Time to Talk: PTSD the hidden cost of NICU

I’ve written about the difficulties faced both during and after my daughter’s NICU/SCBU stay. It really does mess with your head in a way that you just cannot anticipate.

The Smallest Things


I saw a post last year; it simply said “PTSD – The hidden cost of having a premature baby?”

Nothing can prepare you for parenthood, but you allow yourself to imagine the arrival of your baby; those first precious holds, taking them home to meet loved ones, the time together to grow and bond – and then suddenly everything you imagined is dramatically replaced with the alien and uncertain world of neonatal intensive care.

seeing our son for the first time seeing our son for the first time

It is widely reported that parents who’ve spent time with their babies in neonatal care are a greater risk of developing anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some studies suggest that it affect as many as 70% mothers following NICU and given the nature of NICU this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet this is a topic that remains relatively unspoken about and more importantly there are limited, and in some areas…

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One year on

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Today is the 24th of January, a spectacularly uninteresting day to many I imagine. For me it was the start of a traumatic experience, an experience that is still ongoing, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

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World Prematurity Day: Bonding can be hard

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Monday 17th November 2014 is World Prematurity Day, a day for talking about around 15 million babies born prematurely worldwide. My daughter is one of them, and while I was aware of premature babies prior to her birth I was most definitely ignorant to how hard it could be for the families of these tiny little miracles. I learnt the hard way, and it could have been harder still, I am very fortunate to live in a country with an amazing health service where babies like my little girl stand a good chance at life.

Around 60,000 are born in the UK, and the best charity to follow about this is Bliss, also a wonderful charity to donate to, they have been a fantastic support through some very tough times and do a lot to help families with babies in SCBU, including working with doctors and nurses to make sure care for prem babies and their families is as good as it can be. I am writing my story to share, and I advise you to follow them on @Blisscharity for more stories.

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A mother who is still not a mother

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Some of you may not have read my previous post on this, if you haven’t then it’s probably best you do so you understand the context of this. What I’m about to write will probably garner me some hatred, but I need to get it out, and maybe it’ll help someone else in the same situation to know they aren’t the only one. I cannot be the only one.

Quick summary, my daughter was born 10 weeks early by emergency caesarean which was done under general anaesthetic. As a consequence I didn’t see her until more than 24 hours after she’d been born, and I couldn’t hold her until she was 3 days old. She then stayed in special care until she was 6 weeks, during which time I had immense trouble bonding with her, most of the time it didn’t feel like she was even mine – after all I hadn’t seen her birth. She’s home now, and it’s harder than I ever imagined.

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Guest Post: Parents Not Welcome

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For me I was always more worried about my wife than anything else. The doctors sat her on the table, and the previously friendly anesthesiologist began to have a bit of a tiff with the surgeon in charge about where the site the spinal. Glances across the room to the wonderful midwife and theater staff revealed more than a little panic on their faces, I can only imagine how mine looked. I held a sick bowl for Kat and tried to calm her as best I could. Despite repeated attempts to tell them she could still feel they pressed on and cut into her, causing her much pain. Later, by her bed side while she slept off an interminable amount of morphine, the anesthesiologist would put it to me in a round about sort of a way that he thought that she was making up the pain. When they decided to put her under I was rushed out of the room quickly without a chance to tell her how much I love her, and then left into a hallway holding a sick bowl with no idea what I should be doing, if anything. A brief, ugly skirmish with the non-english speaking gentleman that shoved me out of the theater ensued when all I asked was where to put the sick bowl, and where I had to wait. The exchange left me in tears lying on the floor of the recovery bay, still holding the bowl, which he had deposited my glasses into. This is a man that works in surgery. I was terrified.

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When is a mother not a mother?

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Nearly two years ago I was rushed into theatre, given a powerful epidural and had my first child pulled out of me with what appears to be a cross between a plunger and a vacuum (ventouse delivery). It all sounds pretty horrific, and I did find it quite upsetting at the time. However the moment my son was placed in my arms it was love at first sight and I was riding a wonderful high of maternal love for a few months after his birth. I was extremely lucky, and I knew this. Though I don’t think I knew just how lucky I was. Despite a horrific pregnancy and a scary birth, I still got to experience something which might be common place in the movies, but isn’t necessarily so in real life.

Seems my luck didn’t hold for birth number two.

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