Pregnancy after a Preemie

I haven’t really posted or said much about my pregnancy on my blog since I announced it a few months ago.  The reason being that this pregnancy is high risk due to having delivered prematurely previously.  I just haven’t felt like sharing and celebrating this pregnancy yet.  I haven’t felt safe enough to do so.  I still don’t, however, I thought it might help anyone else out there experiencing pregnancy after having had a preemie.

Keira’s Story

29 Week Preemie

I’ve shared about Keira’s premature arrival before, and you can read the full post here.  To keep it short though, my membranes ruptured prematurely at 28 weeks gestation.  Due to the risk of infection the Doctors can’t do anything with PPROM aside from two rounds of steroids 24 hours apart to help with lung development and lots of antibiotics.  Thankfully my contractions did not send me into full labour so the steroids had a chance to do their work.  5 days later, when I was 29 weeks +1 I felt cramps starting and by the next morning Keira was born at 29 weeks gestation and 2 days.

She spent 54 days in totaly between the NICU and the Level 2 nursery.  The next year was a blur of worry, appointments, and specialists. 

Grief & Prematurity

While I did not experience loss with my previous pregnancy, I still experienced a lot of grief. I grieved for all the days I did not get to experience having my baby still tucked away safe and growing inside me.  I grieved for all the moments I would have been waddling around in my maternity clothes while people asked when I was due.  I grieved over not having a baby shower while everyone marvelled over my bump.   I grieved over never having experienced third trimester, not knowing what it was like to be unable to see my own feet.

I grieved over not having a normal birth experience. I grieved over not being able to hold my baby during her first week of life.  I grieved over having to go home empty handed from the hospital.

Don’t get me wrong, I know we are so blessed that Keira surived and I will always be thankful for that mercy.

Still, until I found out I was pregnant again I just found myself avoiding anyone pregnant, stopped watching the birth stories on TV,  and even avoided newborns.  I can’t explain the feeling, but I guess to be honest, jealousy probably fits the bill and it’s not something i am proud of.  

For those of you who are pregnant or have a newborn and have a friend or family member who has experienced premature birth, loss or infertility who seems to be avoiding you.  Just please be patient. 

I guess with this post, I just wanted to reach out to others who are also going through this mix of emotions and I want to let you know a secret.

You are not alone.

This Pregnancy

When I found out I was pregnant again I felt a mix of emotions.  Joy, fear, excitement… and that was just the start! 

Emotionally though I have been a mess and living in fear.

I feel strong little kicks and all at once I feel joy for the life inside me but also fear that those little kicks will rupture my membranes.  Fear that we would have to go through all of it all over again.

This has been compounded by my family doctors office setting up my referral to the obstetrician for mid-August rather then right away so I spent the first 5 months under almost no care.

Now that I have finally seen the obstetrician I’ve been setup with extra ultrasounds and constant appointments just to make sure everything is progressing well.  I’ll be getting my first shot of steroids today “just in case” to help the baby’s lung develop faster should I PPROM again.

Through all this though, all I can keep thinking about is how desperately I want a full-term, take home the next day kind of baby.

 

Have you experienced Premature Birth, Loss or Infertility?

57 thoughts on “Pregnancy after a Preemie

  1. Congratulations and I hope all goes well. After three miscarriages, my daughter was born at 26 weeks. I know the feelings you are talking about. We waited almost four years to try again. I had my cervix stitched (again) and was on bed rest for the entire pregnancy. My second daughter was born 13 days over-due!

  2. I’ve not experienced loss or premature birth, both of mine were full-term and for that I am grateful.
    My heart goes out to you, and I pray you get to go full-term with this new bundle of joy! Congrats to you, your hubby and Kiera. 🙂

  3. GREAT post – as a preemie mom (32 weeker) I know exactly what you are talking about. Everything was approached for baby #2 with cautious optimism. I would not let the fact that DS decide to make an early entrance stop me from having baby #2, but that did me that the worry and anxiety were not there.
    Actually I was a lot more anxious then I thought I was going to be. Take it day by day and week by week – the anxiety changes and don’t be too hard on yourself for the way you are feeling.
    This past week I was thinking about when my preemie was born, I think it is the perfect definition of bitter sweet – it gave me my amazing son and there were happy moments, but there are still so many not so happy memories of that time.
    I hope your second pregnancy goes as smoothly as my second. Baby #2 was born healthy and happy at 38 weeks

  4. I know how you feel! My first spent 7 days in NICU born at 36 weeks but got severe pneumonia, my second was 8 days in NICU born at 35 weeks but born with a pneumothorax, and my 3rd was 10 days in NICU born at 33 weeks and inhaled amniotic fluid and got a severe lung infection. The best thing you can do is stay healthy during pregnancy, take your vitamins, and stay positive. Get a good support team going (like this one) and know we can handle anything when we put our minds to it. Congrats and stay strong!

  5. First off, I want to congratulate you on your pregnancy!

    I went through a pretty traumatic delivery with my first child and I found myself feeling very similar feelings as you did. It took over 2 years for me fully to come to terms with everything that happened and it was only then that I was ready to think about having another baby, something that I desperately had wanted before (many children).

    Try to keep your thoughts positive and fill your days with looking at your first born and filling yourself with the love and joy that she has brought you.

    These experiences will make you one strong Mama! Hugs!

  6. After three miscarriages, my husband & I finally became pregnant again. That fear was always in the back of my mind…our daughter was born three weeks early, healthy. Then fast forward six months, I realized I was pregnant again. My son was born three weeks late after having to be induced for 49 hours before he made his way into the world. I am grateful that I have them but I still miss my babies that I lost and that pain will never go away.
    Many blessings to your new and growing family!

  7. Congratulations on your pregnancy! My first pregnancy ended rather quickly. I was barely pregnant. We will se her in heaven one day. I had preeclampsia with our oldest. Our latest edition wanted to come early. I had the steroid shots, the strict bed rest, and the medicine to attempt to stop contractions. I was 38 weeks when I delivered. My point is this…every pregnancy different. It is wise to take precautions against an early delivery; however, worry doesn’t help and is unfair to the time your could be enjoying with your little one tucked inside. You are doing everything you can to keep this little one safe. You can do no more. You are brave for trying to have another. Don’t allow worry and fear to rob you of these few precious weeks you have left. I will be praying for you to have a healthy rest of the pregnancy and for you to feel at peace. (If that is okay with you).

  8. I’ve had a range of experiences with pregnancy which is not surprising with 11 pregnancies. Yes, 11. I’ve had normal pregnancies, pregnancies where I bled off and on, three miscarriages, and one child born with Spina Bifida who has lifelong medical needs and is paralyzed from the waist down. Grief? Yes. Been there. Jealousy? Yep. Worry? Fear? Hope? Yes. Congratulations on your coming little one, enjoy every moment.

  9. it sounds like there is a lot of worry and anxiety left from what you experienced with your first pregnancy. and why not?! it is definitely scary to think about birthing a baby that early in pregnancy. so I think what you are feeling is natural and you might consider talking through it with someone, be it your ob/gyn, a counselor, a birth educator, or a close friend. I imagine you will feel a bit more secure once you pass the time that your prom happened last time. good luck and congrats!!

    Stopping by from the blogelina commentathon!

    ~ Dara

  10. I had never thought of grief being associated with prematurity – whenever I’ve known friends with preemies everyone around them is just worrying about the baby pulling through, not realizing that it might be hard on mommy in more ways than one. I had a hard time bonding with my DD and DS while they were in the womb because of a previous MC…I know what you mean about feeling guilty!

  11. I have to admit I have tears welling up in my eyes as I read your story. I can relate with a lot of what you are experiencing. I have been SUPER fortunate to have two healthy pregnancies, despite many high risk factors. I felt like I held my breath the entire time I was pregnant. I worried myself sick…and still do. I guess that part will never go away.

    My youngest, now almost four months, was in the NICU for four days, not your 54. I cried each and every single time I walked away from him. It didn’t matter if I was gone for fifteen minutes or an hour to shower. I cried. It was awful. So, I cannot imagine the pain and loss you felt for nearly two months, but I can understand what it feels like to have to walk away from the most precious, most important gift. I didn’t tell most people he was even in the NICU. I didn’t want to talk about it, explain his situation over and over. I just wanted to hold him, to cuddle him, to nurture and feed him. I wanted quiet, I wanted peace.

    Truly wishing you health and love and looking forward to amazing follow-up!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your story and congratulations on your pregnancy! I’ve had one healthy full-term birth which was a failed home birth (we had to transfer to a hospital when labor wasn’t progressing, but I delivered vaginally and my daughter was healthy) and one recent miscarriage, late in the first trimester. Both of those carry their own kinds of grief. I feel so strongly that we each have a right to feel whatever we feel about our experience bearing and raising babies, even what feels painful to us might not look like much to someone else. Thank you for being open about your grief in your experience. I’m sure your honesty will provide comfort to someone else walking a similar path.

  13. Thank you for sharing your story. While all my kids have been over due, I can related in the jealousy of not getting the birth you wanted. 3 out of my 4 births were not my ideal and every time someone has a baby I still get jealous that they get to try for that perfect birth. Now that I’ve gotten my ideal birth with #4, things are still a bit better but I think I will still have twinges of jealous for those who are having a baby. I hope your little one keeps growing and likes it so much in there that they decide to stay in there forever. 😉

  14. So many of us take “normal” for granted. My daughter had a miscarriage with her first one. The pain and sorrow were shocking to us all. I pray you are blessed and thrilled with “normal” this time!

  15. I’ve experienced 2 miscarriages, but also have 2 healthy girls. Each and every ultrasound I have had (which is many now) still caused anxiety even when things were fine. I totally get the fear of the second baby. I also had severe post partum depression/anxiety with my first – which again brought on fear when I was pregnant with my second. My second is 3 months old – and I’m doing wonderfully. Fear is gone. I allowed the miracle and held onto peace – it’s all i can do when I can’t control!

  16. Congratulations! I can remember being a mess while pregnant with my first son because I had suffered a miscarriage prior. Each pregnancy (and person) is such a different experience. I hope you enjoy a wonderful full-term pregnancy (and of course, a healthy, happy childbirth at the end)!

  17. What a wonderful blessing you have one child and another on the way. I actually went 2 weeks over my due date and was HUGE!!!!!!! I can’t imagine having to deal with a premi and I’ve only seen those who have on tv.

    I will keep you and your wonderful little bundle of joy in my prayers for a full term. Take care.

  18. I hope everything goes well round #2. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have a baby come way before you are ready – but it sounds like you did a wonderful job with her and the situation.

  19. I hope everything goes well and your baby is born healthy. My nephew was born 3 months premature and he is now grown, healthy and has a family of his own. It was touchy in the beginning but as he grew everything was fine. I pray your new child will be healthy and you get to go full term! Enjoy every moment!

  20. I never considered that a mom of a premature baby would be grieving. Struggling for sure due to medical issues but not the grief. It all makes sense though. Much of what you experienced, I experienced. I had 7 miscarriages. The depression was horrible for the longest time. Then we started adopting. I will always grieve for babies we lost. They all have a special place in my heart. But with 5 kids it is hard to consider my life incomplete anymore. I think this was just what my family was meant to look like. I also cannot imagine what types of future my current children would have had if I was not in the picture to adopt them. We are not perfect but we can more than meet their needs – regardless of financial issues. They all have special needs.

  21. My first son was born with a heart condition and needed open heart surgery at 4 months (he’s fine now) but with my 2nd child, I wanted an easy pregnancy and healthy baby.

  22. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage very early and while I worried with my second pregnancy, I made it way past full term leading to a stressful delivery. With my third pregnancy and second birth, I just wanted an easy one and my youngest didn’t disappoint. He arrived literally within hours of the first labor pain almost causing me to miss the time frame for an epidural the day after his due date.

  23. I am 19 weeks now with my first child, and there are SO many things that can go wrong. I could live my life in fear and anxiety and it would be really easy to do. But just knowing that there’s nothing I am doing to create this baby gives me peace, because I know that God is the one who creates and forms us in our wombs, and any baby is a miracle. Just said a prayer for the health of your next baby!

  24. thank you for sharing your story. What a blessing that your first baby is alive and well. I had a very difficult pregnancy with my first son. I carried him to full term, but had LOTS of bleeding and it was very unstable. I was worried my second pregnancy might be the same, but it wasn’t… so I will be praying this pregnancy is very different from your first. Stopping by from the blog-a-thon. Emily

  25. Congrats on the pregnancy! I’m praying that everything goes well and you get to spend a night in the hospital and wake up to crappy hospital breakfast & a cute, snuggly baby to take home 🙂

    j.k. about the crappy food part lol

  26. I am a nicu nurse and LOVE all my babies and families, however my favourite preemie is my own! Dustin was born at 24 weeks and we also struggled through the first few years. I didn’t give birth to dustin, but still had lots of fears when getting pregnant for the first time after he came home, and the second and third. Being surrounded by preemies, I was sure I Would have one myself. HOWEVER, at 39, 41 and 41 weeks I delivered healthy and big baby boys. Try to enjoy this pregnancy, although I am sure it will be worrisome. Enjoy each milestone, 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 30 weeks and I am sure before you know it, you will be overdue!

  27. Congrats on your pregnancy! I hope everything goes smoothly for you this time. I have had two full term births. My first was a difficult birth and he went to NICU. I was very grateful he was only in there for 3 days. But I do remember that first night seeing him hooked up, I cried like a baby. I could not imagine having to go to NICU as long as you did. You are a strong Mama.

  28. In our family we do not have baby showers until after the baby is born. So no oohhing or ahhing over bellies here either. You did not miss anything just experienced it the way you were supposed to.

  29. I can completely understand your worry and fear of celebrating this pregnancy. I have never experienced premature birth, but I do want to at least say this: enjoy this pregnancy while it lasts. One day you may regret being too scared to relish in the pregnancy. I can imagine how hard it might be, but remember this is a different baby and you want to make sure you truly experience the pregnancy as much as you can.
    My son was born deaf and just had a cochlear implant activated at 18 months. We haven’t had genetics testing done yet and I’m not sure that we will, but there is a high chance it’s genetic (my brother also has hearing loss) and that I could pass on the gene to future children. It scares me in a way, but I also won’t allow it to stop me from having more kids or enjoying future pregnancies.

  30. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I almost had my last baby prematurely (labor started before 35 weeks), so I can only imagine just a little what you went through with your first baby and now with this pregnancy. I hope that you have a happy and healthy pregnancy, both for you and the baby!

  31. First, congratulations on your pregnancy! Second, I can relate quite a bit. My son was born at 32 weeks. I lucked out. He was home within 13 days, although on a monitor for two months after that. I am so grateful that he didn’t have any major complications. Yet I still- over 8 years later- feel traumatized by the whole thing. I still feel sad that I never got to have that “movie moment” where my water broke and we made the mad dash to the hospital. It took me six years to get pregnant with my son. I wanted the whole experience. Yes, I even wanted the contractions and the screaming part.

    I wish you the very best on this pregnancy and hope you get all your story book moments!

  32. It’s so true that grief is part of instances not typically associated with grief. I grieved the inability to birth my children as my first was an emergency c-section and my second was scheduled C. congrats on your new pregnancy and thoughts are with you for a healthy experience.

  33. Congrats on your news. I loved reading Keira’s story, thank you for sharing it. My daughter was full term, 3 days late, 3 long days….so I can only imagine your pain having a preemie. The worry, the joy, the tears, the scares. My heart aches for what you had to go through. May God bless your children and your family!

    Keep us informed of your progress with the new baby!

  34. Hang in there mama. We suffered a stillbirth and then went on to adopt an ultra-preemie. She’s 8 now and all I can be is so thankful for her. I said the next time I’m pregnant I won’t tell anyone until the baby comes out at the hospital. I so understand. Many hugs.

  35. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I wish you and your family the best! I can understand your fears fully but also hope that you are able to have some moments of enjoying your pregnancy without the fear.
    Your first baby sure was a beautiful little girl!

  36. Thanks for this post. I think it will help a lot of moms. I’m not a mom, but my close friend went through three high risk pregnancies with two children having serious health issues. I think she could really relate to this and now can celebrate all of her children once they’re out of the wood.

  37. My son was in the NICU for 2 weeks when he was born. I felt so sorry for myself and thought I had got the short end of the stick. I was humbled when I spoke with the mother in the room next to me when I asked how long she had been in the NICU and she told me it was her 106th day. Never ever again have I felt slighted. Instead I am grateful. Thank you for sharing your story. I cannot imagine the grief you felt delivering so early. I appreciate your honesty and courage.

  38. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have your baby in the hospital for that long, not be able to hold her for a week, and have to leave without her. That would tear me up. I could totally see being so worried and fearful for your current pregnancy and avoiding others. My 1st was a C-section, then my next two were VBACs. My 4th was a forced C-section due to the city we live in. I mourned and grieved for a long time after that. It has taken me two years to decide if we’ll have another one because of this experience and the fact that I’ll have to have another C-section. I was so mad at all my friends and family who had their babies naturally. I was, unfortunately, a tiny tiny bit happy when one of my friends had a c-section because she didn’t get why I was so upset about it and now she does. When I look at myself now I think it’s kind of silly the way I felt when I think of other people’s experiences of true loss, of true hardships and grief. Not that I can’t feel the way I did, I did lose my rights and my body’s ability to safely birth naturally, but I didn’t lose my child and I didn’t lose my ability to have a child.

  39. I just said a prayer over you and that sweet babe you’re growing. I can’t imagine what a mixed bag of emotions you must feel. Best of luck to you all.

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