I've really struggled as to whether to post this. When I first started this blog, I thought it would be full of posts such as this one, as I was really only blogging for myself, to make sense of things, however in the past year this blog has changed, and I am really proud of where it has gone and the audience that it receives. And I'm glad that it is a resource for many who are either going through the NICU journey, supporting others, or picking up the pieces of their own lives after a traumatic birth experience.
However, I feel that now I am shying away from sharing my feelings. I don't want to upset people (how very British have I become?). This post is especially hard, because I really want to talk about the resentment, anger, guilt and and sadness I am feeling (RAGS - good innit? Well I thought so). I did initially think of using a service call Blognonymous but then thought why should I? Why should I have to stay anonymous? And then would it be anonymous? Pretty much everyone would know it was me anyway. But before I start I have this to say:
I know that many people who read this have gone through the death of a baby, and don't have one to hold, or have a gaping hole in their family. I know there are people who read this that don't have a baby at all and are struggling with infertility. And then, are my dear friends, who are pregnant again, many of them following birth trauma and/or prematurity. What I want to say is, I don't want to upset anyone. I know how lucky we are to have a healthy toddler. To my friends, I am overjoyed you are pregnant, really. I mean it. I just wish to God that I could be a bump buddy, I am jealous, but that is not your fault, nor is it mine. And I don't want you to stop talking about your pregnancies, your babies and your children, but be prepared that I might say, today is not a good day to talk about this to me, but that doesn't mean that tomorrow may not be a better day.
I am feeling angry. I hate anger. Righteous anger maybe, but this is a jealous, self-pitying anger that isn't directed at anyone. I am just angry. And where do you go with that? And my anger, and resentment is making me sad. So sad that I went to the GP. And you know what she did? She wrote me a prescription for citalopram. This was over a month ago. I haven't filled it but I carry the script around in case I happen to change my mind.
She committed a cardinal sin, in my eyes. She made assumptions and prejudgements. She took one look at me and my history and wrote a prescription. I had asked for talking therapies (as recommended as first line treatment by NICE guidelines) and she basically said "oh there's a massive waiting list its a waste of time". That makes me angry. I have been told this twice before, the first time in pregnancy, the second, after Joseph came home and I was struggling. Both times I said "fine, refer me privately". I no longer have the means to go private. That makes me angry, that I have relieved the pressure from the NHS, and have not been rewarded with help when I need it and can't afford it. I strongly believe the treatment I had in pregnancy saved my life. My therapist thought there was a physical basis for how I was feeling, and he was spot on. He prepared me for what was to come.
I tolder the doctor that I would not take the citalopram, as it makes me sick. She wrote me second prescription for anti-nausea meds. I explained that I have had them before and they make me sleepy. She suggested that I get help with Joseph. Send him to his grandparents........see, not listening. And that makes me even more angry. I am not a kid, I am a grown woman. I want to be supported in my health decisions, not treated like an idiot. I have never been a non-compliant patient before, and it makes me uncomfortable.
I feel I just need to talk about it, and maybe CBT and/or EMDR might help me to get through this brick wall I seem to have hit. But I just don't have the resources. And I feel anger that the NHS saved my life by chopping me up and fishing my baby out, but won't help pick up the pieces. And I think that is wrong. I just want a six to eight week course of talking therapies, is that really too much to ask?
And I am angry about pre-eclmapsia. I am angry about the myths, the ignorance, and the very fact this fucking illness (gosh angrier than I thought, sorry) can't be treated or cured except through drastic measures. And it's not for want of trying. There are research projects out there trying to crack the code, but its illusive. There is no definitive treatment or real prevention other than careful monitoring, aspirin and anti hypertensives.
And yet, there is balance. Although I feel anger, and a degree of resentment, and also some guilt that I feel this way, I feel immensely blessed. I wish that pre eclampsia did not exist, this is true, but do I feel I have been blessed because of its impact on my life, then the answer is resoundedly yes.
I have learnt to take nothing for granted. You never know when your health and indeed your life is on the line. I have learnt patience, I have learnt true joy and happiness. And I have the cleverest, most beautiful little boy in the whole world.
And I now need to learn to live with the fact that the family I wanted, the two kids, a nice husband and a cat, is somewhat diminished, two one kid, a nice husband and a cat. But that is still a wonderful thing.