One Mum honestly confessing what it is really like to have a NICU baby with CHD and championing NICU and Maternal Mental Health issues to help raise awareness, support and comfort to others.
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I have given birth twice now, and have two very different stories I could tell you.
As a society we seem to love a good birth story.
I remember people messaging me just after H was born via social media and the blog desperate for me to publish our birth story.
I have friends who were induced, who were in labour for minutes, hours and even days.
I know those who had C ections, VBACS, vaginal births and everything in between. There is no denying it we love a birth story.
But here is what I've learnt, we don't necessarily tell the truth especially if we had a bad or traumatic birth.
We glaze over it, we say it was fine and it's okay because we got our little bundle of non sleeping joy at the end of it.
We trick ourselves into thinking people have had it worse than us, that we are making a fuss.
It's okay because we got through it despite how horrendous it really was and now we do what we do best we bury it, paper over the cracks and move on.
Or do we?
There is still so much shame and stigma surrounding birth. So many reasons we don't address the real trauma of our birth and how it could affect us years down the line.
With E I had a fairly good labour but suffered a large haemorrhage which required a blood transfusion. I blacked out multiple times as I was stitched up which haunts me to this day.
I was so physically ill I remained in hospital for 7 days.
I couldn't barely hold E never mind feed or change him. Then we began another trauma in the form of a NICU admission.
With everything that was going on I never truly took the time to acknowledge how the birth mentally affected me. I had nightmares, flashbacks and developed PTSD.
No one took the time to ask about me, how I was feeling, if I was okay with my birth experience.
This had a knock on effect when I was due to give birth a second time, desperate for it not to happen all over again I became depressed.
H's arrival seemed almsot surreal arriving in less than an hour at home in the bath. It was fairly straightforward in that despite me having a 3a tear I went down to surgery and everything was explained to me at each step mindful of my previous experience.
But it wasn't until I was in therepy that I even realised the trauma of giving bath on my own and having to stay attached to the baby until we got to hospital.
Greg delivered our baby we told our story again and again but I hadn't even realised how much it once again affected me.
I went on to suffer severe PND and it is only now in therepy I can truly acknowledge my traumatic births.
I wish I had knowm of the impact my birth traumas truly had on me. That despite repeating a story again and again it doesn't mean you have dealt with it.
It is important to talk about it, seek help and never ever feel ashamed to do so. Or ungreatful because you have your baby.
I am honoured to be part of the #makebirthbetter network which has launched a brand new website.
It is a connecting network of professionals, parents working together to improve birth.
I truly believe this resource is frankly invaluable to any new family.
It is starting conversations, removing stigma, educating others and providing accessible help.
If this was around 4 years ago perhaps I wouldn't have suffered on my own for so long.
Elijah the heart hero never letting anything stop him. Today is your 4th heart day. It's 4 years since we took you down to Great Ormond Street for open heart surgery. It seems to have crept up on us again. Another whole year has passed but it hasn't changed how I feel about that day. Some have said that oh, by now surely you should have gotten over it after all it's been 4 years. The answer is I don't think I ever will. I have been thinking a lot about that day, where I signed the consent forms for them to take you and operate on you. To either save or take your life. That day was the worst of my life, the unknown certainty of whether you would come back up again. I held you as they put you to sleep. They gave me your dummy as they took you from me and laid you on the operating table as if you weighed nothing. I couldn't even kiss you goodbye in case it was the last time. That's why I won't ever get over it and those who have been in the
Eighteen months have passed since our beautiful little miracle emerged (I say emerged because 'vigorously ripped out' doesn't have the same ring to it). The rollercoaster of the past year and a half has somewhat levelled off, and things have become almost normal. Now feels as good a time as any, for me to confess (to HONESTLY confess) what it's like to give birth, become a mother, and cope with the joys of reflux, teething, milestones and TODDLERDOM! And how having an NICU baby with a heart defect makes these things all the more stressful. Oh, and there's also my increasing fear that Elijah is Damien from the Omen, with his endless antagonising of our cats. I will save the nine glorious months of swollen feet, constipation, and eating chocolate on the sofa, like a whale (whilst watching RHOBH in my pants) for another time. This is the story of how Elijah was born. To be honest, after watching numerous programmes on TV, they make it look like, once your
Disbelieving the diagnosis. Every day for 28 days I will be taking part in the #chdphotochallenge over on my Instagram but I will also be blogging everyday too. Today, is day one and the theme is Diagnosis. I can remember vividly when we recieved Elijah's diagnosis of CHD and Tetralogy of Fallot. It is a day I don't look back on fondly. We were visited bedside by the consultant on the maternity ward. We were told via diagrams that Elijah's heart wasn't working correctly. There were numerous structural abnormalities which were causing his cynatic episodes. In layman's terms his heart leaked back de oxygenated blood, there was a hole that would need to be repaired and thickening of the heart muscle too. The terms overwhelmed me, I didn't know what they really meant for my baby who was fighting for his life. Receiving the diagnosis was the day our lives changed forever. We were no longer new parents but heart parents of a CHD bab