A kick in the guts

OllieMother guilt is neither helpful nor productive but that doesn’t stop it consuming me, and I’m sure many other mums, 90 per cent of the time. This week’s self reproaching comes in the form of why I didn’t realise something was wrong with Aidan sooner.

You see I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant, and the baby is moving inside me a LOT. Not every hour, but certainly I can feel him doing little tumbles inside of me every day.

The sad thing is I never felt Aidan move. At the time, having never been pregnant before I didn’t really know what it was supposed to feel like. There were twinges of something here and there but I wasn’t really sure it was him moving around, and besides all the baby books said every pregnancy was different and mothers feel their babies moving at different times. I was adamant I wasn’t going to be a highly strung, first time mother so I just pushed his lack of movement aside and didn’t give it a second thought.

Little did I know, Aidan was in serious trouble. It wasn’t until I visited my GP for a routine check up at 24 weeks that I discovered he had limited blood flow to the heart and brain, he hadn’t grown in weeks and he was struggling to stay alive. I know it’s not helpful but I can’t help wondering if Aidan had been my second child whether things would have been different. If I had been more aware of my body, would I have known something was wrong?

It certainly would not have changed the fact that he has Pearson Syndrome but it may have averted his prematurity. Without his prematurity we could have avoided a number of feeding, developmental and general health issues that have plagued him since birth. We could have given him a better start in life, a fighting chance at beating the odds.

It now leaves me feeling like a neglectful mum. With every movement from the baby, I do get a sense of reassurance that everything is ok, but I also feel a pang of guilt, a regular reminder that I failed my first born son so early in his life.

I knew when I became pregnant that feelings and thoughts would arise that I had never considered an issue so I’m not surprised that I’m feeling so uneasy. I guess to a large extent I had underestimated the emotional impact that having a premature baby would leave on me. For all mothers of severely premature babies, life might go on, but the scars go deeper than the caesarean.


6 thoughts on “A kick in the guts

  1. Maybe, maybe not. You can never know. But when my second child stopped moving I thought nothing of it, even though I should have known from my first that something was different and therefore not right. We only just got to the hospital in time to save her. And for the last 10 months I’ve been asking myself the same questions – if I’d gone in sooner would she have lung disease? Would she have needed to be whisked away from me? Like you say, the books all tell you every pregnancy is different, and that gives us a false sense of security at times. Muma guilt is a bitch. But I think the fact that we feel like this actually shows we are great parents.

    • Tracey, knowing that you were the same as me with your second baby does make me feel better that I didn’t know. You have to tread such a fine line between being aware of the baby moving but not being a paranoid mother. It’s such a huge responsibility carrying a baby and one many mothers take for granted. Unfortunately, we have both learnt the hard way.

  2. I really don’t thing you should feel guilty (easier said than done I know)!!! There is not a lot you can do to make your placenta function better! If the baby isn’t growing all you can really do is watch and wait and get the baby out before it’s too late. I must say though that I am glad I don’t have to go through another pregnancy after my last high risk one – I would be a nervous wreck. The scars definitely run deep.

  3. I definitely felt more for my second…different babies. And I was definitely paranoid about liver pain and blood pressure throughout the second pregnancy (had life threatening, rare form of pre-eclampsia during the first and delivered at 32 weeks). But take comfort in this: during my pregnancy with Iris I mentioned to many doctors and midwives at the Royal hospital for Women where I worked that the baby was causing discomfort under my ribs…it was only later that they all looked back and realised it was the symptoms of early stage liver and kidney failure. It’s not only first time mums but experts that miss the subtle signs. The second time ’round we were all hyper vigilant. You know you are a brilliant mum…and even if you mentioned something about movement to the specialists…I’m sure they would have reassured you. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    • You’re right Liz. There are so many aches and pains associated with pregnancy, it’s hard for anyone to really know what’s going on. I keep mentioning various pains to the docs and they say it is all normal and I’m sure in most cases it is. Have to try and remember that most pregnancies work out and there are plenty of mums like you who’ve had an easier time the second time round. xoxox

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