Where do I even start with the topic of anxiety? Before kids I didnt have nearly as much as I do now. After trying for baby number 2 for 22 months, the countless negative pregnancy tests, the amount of blood tests, needles and scans, a failed iui then having to do ivf, my anxiety was already sitting heavily on my shoulders. My anxiety was turned up a notch from the start of the twins pregnancy, finding out our one little embryo we transfered actually split into two ✌️. 3 kids in 3 years including twins coming 14 weeks early will do that to you I guess. The weeks were easy back then in comparison. I was still able to train, work and go socialise with my friends. We didn’t actually tell anyone it was twins apart from our parents and our best friends as we thought we would suprise everyone at Christmas time with the news.
Pretty much anyone that knows me knows that training is my stress reliever and my ‘me’ time. This was my way to keep my anxiety at bay until it was taken away from me. Those little words hit me hard. “No more exercise until after pregnancy” . I couldnt believe it. In my profession how was I meant to not stay active? I had to demonstrate exercises to my clients and help set up their weights etc. Along side keeping our twin secret I had to now explain to people why I couldn’t lift a single weight in the gym I worked at. My anxiety levels rose.. I felt like I had no outlet and that everyone would judge me as a PT. I couldn’t train, I couldn’t have a glass of wine, I felt so isolated.
After lots of research I learnt that rest was best for Rileys chance at survival. Anything that got my heart rate up would take blood flow away from her, when she already had such a limited supply. Over those weeks I felt I lost who I was. I was sitting at work, sitting at home, sulking to myself about why wasn’t my body doing what it was meant to do. Why did the girls split they way they did? Was it my fault? So many questions ran through my head. Its like my anxiety thrives off the unknown. In our nicu journey there was so many unknowns I cannot even list them all. Each scan was terrifying. Waiting to see if both girls had a heartbeat then checking if they had grown. After every scan I would sit in the car crying blaming myself for what had happened and how they split. It wasn’t fair!
The girls birth was traumatic enough plus not being able to take my babies home after birth, plus two infections in my c section wound, two hospital stays, a toddler at home, trying to sleep, driving an hour each way to the hospital and pumping every 3 hours oh my goodness I was about to explode. On the days the girls had good days, I was good but on those bad days I wanted to hide away. Pretend this rollercoater ride we were on wasn’t real. Kemh are very good and provide psychologists and social workers to talk to and without those two ladies behind us I would of fallen sooner. I lost count of the times we nearly lost both girls when they were sick. Seeing that neopuff come out and sats drop is the worst feeling I have ever felt. As a mum theres nothing you can do. You don’t even feel like a true mum to your baby in the first place, and now they are suffering and you can’t even help them. You feel helpless.
Over my journey I found the use of essential oil blends helpful. I would use them whenever I was feeling a bit on edge and needed to calm down. I also tried to listen to my gym playlist as I missed training so much. Nothing though could help the mummy guilts I felt when Hanna came home 5 weeks before Riley. Walking out of that hospital with just one baby was heartbreaking. I felt my heart literally rip into two knowing I had to leave her behind every day. Time with Riley from that day was limited as now ontop of everything else I had to focus on having Hanna at home.
I tried meditation but found I couldnt ‘zone’ out enough to reach its full potential. Nothing seemed to help now. In those 5 weeks I broke into a million pieces. I needed help but didnt know if it was the right thing to do. Id never thought about taking medication before as I thought I was strong enough, but now I needed something more. I needed to be a strong mother for my girls and a decent wife to my hubby. I gave in and got help. The first medication I tried though I reacted to and ended up in ED overnight on a drip. After that I was very hesitant to try another one but I did and I am so glad I did. It honestly has been the best thing I’ve done as it has helped greatly. I no longer feel broken and heavy, I feel more level headed and able to conquer tasks I wasnt able to before. Ive learnt from this lesson to get help before its too late. You don’t need to feel ashamed about asking for help and reaching out to others. Its taken a long time for me to accept this fact. Half the battle is accepting in yourself that you need help. 💕😘
I have found being able to share my journey on Instagram and now here has been such a release for me. Knowing another nicu mum could read my blog and see that there is light at the end of the tunnel makes me feel amazing. 👌