The Crushing Weight of Responsibility 

  
I’m feeling a lot like this Spidey at the minute but without the benefit of his superpowers or muscular toned thighs! 

Since our lil rainbow baba’s movements have been more definitive, I feel such extreme pressure to know at all times if he is moving or when he last moved. I’m feeling like I can’t concentrate on anything else. There have been times in work when people have been talking to me and I’ve just been superficially listening, with my main focus of attention being in my tummy! It’s getting in the way of everything I do, including trying to sleep, and I’m quite probably going to go insane with it all! It really doesn’t help that I have an anterior placenta so depending on the baby’s position, movement feels vastly different on different days but very often is pretty gentle and ‘internal’ rather than big tummy wobbling kicks. I haven’t started to do official kick counts. The guidance around this is so confusing and has moved away from counting a specific number of movements but I think maybe having three (?) set times a day that I specifically pay attention might help me rather than trying to do it all the time.

So far I’ve gone to hospital twice outside of my normal weekly appointment with concern about movement, once at 23 weeks and this weekend past at 27 weeks. Both times I felt that the baby hadn’t been as active as usual that day. Because the process of going to hospital is so traumatic, I actually find myself putting off going rather than going immediately – which is how I thought I would be. The first time I waited and waited, and got myself into a really horrible state of panic and was convinced the baby was dead. The second time, I went sooner after I became concerned so I was still pretty calm which was a much better experience. Both times if I’m honest I know that I was having particularly hard days on an emotional level. I suppose it makes sense that when my mood is generally worse, I’m more likely to worry about the baby and then if he’s not very active, or is in a bad position, the whole rocky ‘holding it together’ act falls apart! Luckily we don’t live too far from the hospital and so far the staff we’ve met have been very understanding. 

We got a report back of a file review of my antenatal care with Isobel. The opinion of the reviewer is that my antenatal care was adequate. She wrote that MPFD is known to be associated with sudden foetal death with no warning signs. On the one hand, we get this message that there were no signs that there was anything wrong with Isobel’s placenta but then they try to reassure us saying we’ll be monitored so closely this time. It doesn’t make sense. How can monitoring be reassuring if there are no warning signs??!! I have some questions about that to ask, but I’m sure that reading the report has not helped with my fear that this baby will suddenly die one day like his sister. As much as I trust my doctor and am grateful for the close monitoring, it feels very much like it’s up to me alone to know if something is not right with the baby and to quickly respond to that. Isobel’s postmortem stated that she was deprived of oxygen over a six hour period. If MPFD strikes again, it could happen that quickly and what if I notice too late again?

  

The feelings of responsibility for keeping this baby alive, have made me think more about my ideas of responsibility for Isobel’s death. I have tried not to get stuck on thoughts of being to blame for her dying, or feelings of guilt. I know these are not fair or helpful. However on  a factual level, if I had noticed a reduction in movement in the hours during which she wasn’t getting enough oxygen and had responded immediately to this, there is a chance that she could have been saved. I know there are a million more ‘what ifs’ that relate to things other than me but that one still stands out and I can imagine it’s one I will struggle with more or less for the rest of my life. I will continue with my process of noticing it, reminding myself that it’s not helpful, and letting it go. 

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13 thoughts on “The Crushing Weight of Responsibility 

  1. I understand the obsession with movement. I often wake up in the middle of the night and probe my stomach for any twist, turn or kick. I won’t return to sleep until I feel something. I also won’t get out of bed in the morning until I feel her. I also won’t pay attention to people if I am focused on her movements. I know we have had different experiences with loss, but I can relate to the feeling of responsibly. Will I know if her movements are off? Will I react soon enough in the event something is wrong? Will I have maternal intuition?
    It’s good your hospital is close and that you go when you feel you need to. I am so very happy to hear that baby was fine when you have gone in.
    I’m sorry you’re struggling with the ‘what ifs.’ I can’t imagine they will every subside, but know the loss of your daughter is not your fault. It was a tragedy and it didn’t ‘happen for a reason.’ As hard as it is, please try not to blame yourself.

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    1. Thank you lovely. It is so helpful to know I’m not on my own even at my craziest!!!! I think maternal intuition is unfortunately not reliable! With Isobel I wasn’t a bit worried, even at the end, and this time I’m always worried and nothing as yet has been wrong! I think just getting checked each and every time I’m significantly worried will just have to be how I manage it, even if it means multiple unnecessary trips to the hospital!
      You’re right, I hate the ‘everything happens for a reason’ idea and blame is definitely not helpful, it’s something I’ve got to keep a check on.
      We’re getting there! One slow week at a time but we’re getting there xx

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  2. You’re right, it will all be worth it but the sense of responsibility is so overwhelming. I feel like there are so many people depending on me to know whether everything’s ok. It’s not just Pip that I’m trying to keep safe, it’s all the people around us who will fall apart if he or she isn’t! Still, we’re over half way there! Just need to keep the craziness in check for a while longer xx

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    1. Oh my goodness that’s so true about the responsibility for other people too. Simon’s heartbreak totally breaks my heart – and everyone else’s too. I cannot imagine getting through it again.

      9 weeks to go for me! Then there’s the ‘How will I be able to look after a baby when I’m an emotional wreck?!’ issue but that’s a whole other post!!! Xx

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      1. I feel like everyone else is below that rock too but I’m the only one who can hold it up!
        Ah 9 weeks, single figures! I still have 13 to go but I’m getting there! Literally ticking off the days on my countdown calendar! I started looking at baby breathing monitors for the cot the other day, anything to make me less neurotic! Xx

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  3. I was worried the whole pregnancy and convinced I’d loose Owen. That I couldn’t possibly have a life with a happy ending. It seems very normal. The best thing I did for myself is the constant reminder that statistically, I wouldn’t loose a second baby. Not that it always worked but it helped. Maybe you can incorporate that understanding when you’re feeling panic and like you’re going crazy! You’re getting so close!!!

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    1. Aw thank you! It does help to know it’s normal to feel like this in this kind of pregnancy. I think for us though there is a realistic possibility of recurrence and while there are no large scale studies some doctors say it’s up to 60% so it makes it hard to use rationality as we just don’t know the reality or how much the medication reduces that chance. The great unknown! I am not someone who generally likes uncertainty either! It sounds bad to be wishing the pregnancy away but I know I’m not going to rest until this baby is in my arms!! Xx

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  4. I didn’t k ow you had a 60%. That makes the fear even greater. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes without a hitch. Is there anything you can do to help prevent?
    I felt the same wishing the pregnancy to be finally over so I could stop living in constant fear.

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      1. You’re doing the best you can with more knowledge which is a blessing and a curse (to have to know too much), in good hands. You’re lined up to succeed. I wish you nothing but the best.

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