A few weeks ago I posted about feeling ready to write. I’m a new mom and absolutely smitten with my daughter, Jiselle. But since her birth, I have struggled with intense feelings of grief and guilt…
Jiselle’s birth was nothing like we planned. What birth is, right? DH and I went in for our final prenatal appointment in preparation for an induction scheduled for the following week. Unbeknownst to us, my blood pressure was high and when I was hooked up to the NST monitor, Jiselle’s heart rate would dropped from the 160s to the 90s whenever I had a contraction. I was immediately sent across the road to labor and delivery and Jiselle was delivered by Cesarean section about an hour later. When the doctor lifted Jiselle up, she was so tiny. Before delivery, we were told she would be in recovery with us, but because of her size- only 3lb 8oz at 37w2d, she was immediately sent to NICU.
After several tests, we discovered she had a low platelet count but the doctors didn’t know why. Over the next few days her platelet count continued to drop and 3 days post birth she was given a platelet transfusion. The following day my husband and I had our platelet types checked. I was HPA-1 negative (very rare). It was then that we discovered that Jiselle’s condition was due to something called Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia. My negative platelets had been attacking her positive platelets most of the pregnancy. Jiselle’s transfusion was successful and her issues were minimal compared to what could’ve been. With NAIT, a fourth of the babies are born with heavy bleeding on the brain, and a third die at birth.
This is when the guilt and grief settled in- guilt because of what Jiselle had to go through during pregnancy and in the NICU (my body= my fault) and grief because I felt l had lost any future children in that instance. How could I knowingly put another baby through all of this? I could just picture my unborn baby being attacked by my negative platelets in womb. Painful.
Jiselle is thriving and has developmental support at a great children’s hospital. I’ve researched NAIT and met other parents online. I’ve discovered that there are treatment options should we try for another child, very expensive and invasive options, but options nonetheless. If you have been following me, you know I’ve walked through the fire to get to motherhood and I would do it all again for Jiselle. I’m SO thankful to have the chance to be a mother because I know what it’s like to feel like it will never happen.
But will I try for another child? I will say that I’ve let go of some of my guilt and grief. I’m not crying everyday or sitting in dark spaces browbeating myself anymore. But irrational or not, that guilt and grief will continue to haunt me.