The Only Way Out Is Through

At one month, I was really excited that our daughter had made it to that milestone. I was especially excited because HELLP babies have a statistically higher morbidity rate due to perinatal complications than other babies. While her mother was 1% of pregnancies, she continues to defy the odds and show the NICU staff just how feisty she is. The other day, she had ripped off her diaper while in her isolette and was flinging her legs around in the air. It made me laugh a genuine laugh. It felt good to laugh.

At one month, I realized that holy moly. We’ve been in the NICU for a month. I’d be lying if I said that it was not starting to get to me. The incessant alarms and the never ending stress binge surrounding my daughters stability, breathing, and prognosis. I feel a sense of fatigue on some days that not even a good night’s rest can cure. Oh wait – I don’t get ‘good night rests’ because I get at most 5.5 hours due to my breast pumping schedule. If I don’t pump, my life sustaining breast milk for our daughter diminishes and goes away.

After reading the forums on about HELLP moms, it has become clear to me just how early I came down with pre-eclampsia and HELLP in my pregnancy. I never made it to 7 months, and most of the other moms were past 32 weeks of gestation when their babies were born. It makes me wonder why my case was so severe that my baby had to be born at 27 weeks. Its daunting receiving the information from the hospital about the developmental delays and disabilities that she COULD (not will) have. I believe that my daughter will develop the way she was intended too, despite the odds that state differently. Even though I have that belief, knowing that she could be deaf, blind, have cystic fibrosis, and other issues because of her lengthy stay in the NICU burdens me with stress that I have to push to the back burner.

I feel like I have pushed so much stress to the back burner that I don’t know if I will ever be able to deal and manage with it all and deal with normal life stressors. I really hope that my OB has the time on my post partum appointment to discuss this with me. In a way, I would like to see the lab values that made her decide to immediately deliver me. I don’t second guess her, but I would like to see just how bad off I was. It never clicked in my mind the day that I gave birth just how bad off I was.

We’re looking to be in the NICU for at least 3 more weeks. It could be as much as 9 more weeks. God help me … I hope my sanity lasts that long.


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