The beautiful Nina Patterson with Madelyn (16 months). Nina is also mother to Cameron (born at 17 weeks gestation in 2013) and an ectopic pregnancy at 6 weeks shortly thereafter.
Nina has PCOS and always imagined it would take some time to get pregnant. She and her husband decided to wait a year after they were married to have a family and they conceived for the first time the weekend of their first wedding anniversary without complication. Nina and her husband enjoyed telling their friends and took a vacation to tell her family. Their 13 week scan showed that everything was prefect and they planned to wait to find out the babies gender until they were born. Nina developed a nerve pain in her buttock that her doctor wasn't able to pin point and it was very debilitating. She couldn't walk and feared that it would never go away.
At 17 weeks, Nina went in to the doctor and they couldn't find her baby's heart beat. They brought in a portable ultrasound and then sent her to the hospital and confirmed that her baby no longer had a heartbeat. She was given the choice of allowing her body to react naturally or be induced and as a Type A person, she wanted to be able to plan. Her doctor wasn't very helpful in describing the process so in the two days before her induction, Nina took to the internet and googled what to expect. She wasn't sure if she should hold her baby or find out the gender and everyone she talked to told her that it would all be more difficult if she did. Worried that the process of meeting her baby would be too traumatic at the time, she was induced, gave birth, and went back to work just a few days later.
Nina and her husband began trying to conceive again shortly there after and had their first positive pregnancy test on Christmas day. When she went to the doctor to have her levels checked, however, she learned her pregnancy was tubal and she had to take methotrexate so that her body would pass it. They conceived again, very quickly, with Madelyn and from the very beginning she says the pregnancy was difficult. She had all day sickness which needed to be treated with Zofran and the debilitating nerve pain in her butt came back. She said it was easier this time because she knew it would eventually go away but working through the pain was intense. Via ultrasound, they learned that Madelyn had a two vessel cord which added to the worry. At 17 weeks, the point where she had lost her first baby, Nina began to have panic attacks. She had already been experiencing a constant fear that this baby too would die, but this was more intense. Past this point everything was new and she couldn't shake the idea that she was replacing one baby with another. She eventually went to a counselor and found talk therapy to be very helpful.
Nins struggled with not having held her baby or finding out if it was a boy or girl and says that the trauma of that decision has stuck with her. Nina's therapist encouraged her to focus on the things she could do rather than those she could not and just weeks ago they decided to give their baby a name, Cameron, so she could properly honor their life.
While Nina's panic attacks became better managed, the pregnancy never got easier. She had been planning for a natural childbirth but was induced a few days before her due date. Nina had an epidural at 8cms that she was very thankful for and was able to deliver Madelyn vaginally but tore quite badly. She had been experiencing some blood pooling and swelling in her legs prior to delivery and it continued after, leaving her mostly bedridden for the first two weeks after Madelyn was born.
Nina stayed home with her daughter for the first three months of her life but it was harder than she ever imagined. Madelyn had colic and cried constantly and when it was time for Nina to return to work she couldn't wait to hand her to their day care provider. It wasn't until months later that she realized she had been navigating postpartum depression that went untreated. She'd raised concern to her OB who dismissed her as simply being "career orientated" and said she'd know what to expect the next time. It is just now, that Nina feels the fog is lifting.
Madelyn self weaned at 9 months and Nina notes that it is likely due to her daughters food allergies. She had been supplementing with formula and about that time, Madelyn began refusing all breast milk, even if it was bottled. It wasn't until she was diagnosed with a milk allergy, on top of many other things, that Nina realized breastmilk and her diet had been upsetting her.
While Nina wanted to capture and celebrate in these moments with her beautiful daughter, much of her motivation for sharing her story is to honor Cameron's life and encourage mother's of loss to see and hold their babies. "You will never regret holding your baby. That is not a moment that you can get back once it's gone."