Monday, August 20, 2007

What's Wrong With Me?

I have to admit that I am really struggling to remain sane most days, especially when my sleep the night before has been bad or minimal. I think I'm still struggling with depression. I had another doctor appointment on Friday, this time with someone who hadn't seen me before, and I was again told how surprised this doctor was that I lived through what happened to me and am recovering. I keep getting told that the few other HELLP patients the doctors have treated have all died. No one seems to know what to tell me now because they never made it this far with their patients. It makes me extremely depressed, though I suppose I should be thrilled to be the one who lived. It's just hard to wrap your head around it. The fact that you should have died from how bad things were. The fact that you're recovering but no one really knows how long the full recovery will take and whether there will be any lasting impacts. The fact that every doctor who looks at your deformed abdomen with your intestines swirling around and says, no--I've never seen anything like that before, and I'm not sure how to fix it. It makes me want to cry alot.

I'm glad my body was tough enough to carry twins for as long as it did and tough enough to survive one of the worst cases of HELLP syndrome ever, but I am pretty pissed and depressed that EVERYTHING about my childbearing experience has been "unnatural." I couldn't get pregnant on my own. I couldn't deliver vaginally. I couldn't breatsfeed because of my condition. I couldn't come home with my babies from the hospital and spend their first month of life with them. Everything about the whole damn experience has SUCKED. I feel like a complete failure for not being able to breastfeed. I feel like a bad mother for not being able to say, "but despite everything bad that happened, it was so worth it." This is not the most gratifying thing I have ever done. The babies are very, very difficult to handle. Am I absolutely horrible for saying that??? Sadly, it feels true right now. The birth of my babies was not the best day of my life, and it should have been. Getting pregnant should have been a joyous experience, and thanks to IF, it wasn't. My maternity leave should be a wonderful bonding time with my boys, and really it's just been about my survival.

I love the babies, but I feel so overwhelmed and helpless that sometimes I think they'd be better off without me. Horrible thoughts, I know. But the thoughts are there, and I have to deal. All of this is compounded of course by the fact that my boys are not "easy" babies like every other baby my friends seem to have. They cry a lot. They aren't hitting a lot of the milestones as quickly as their younger cousin, which is of course constantly pointed out to me. "Oh, she is already reacting to this and doing that; your boys aren't????" It was bad enough having my IF pregnancy compared to my sister's natural pregnancy; it's worse having my boys compared to her girl. "Oh, she hardly ever cries; oh, she drinks 8 ounces every bottle; oh...oh...oh."

I. Hate. It.

Help please, I'm drowning here. Please tell me it gets easier?

22 comments:

GLouise said...

Oh sweetie. I just want to reach through the computer and give you a huge HUG right now!!! You have been through so much. It is only natural to have these feelings.

First to experience everything you stated, and now to have to adjust to parenting newborn twin boys. Ahhh!

I'm not a mom of multiples, but I bet they will have some good advice for you.

In the meantime, know that you are not alone, and that many people are rooting for you, and that it will get better with time (babies get easier to handle, etc.). In the meantime, my prayers are for your continued recovery, emotionally and physically. Take care!!

Anonymous said...

Hi...I was wondering if perhaps you might consider joining us over at www.preeclampsia.org We have a BUNCH of HELLP syndrome survivors who I believe can totally relate to your post. As a two time HELLP mom myself, I promise it DOES get easier...but not overnight, that's for sure. Those feelings are quite overpowering, I know. Anyway, if you're interested, we'd love to have you. The ladies here are a wonderful support system. Hope your day gets better! Amy

Mama2BandT said...

It does get better...eventually but I gave birth to two singletons...I think if we were all totally honest, we all have dark days. I have friends that had colicky babies are they're wonderful creatures but HARD! Positive thoughts coming your way.
Your boys do need you very much and screw the comparisons...my boys hit lots of milestones behind other female children.

emersons mom said...

Just wanted to let you know that while no one can know the precise experiences we all go through....i had Hellp syndrome April 2006, after a horrid pregnancy, gd and pe, it took 2 months for my son to come home from the NICU and I still am not "myself".....I can relate in many ways and still blame the mag sulfate they gave me for the lack of clarity I had during my long hospital stay......my life is forever changed and my dreams are dashed.....I, too am grateful for a healthy baby boy, but the fantasy of parenthood disappears in the haze of 16 months of broken sleep, dirty bottles and a child that is too small and not walking like his cousin...who is only a year old! I just wanted you to know you are not alone.....and your blog is GREAT! wish I was organized enough to keep a journal! I found your blog from Jen on the Preeclampsia website....which has helped me learn I am not the only one who feels this way!

Linlee said...

I am going through the same thing you are right now. The lack of sleep makes it worse. My baby was/ is extremely colicky. We are on our second formula. She's been fussy all day and I've been taking care of her since midnight last night without a break. I know how you feel. I'm having the same feelings too. I keep telling myself it's one day at a time and some days it's one hour at a time...lol.

Jamie said...

Obviously I can't help and say it will get easier -- I'm not there yet.

What I can say though is that I think everything you are experiencing and feeling is totally normal. Even more so after all you have been through. You deserve for something to go right -- for something to be easy -- and it will, eventually.

Sure, your sister's little girl may be doing things faster. She was full term and there is only one of her. And don't they say girls seem to progress faster?

I feel confident your boys will pay you back for all of the hell you have been through.... it just may take awhile to get there.

Just hang in there -- go see a counselor if you can -- it would help a lot to work through some of your feelings. And KNOW that YOU are SUPPOSE to be here with your babies! You lived for a reason... your time here isn't done... don't forget that.

Sunny said...

I have no clue where you are BUT I do know you are truly loved. It is okay to be where you are. When I m/c and got really blue the best thing ever said to me was "It is okay to be down, just don't stay there." You need to grieve life not dishing out what you thought it would. Does that make sense?

I am so so sorry. I wish I could make things better for you. HUGS!

seattlegal said...

I had the same thoughts that you expressed - that they'd be better off without me - I thought of getting in the car and driving off so many times. Taking care of a baby is hard, then when you add another baby to it, it's just that much harder (taking care of one baby seems like a breeze to me). The feelings that you express are so normal and you've gone through a lot!

I've been told numerous times that it gets easier, and things seem like they are starting to - I feel like I'm becoming more at ease with them, but I've got far to go. I have one extremely fussy/colicky baby and one somewhat mellow baby.

Oh, and I have to try hard not to listen to people comparing my babies to theirs. I have to try and remember that each baby is different. It's hard though.

Heather said...

As a former "HELLP" girl and survivor, I feel the weight of each and every word you've composed. Every doctor for the first year after my son's birth commented that it was amazing I was still alive; while I'm sure it wasn't meant as an insult, it cut to the quick reaffirming what I already knew...that something was terribly defective with me if I were the only person these professionals had ever encountered with this health baggage. I went from a sane twenty-six-year-old to a basketcase elderly woman sitting in my internist's office with a baggie full of bp meds surrounded by senior citizens. I didn't spend my son's first two weeks with him; I was in the hospital. His diapers were changed by my husband and mom, his feedings (because I couldn't breastfeed), his baths, his first car ride, etc., I missed. When I did get home, I just wanted to sleep. I didn't want to hear him cry; I didn't even want to get out of bed. And so it was for 6 months until I gradually began to come out of it. In hindsight, it was post traumatic stress disorder, and I wish I had spoken to someone about it so I didn't lose those six months with my baby. Two years later I found the Preeclampsia Foundation forums (preeclampsia.org -- come visit us!) which have been a godsend for me. I now have a new five month old and a different pregnancy story to tell. I saw a high risk doctor who had patients with complications that could even rival mine, and while I would wish such misery on no one, there is a lot to be said for commiseration. And doctors worth their salt. You will survive this and you will be stronger for it. Hug those boys tight and be easy with yourself.

Anonymous said...

My Gosh sweet girl, my thoughts are with you. I have had similar days of being down and at times I awake feeling bleak and as you know, I in no way experienced a situation close to what you did. I would assume you've been informed that there are help groups for post-partum depression. There are also meds if you'd be interested in that route. I do know that things definitely get easier. And as hard as it is, please ignore the comparisons to your son's cousin. Those comments come from a place of ignorance; those making them know no better.
Your honesty again didn't fail to envelope me in empathy. The first step to real healing is acknowedgement, and you do that beautifully through your words; however hard they were/are to write.
Please feel free to contact me via my personal email if you ever need an off-line chat.
Hugs and peace, Lisa

Anonymous said...

Emmie,

I'm sorry that things have been so tough for you. I can definitely understand your frustration about infertility and IVF. I, too, suffer from infertility and I HATE that everything is so structured and prescribed. But we need to think about the ultimate outcome that we desire...a baby. I, too, suffered from preeclampsia and HELLP in June of this year. I got pregnant through IVF (so I CAN relate to everything you said), and I was delighted when I found out I was pregnant--even through the seemingly endless protocol and mood swings. Unfortunately, my ending was different than yours. I had to deliver my baby preterm due to the development of HELLP. The doctors were very concerned that I would die if I didn't deliver asap. My daughter wasn't developed enough to survive and she became my angel on June 1. I would love to hear her crying all the time and being compared to her cousins. As time goes on, your body will return to normal. Even though it may be difficult right now, try to enjoy your boys, and don't worry about what anyone else has to say. IVF is not an easy thing to go through and you should be proud of yourself. When your boys get older, you can tell them about how much they were wanted and how you stopped at nothing to see them born. God Bless you and your family.

~Denise~ said...

Came across your blog a while ago, and found myself here again. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make the insanity of what happened to you go away. I had HELLP in 2003 and still today question my body at times. Why me?

Surviving something like this, especially your situation, is different from the "normal" moms. Our experience was different, our babies were different. It took me a long time before I could even make sense of what happened, much less accept it. That is something I'm still working on.

It does get easier. But the road is bumpy. I see some of your previous commentors have mentioned the Pre-e Foundation...please visit if you haven't already. You can find many other women who struggle with the questions, the guilt, etc. We're quite the group of survivors. Many have had preemies and know what it's like to have your baby not do the same thing as someone elses baby.

I wish you peace, and enjoyment of those babies. You've had a long, difficult road. You are alive and have beautiful babies.

Many hugs.

Anonymous said...

HI sweetie.

Sending you a great big hug.

First of all congratulations on the birth of you babies - I'm so sorry you didn't have a easy pregnancy, birth, deliver ect.

It will get easier, not overnight, but with time it will. I suffered sever hellp & pe with my youngest son (18mths) and I still have days I got through the emotional tug of war you have with yourself.

www.preeclampsia.org has lots of wonderful ladies that are survivors of Hellp and they are a wonderful supportive bunch of girls. If you ever need to chat, vent or any support at all pop over hun.

Take care, Zoe

Meg said...

Oh Emmie. I'm so sorry this has all turned out the way it has for you. I can't imagine what you've been through.

It WILL get easier, I promise you. It will.

(PS. Your neice is one massively overfed baby if she's taking 8 oz. Weight problems ahead!! There's some satisfaction in that, no?)

The Town Criers said...

Oh, sweetie, it does. It does get easier and you are in the worst of it right now. You are in the hardest part of raising twins. And you are in the hardest part of recovery. It is a perfect storm of difficult times all coming together. Can we talk off-blog? Thetowncriers@gmail.com.

A, B & C said...

I don't know if I've ever commented before, but I've admired your stregnth through this whole thing! The first few months are so hard for all Moms, even when you have no complications. I had many days in the first months where I thought to myself, "what did I get myself into?" It passes, and being a Mom gets so much better and much easier. Just keep asking for help if you need it.
And comparing your sons to any other child is completely unfair. As long as they are hitting milestones, please ignore this unkind person!

Jen said...

Oh Emmie, I am so sorry you are feeling this way, I had PTSD after my PIH pregnancy/delivery - which was I know was a thousand times less traumatic than what you went through, but I can relate so much to the feelings you are describing in those months after delivery. I would say it took me a good year to get over the guilt, the anger, the disappointment, the resentment, the feeling of being robbed of a birth story I could be proud to tell. The physical after effects of what I went through, here today four years later, I am a different person. Forever changed since that day. And then to add IF to what you went through, like at what point is God going to give you a break right? Just know you are NOT alone. I hope you don't mind, I mentioned your blog to my group of girls over at the PE forum, the HELLP survivors forum, where they often discuss these kinds of feelings both with babies who have survived and those who tragically didn't. I just thought maybe they could wander over here and offer you some words of support, since there are not many mothers who know exactly what you have been through and these women do. Thinking of you, it does get easier. It definitely does. Just try to get through each day and those are small miracles at this stage.

reichmann said...

Hi there-- I found your blog through Mel at the Stirrup Queens and just wanted to tell you that it DOES get better even though right now it is impossible to see that light at the end of the tunnel.
I could have written much of your post right after our twins were born; I had a relatively uneventful pregnancy (and uncomplicated c-section) but I felt like a total failure those first few weeks and months. I also couldn't breastfeed so I felt like that was another failure. And I vividly remember hitting my head against the wall (literally- you'd think I was a crazy woman!) in the middle of the night as both babies cried and I just couldn't take it any more. Looking back on that time is like looking at a totally different mother and children. Our twins are now 16 months old and I wouldn't trade this life for anything. I would say that by about 2-3 months, things started getting better. Please realize that the hormones surging through your body, the SLEEP DEPRIVATION (the worst!!!), and just the stress of trying to learn to be a mommy-- times TWO!, all come together to make you feel so incompetent. But try to realize that EVERYTHING IS A STAGE. Your boys will eventually sleep through the night. They will eventually be on "regular" milk with all of their friends and breastfeeding (or not) won't even be an issue in your daily life. They will eventually smile at you and make even the worst day seem worth it. And one day they'll go off to school and you'll wonder where the time went.
I know that it can seem like that day will never come right now- thinking even a few months down the road for me at the beginning seemed like an eternity away- but it will come. Be good to yourself and don't be so hard on yourself. You'll see soon that you're a great mother and before you known it, you'll be giving advice to other moms of newborn twins who are about to go crazy :)

Kerry Lynn said...

You've obviously gotten a lot of support with these replies. I didn't even have time to read them all so please excuse me if I repeat something someone else said.

what you're feeling is because of a chemical imbalance, not because of what is going on in your life.

it bothers me so much when someone says, "well, you've got your hands full" because that is NOT what is causing my problem.

for instance when hubby asks me to empty the dishwasher I go into a deep depression and think that everyone will be better off without me. it's not because he asked me to do something...it's because there is something WRONG with my hormones right now.

i don't blog about it because everyone I know reads my blog. i had ppd for a week or so when the babies came home but I was fine after that with no meds. at 4.5 months i got so bad that I took myself to the emergency room in the middle of the night because I didn't feel safe. I have been on lexapro for 3 weeks now and I definitely feel better! Not 100% for sure but SO much better.

please talk to someone and get meds. my rn also has me on 4800mg of fish oil. it's been proven to help in the most severe mental conditions including ADHD, bipolar disorder, etc. I think if you google it you'll find lots of info on it.

Anonymous said...

1) There's a reason that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. What new parents go through would not be permitted by the Geneva Convention.

2) In my experience, the easy babies who sleep through the night from the very beginning and never give anyone any trouble turn out to be the hellraising teenagers. Keep that in mind when someone's getting all superior with you.

3) Everyone lies about sex, money and their babies' behavior. Well, not everyone, but some of the people you're talking to. Promise.

Julie said...

Ah, Emmie.

I'm so sorry you've been going through this.

Almost three years after my own HELLP/preemie freakout, I can tell you that it does get easier. It gets easier, and better — downright wonderful, in fact. It gets so grand you won't believe it.

I am still broken in several ways from my own experience, but stronger in several more. I hope with all my heart that you'll feel the same, and soon.

Sarah Beth said...

Okay, I am a lurker to your blog, but I wanted to leave you an encouraging comment, because you are going through so much, and I can somewhat identify with you. I had HELLP syndrome as well - not nearly as bad as you, and I delivered my little guy at 35 weeks on 8/9. Because of the HELLP syndrome creating issues with my placenta he was very small 3 lbs 4 oz. Luckily I made a fairly good recovering considering everything but he spent 27 days in the special care nursery before coming home, just last week. It is very hard to pick up the pieces that my less than ideal birth gave me, so I totally understand your emotions. I just wanted to say that it sucks and you have a right to feel bad about what happened. Please remember to take good care of yourself.