Friday, August 17, 2007

Mixed feelings

Here I sit today, pondering, thinking over a subject I've been discussing with a dear friend. As usual, the topic is preeclampsia, but more specifically the recurrence of it in women like me.........who have it twice, three times, or even more.

Seems like every day there are press releases about new research studies, findings that give new hope for the eventual prevention of (and cure for) preeclampsia. I read a lot of these articles, and it's exciting to know that researchers are making headway in discovering why women get pre-e and what might be done to stop it someday.

Even now, more and more women are finding that their subsequent pregnancies can be healthy and pre-e free, through drug therapies or other evolving treatments. This is wonderful news, and something for which we should all be rejoicing!

However, there are still women like me around........women who had preeclampsia more than once, with no identifiable cause and therefore NO preventative options. Thankfully, my two sons survived, and I know how lucky I am to be able to say that. My husband and I have decided against risking the odds again and trying for more children, so I'll never know if a pre-e free pregnancy is even possible.

Today, I have many friends all over the world who are preeclampsia survivors. Several of them have recently given birth to new babies, at the end of a long, healthy pregnancy. Others are currently pregnant, and understandably worried about a pre-e recurrence but have kept it at bay so far. And naturally, I wish them all the best, and celebrate with them when full term healthy babies arrive.

But I'm left with mixed feelings..........the tremendous excitement for my friends who overcame pre-e, and the lingering hurt, disappointment and loss I feel for myself and for women like me everywhere. In my efforts to promote preeclampsia awareness, I often hear from women who've suffered from pre-e once and are scared to try again. It's wonderful to be able to say "Many women go on to healthy pregnancies" and to try to provide hope and encouragement to them on this scary journey.

But I also sometimes want to say, "Don't forget about me! I tried my hardest, I did everything I knew how, and my body still failed in its pregnancy responsibilities. But it's not my fault!" I usually just stay quiet, though, and cherish what I do have. Maybe someday no woman will ever have to feel this way at all....and that keeps me going. That, and my two precious boys who are my preeclampsia miracles.


Anonymous said...

I hear you loud and clear. I fall into that camp of women afraid about #2 because of the reoccurance fear. I am completely convinced we need to elevate the issue of Preeclampsia Awareness to an even greater national level. Every pregnant woman needs to know about the symptoms and risks of this disease.

Amy said...

Jen - As a fellow preeclampsia survivor I can definitely understand how you are feeling. Though I only experienced it once in my life, I too have a lot of these same feelings. I want nothing more in life than to have another child but the fear of preeclampsia is really weighing down my decision. The way I look at it is that God already gave me one miracle, what if I'm only allowed one miracle in this lifetime?

It is people like you who have faced this horrible disease more than once and persevered who give me the hope that one day when I decide I am ready for more children that I will be able to get through whatever gets thrown my way during pregnancy.

~Denise~ said...

Thank you for your words Jen. They encompass what so many of us feel. I recently blogged about the risk and our decision not to have any more children. It was a heartbreaking choice.

Life threw us preeclampsia. We don't know why, but we deal with it the best we can. For some, the cause comes and goes. For others, they remain dedicated to the hope that one day no woman will know the heartache of loss or prematurity due to preeclampsia.

kate said...

I can totally relate to this, Jen. Thanks for these words and for this site. I hope I will have a healthy, full-term baby this time around, but I'm worried that I won't. It took us a couple of years even to take this leap, and it's a scary one. I'm so happy for you that your babies survived, but I'm also so sorry for your loss of healthy, full-term pregnancies. That really is something to mourn, even though I know it feels as though you are too lucky mourn. I struggled so much with feeling lucky and unlucky at the same time, envious and grateful. Thanks for putting these words out there!

Anonymous said...

i recently just came out of the hospital with no baby in my arms from this silent killer, for the first time. so i come to these blogs hoping that i can find some connections, and stories to relate to. my doctor told me there was nothing i could of done, that most likely it will not occur again in the future, it really only occurs in your first one, if a women ever gets it, and many women go on to have healthy babies in future pregnancies. i see you write that, but then i read so many of these blogs and so many women have had it more than once. i want to thank all the women for sharing their stories, it helps when we think what the medical staff is telling us is the law of the land. maybe he was telling me that for that moment to ease my mind after the loss of my baby. women need to keep bonding with each other through these stories of hardship and success'because we are each others resources and best sense of self help.