Guest Post: Anxiety & the NICU: Dealing With Prematurity

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

I've suffered with GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) for as long as I can remember. Living day-to-day with a constant knot in your stomach is difficult, to say the least. 

In early September of 2015, I found out that my boyfriend and I were expecting a baby. I'd never pictured myself as a mother, I can barely look after myself, how the hell am I going to look after a child too? Every time I thought about giving birth or living with a baby my heart sunk. I just wasn't excited, I was anxious and scared. A few weeks passed, we had our first scan, and we were given an estimated due date of May the first 2016. I ended up giving birth on March the third, over two months early. 

My brain's default way of coping with trauma is to suppress it. I remember barely any of my birth, despite being conscious and (mostly) painkiller free. I delivered my daughter, Elsie, at 31 weeks and she weighed a tiny 3lb7oz. She spent 19 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 

I was discharged from hospital on Mother's Day, and I had to leave her behind. And never in my life have I experienced anything so heartbreaking. Every single second I spent away from her was spent shaking, crying, vomiting and finding it hard to breathe. 

All I was allowed to do was gently touch her through the portholes of her incubator. I didn't get to hold her until she was two days old, and when I did, I felt like I was holding more wire than baby. She felt weightless and tiny in my arms. I'm finding it difficult to find the point i'm trying to get across, the emotions that parents of premature babies have to deal with is something I never even considered. And nobody understands how it feels unless you've been through it. If it wasn't for the help of Bliss, a charity for preemies, I would never have coped. They showed me that although I felt so isolated, I wasn't and never will be alone in having to deal with this. 

Right now I'm writing this and she is laying next to me, laughing at her newly discovered toes. And I feel good. She's home, she's loved and she's exceeding every expectation all those doctors and nurses set for her. 

Finally, we're at peace.

Written by Megan Wilkinson-Hoy 

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