Overcoming Infant Loss and the NICU with Priscilla

Priscilla is a survivor of infant loss and the mother of a NICU graduate. Her wish is for all women to experience complication free births. We met via social media where we’ve been following each other for years. She posted something for NICU Awareness Month and I asked her if she would share her family’s story and she agreed.

Overcoming Infant Loss and the NICU

Her first baby, her daughter, only lived a few hours after being born unexpectedly preterm at 22-weeks gestation. William, her second baby, was born full term at 40-weeks gestation and experienced meconium aspiration during his birth. He went on to spend 2-months in the NICU recovering from this and persistent pulmonary hypertension. Today he’s a healthy, happy and thriving 4-year-old.

Nothing tops the kinship you feel when you connect with someone who’s had the same or similar childbirth experience. Reading her story brought back so many of my own memories of progesterone shots and nights in the NICU. I can relate to the triumph of achieving a full-term pregnancy, after a preterm birth, only to have it end in a second complicated delivery.

We share this story in solidarity to highlight the experiences of families that have also coped with infant loss, preterm birth and having a baby in the NICU.

How did you handle being pregnant after the loss of your first baby, a preemie? 

Honestly, not that well. I knew from the moment I lost my first baby that I needed some serious mental health care. Though I went untreated since I didn’t have stable insurance or general access to any practitioners. So when I got pregnant again, I was extremely nervous and anxious all the time. I had flashbacks to my loss, especially whenever I had to go to the doctor and do ultrasounds. And I allowed my PTSD to kind of consume me at times. I became hell-bent on being able to control every single aspect of the birth.

I had a great OB/GYN but I disliked the hospital she delivered at, they had a higher c-section rate and were not very flexible on allowing mothers freedom and choice during childbirth. So I found a Doula thinking she might be able to help, but she was part of a group of doulas and midwives who were very pushy about natural birth and home birth. They swore that I could do this birth at home with a new midwife and I was coerced into leaving my OB/GYN and it did not turn out well. During labor, my son got stuck and we had to have an emergency transfer. Thank goodness, because he aspirated meconium and had persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), which the midwife would not have been prepared to manage during a homebirth.

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Birth Trauma: Having Another Baby after a Traumatic Birth

Being pregnant again after a traumatic birth or high risk pregnancy is like walking through a field of memories and revisiting places you would rather not see again. It is not unusual to experience anxiety, self doubt and fear during your pregnancy.

Pregnant after a Traumatic Birth

Anxiety can come from unresolved trauma from your previous birth, as well as worrying about what could go wrong this time around.

Fear can come into play the closer you get to your due date and during routine tests, or milestones in your previous pregnancy or labor where things might have started to unravel.

Self doubt can arise at any point where we find ourselves trying to make the “perfect decision” to avoid our previous experience. This can result in procrastination, indecisiveness and looking to people outside ourselves to make the right choices for our family.

Pregnancy and birth are unpredictable by nature, most of the time things go well, but sometimes they just don’t. A way to set oneself up for a better experience is to accept that it will go how it goes on that day and in that moment.

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Hypnosis for Birth Trauma with Jessica Porter

Hypnosis for Childbirth Trauma with Jessica PorterMost of the time birth happens in a way that leaves a new mom feeling empowered and joyous. Although for some of us, the birth of our babies can leave more complicated feelings in its wake.

Childbirth trauma is something I and many of my clients have experienced after more challenging deliveries. Processing the birth in a healthy way, is an important step in working through the event.

Hypnosis is something wildly popular in childbirth preparation and less well known as an option to treat trauma after birth. I discovered Jessica Porter years ago through her book “The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics.”

Here she shares how HRCT hypnosis can release and shift emotions and move postpartum mothers towards emotional healing.

What is Hypnosis

Most people have this idea of hypnosis being “look into my crystal ball,” what is hypnosis for the uninitiated?

Hypnosis is a totally natural state of mind, in which we focus and reflect deeply. All of us go in and out of hypnosis several (if not hundreds) of times a day: When we daydream, space out, drive somewhere we know the route to, listen to music, dance, have sex, watch TV, or relate to our inner worlds and imaginations in any other way. We go into these little trances–as we contact our subconscious minds–and they are totally normal and healthy.

Hypnotherapy is simply using this state of mind therapeutically–and in a sustained way–because we are more open and suggestible when functioning from the subconscious. So hypnosis is not the entering of some mysterious Pandora’s box, locked away at normal times, or full of scary secrets. The subconscious is just a layer of one’s mind that we don’t normally lead with in our lives, but we do have contact with it.

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