Prem Baby the words that you dreaded hearing when you were pregnant. I have had 4 children in ICU but only 3 were classed as a Prem Baby. I haven’t talked about our experiences on the blog but I felt now was a good time. If I could help any parent prepare for those weeks in the NICU sharing a small snippet of our journey will have been worth it.
Unlike most, I knew with my first prem baby that we weren’t going to make it to term. I had been admitted to hospital with complications at 23 weeks. I had a few trips home but always ended back in the ward within days. At 28 weeks I remember being on the phone and feeling a pop. My waters had gone. I wasn’t getting home now until birth. I was closely monitored and scanned to see how my levels were holding up. Amniotic fluid replenishes for the bits that I lost it filled over a few hours. This cycle went on for 3 weeks. I woke one morning feeling really off. I didn’t want to eat a thing (and being a huge lover of food I knew something wasn’t right) My consultant was called and bloods taken. I had an infection. Induction was booked for later in the day but during the wait, I went into labour myself.
Mason and Logan
Like my pregnancy with Ellie, I knew this wanst going to get to term either. I was pregnant with Identical twins and had various complications similar to Ellies. My section date was brought forward a number of times and in the end, the decision was made to change the date to 32 weeks.
My Visit To The NICU
In the Royal Jubilee in Belfast, if they think you are going to go early they arrange a visit to the NICU so that it isn’t as scary as arriving with a prem baby. I welcomed this visit, although we had been in the NICU with Kane this was a new hospital and Kane was term. I remember walking in and seeing 2 lines of incubators. The nurse took us to the back of the NICU and explained the smallest sickest babies were there, they then progress towards the door and then going home areas. I can still remember the smell, the sound of the machines beeping constantly. Seeing the tiny babies lost in their incubators. I wasn’t scared, I put my faith in the staff.
After both births, I was taken to the NICU in my bed. I was wheeled up to the incubators and shown my little precious babies. Both times I was handed a picture of the babies, I treasured these so much. Asking questions wasn’t really on my mind the first visits, I just wanted to know they were ok. If your partner/family member is with you and you know you’re having a prem write down some questions that they can ask for you.
On The Ward
Luckily both times I was taken back to the Ante Natal ward to recoverer. I dont know how I would have coped mentlaly with babies being around meon a post natal ward. The staff were amazing and ofetn called the NICU for progress reports. Especially in the hours after my section when I couldnt walk. I relied on this informatina dn it helped me settle more and allowed me to recover quicker. If you find yourselfin the same position dont be scared to ask them to find out how baba is doing (Midwives in my experince have been wonderful and uber helpful)
I was allowed totake the babies some gifts. I sent up a blanket that I had held close to me. I wanted them to get used to my smell. When it came time to hold them used these blankets as well. Super soft and smelling of mama.
Being a hospital and beds being needed I did have to leave my babies and go home. Yes this was absolutely heart breaking. I was allowed to stay a week both times but after that my bed was needed. I travelled in daily to see them and called upon awakening for a morning update. Please don’t be scared to call and see if they have had a peaceful night. Most NICU nurses are mums and they empahise massively with what your going through. I spent all day in the hospital with them but know this isnt possible for all.
Go Easy On Yourself
One thing I would say is go easy on yourself. You have just been through a pretty traumatic experince and its normal to take time to adjust. Take help of family if they offer it. Rest as much as you can as well, because when these little ones get home they will need a strong mama.