plus 27 month old twins and a 4.5 year old. I just couldn't be there like I wanted to. I did pump for him and I went 2x's a day or more if I could. But, I wasn't able to stay there for hours or get there when it time to feed him. He only nursed a couple times over those 11 days. He nurses now, but he isn't nearly as good at it as his brother and he is banned from bottles because he definitely prefers the instant gratification of it. Anyway, I don't know why, but I just feel like I let him down. I know that's not right, but I can't help it. Plus, it was only 11 days. I know many babies are there much longer.

Does anyone else feel this way? Anyone know how long it will last? I hope I can shake this soon.

ETA - I don't feel this way all the time. It's just random. I'll be holding him and suddenly saying these things.

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Old 10-19-2010, 06:45 AM   #2
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Re: Still feeling guilty

I'll be honest, I felt guilty for years about my middle dd's early arrival. There was nothing I could have done differently to prevent it but just felt like my body failed her. She had medical problems until she was 3.5 yrs.

I think what really helped was time. My dd is 11 now. She's top of her class, tutors other kids in math & is 5'9. I see how wonderfully she's doing & wouldn't change a thing.

DS also has the same medical problems that she did and he was full term so what we thought for years was a preemie issue is really just something genetic. I've moved on to feeling guilty about that.

I'd just try & cut yourself some slack. It sounds like you're doing your best to care for them & that's nothing to feel guilty about.
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:16 PM   #3
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Re: Still feeling guilty

i know the feeling. I still feel the guilt. I have a 34weeker and a 33weeker, both times due to PPROM. And it's still unexplainable. But my body failed to keep my kids in until they were ready and for that I feel guilty. My body forced them out on their own before they were mature enough to be born. They had relatively short nicu stays but each have had their problems since their births. And my 33weeker actually had really severe illness-induced asthma for a LONG time. This is the first winter we haven't been to the ER already and she's turning 3 this winter. She's finally maintaining on her asthma meds and not really suffering her way through winter with multiple bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis and croup. They are 5 1/2 and 2 1/2 right now respectively and now that the 5 1/2 year old is healthy and average-sized and at the top of her kindergarten class I am feeling less guilt. I still feel it with the 2 1/2 year old who needs breathing treatments nightly to stay well but it's less than it was. I don't think you ever truly get over it but it goes to the back of your mind at some point. And you don't realize it's heading there until one day you realize that you haven't freaked out recently. But little things will set me off again like illness in either girl, another kid will sneeze on them and I'll freak and run for hand sanitizer, or that hospital smell, etc. That smell from the soap you scrub with befor eyou enter the nicu lingers in my mind still. The sound of the apnea monitor waking me from a dead exhausted sleep next to my baby still lingers in my mind from 5 years ago. So it never goes fully away. But the trauma kinda fades and it's easier to keep it at bay eventually. You are probably just starting to get into a rhythm and move beyond survival with your twins and into processing their birth and the trauma of the nicu. Don't despair, I promise it WILL happen. But it just takes a little while. I'm sure you remember that the first birthday is hard, as is the anniversary of the due date. Both my preemies were due on the same day so we celebrate their individual birthdays and then we celebrate their due date with some cupcakes to remind ME of how far they've come and what they've accomplished. It's stupid to their dad but it means a lot to me so I keep up the tradition because I like to put that positive spin on it.
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:02 PM   #4
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Re: Still feeling guilty

I can completely relate to how you feel. My DD was born at 34 weeks with RDS, had to be put on the vent and transferred to a bigger hospital without me following. I felt like I had completely failed her and I've struggled with it for awhile. It helped some after I was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder that most likely caused her to come early. I felt like that was beyond my control and I could let go a little. But I still regret not pushing for the steriod shots for her when I first went into premature labor. The OB who was covering for my OB was pretty much a total jerk and wouldn't give them since he said they wouldn't do anything to help since I was 34 weeks. I wish I had been more assertive and insisted on it because even if they didn't do anything at least I would have known I did everything possible.

She'll be two next month and is absolutely thriving and we have even been able to wean her completely off her nebs. I'm grateful and hoping that in time I will be able to let go of more of the guilt.

I think the PPs are right in that time will help and focusing on the positive and how far our little ones have come.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:47 PM   #5
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Re: Still feeling guilty

I don't think the mama guilt ever goes away....
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: Still feeling guilty

I still feel guilt. My preemie was a 34 weeker - PROM. My water broke at 32 weeks, and I stayed for 2 weeks. He was born, and spent a week in the ICN. The guilt was overwhelming... it was my body that failed him, kwim? Irrational, I know that now, and knew that then, but it didn't help. He's 8 1/2 now, in 3rd grade, huge for his age, and incredibly smart. And I still to this day feel guilty. He's got ADHD (which we are managing), and I can't help but wonder if it's his premature birth? I don't think the guilt I feel will ever go away - even though rationally I know there was nothing I could have done differently. I still to this day would give anything to have been pregnant 2 more weeks with him (that was my goal - 36 weeks).
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:21 PM   #7
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Re: Still feeling guilty

Thanks Mamas. It's nice to know I'm not alone, but at the same time, I'm sad we feel this way. We all know in our minds, we didn't do anything to make this happen. None of us have anything to feel guilty about. It's too bad we can't make our hearts reflect that. Hopefully, time heals all wounds or at least fades them to the background.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:25 PM   #8
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Re: Still feeling guilty

I felt the same way in my quad pregnancy. I had them at 31 weeks. I was in the hospital a month before they were born. Literally I had the c-section when I developed e-clampsia and I was in a coma after the birth. Even with all of that I wished so much I could have made it longer, like if I could have changed something, been tougher. Like another poster said mothers guilt, it sucks.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:28 PM   #9
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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Re: Still feeling guilty

I'm not alone! I've felt guilt for nearly 5 years. I carried DD til 35 weeks and she didn't have any NICU stay at all but I still feel like because she was taken out early by c-section, it has caused many of her sensory issues she has today. I know I need to move on but it is truly hard to get over. This thread has brought me to tears, half because DD is having such a rough week and 1/2 because I'm hormonal and have finally carried a baby to term.
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