It's that lovely time of year again. The time where I start to look forward to my kids' birthdays as well as dread them. Each year, I think I'll feel better about it. But for some reason I don't. I recall the naivety of my first pregnancy, the fear, and anxieties of their births. The flu symptoms that turned out to be this disorder I had never heard of before. The anxiety of the second pregnancy and reaching that point where I got sick with the first, and waiting for the hammer to fall. Each year as we celebrate their being with us is a joy, but also throws me back into time.
I'd be lying if I said the circumstances of my children's births didn't still affect me in a major way. Yes, we are here and healthy. But the nightmare is still fresh in my mind, even as come up on year five of my HELLP syndrome delivery. It shaped and changed me. I cannot give up on the cause that had entered our lives. Being a preeclampsia survivor is part of my identity. And it's a piece that I cherish and hate.
The feelings of failure never really go away. Knowing that your body failed you and your child doing something that women have done for thousands of years. Of course, preeclampsia has been around that long and thousands and thousands of other women have experienced the disorder themselves. Knowing that when my daughter grows up and decides to become a mommy she will face the same danger.
The day where I should be celebrating their births is always a bittersweet. I am thankful that they are here with us, and healthy. I wonder how long I'll feel this way. Will it stop at some point? I don't think so.
Preeclampsia robbed us of a "normal" birth and pregnancy experience. It still pisses me off to no end. The decision to not have children was made under the pressure of facing another high-risk pregnancy and how it would affect the two children we did have. I appreciate and love them too much to try again. And it breaks my heart that we simply could not have made our choice without some issue hanging over our heads.
Our experience did teach us to appreciate them and the little things in life more. To enjoy each day and live it fully. To laugh with them rather than shout. To hug and kiss them daily. I try to look at the positives our experiences brought us, but some days are more difficult than others.