5 Things No-one Tells You When Your Baby is Premature

My babies journey into this world was not straightforward. It was not really the start that any mum imagines for her or her newborns.

I won’t bore you with all the blah blah birth details (other people’s birthing stories, yawn), suffice to say that my pregnancy was fairly uneventful until about six and half month point. Then my feet and ankles became swollen and suddenly one day I felt faint and unwell. Long story short I was taken to hospital diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and delivered the twins three days later at 29 weeks. Martha was 2.5lbs and Freddie was just 2.1lbs.

For any mum facing the situation I want to shed a glimmer of hope. To tell you what I learnt from being in hospital with my babies for about two months (for the last five actually in a ward although I was not ill myself).

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  1. Being in hospital is boring and alarming in the same measure
    Early on the twins were in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. All beeps, tubes and high alert. After the birth you will be dealing with a raft of overwhelming emotions ranging from joy to frustrations, courage to confusion.  You don’t need me to tell you that bonding with a baby through a barrier of plastic is heartwrenchingly hard. But when the dust settles (which it will eventually) being in hospital is incredibly boring. And this is no bad thing, it gives you time to concentrate on the most important thing. You needn’t worry what is for dinner or if your husband has clean socks. Retreat into a bubble and focus on you and your baby.

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2. Nurses are just nurses
During my loooong stay in hospital I was advised, assisted, bullied, scalded and befriended by the nurses. But remember nurses are just people and this is their job. It is not your job. You probably do not know what a blood transfusion entails, you might have never washed a baby while it lies in a incubator and above all that you are learning about your new baby, breastfeeding and the other normal mum stuff. Sometimes nurses know best and their advice should be taken on board, but at the end of the day this is your baby. If you feel uncomfortable, patronised or ignored do say something to someone.

3. A spell in hospital has it advantages
At the end of my two month sojourn a la hospital I was slightly institutionalised (see 4.) In two months I had hardly washed a dish, made a meal or a bed, hoovered or really done anything other than care for my babies and rest up. Lucky lucky me! Consider for a moment all those poor mums leaving hospital with their plump newborns only to be descended on by all manner of family and friends, traipsing in expecting tea and biscuits and a vacuumed carpet. Not me! Dealing with premature babies is a trauma and that itself is exhausting. At least in hospital the visiting hours are short (and if you don’t want visitors just say because that is totally fair enough – you are not in a normal just given birth situation and people will just have to be patient while you and your baby are patients).

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4. You will suffer from Post Hospital Stress Disorder for a while
When the twins were eventually discharged from hospital I found it hard to shed the hospital rules. I was measuring formula and recording feed times like a maniacal matron. It took a while for me to rinse the ward rules from my skin. Being in a medical environment is not relaxing, not by a long shot. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel guilty, negligent or overly anxious. Anyone would when faced with what you are dealing with. Eventually you will find your rhythm.

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5. This is just a moment not forever
Although some days it may seem like you are getting nowhere this is just a blip in your baby’s beginning. One day you will find yourself bellowing at them to be quiet or telling them off for drawing on the sofa. Things will get back to some level of normality for you and your family. It may seem like forever away but believe me it’s just around the corner. It really is!

Good luck x

Postscript: While in hospital my husband and I found hope in staring at the Wall. The Wall in the corridor outside the NICU was covered in then and now photos of tiny babies hooked up to monitors and rosy-faced toddlers celebrating birthdays and teenagers graduating. All these photos helped us imagine the future which seemed so unattainable, but which is now – three years on.

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With thanks to all the staff at Musgrove Park Hospital, Torbay Maternity Unit and of course our families and friends.

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26 thoughts on “5 Things No-one Tells You When Your Baby is Premature

  1. I love this post, it made me cry but it also made me smile. My youngest three were all premature, although admittedly only five weeks unlike your two, and they were lucky to only need a few weeks stay in neonatal. Even so, it was terrifying, particularly during their stay in ICU when they were hooked up to breathing machines and I wondered what was happening every time a machine beeped or a doctor rushed in. I don’t think that you ever forget that, it was definitely not the start that I had imagined, but then we took them home, and we watched them grow, and we realised just how lucky we were. #fartglitter

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I wanted to write something that tells you ‘it’s OK’. While in Neonatal care I read alot of ‘other people’s’ stories but nothiing that said you may feel like this or this might happen. I love your blog btw x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh thank you! This is a fab post, I’m sure that it will help someone in the same situation. I’m so glad that your twins are healthy, they are just beautiful. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a moving post and it really opened my eyes. I was very lucky in that I hardly had to spend any time in hospital when my two were born. One night with my first, and my second was home within 2 hours of me giving birth! I’d never really considered it but I can see how it must be difficult to adjust back into “normal life” after so much time and such a life changing experience. Fantastic advice to any other new mums going through the same. Thanks for sharing with #fartglitter x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a fabulously positive post. I love the idea of putting Then and Now pics outside the NICU ward to give parents some hope…you’re right, it’s a very traumatic experience and all you have to cling to is hope. #fartglitter

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I felt really moved by your post. I hope that it gets tons of shares because this could really help another family who is going through something similar. Your two are so gorgeous, you must be very proud. #fartglitter

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great post. I was a mum to a 25 weeker and my God, if I had a pound everyone someone said “so and so was born at this many weeks and look at them now”. Yawn! Our latest was also in special care as born at 34 weeks and so those bings and bongs came back to us! Ta ks for sharing #bestandworst

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    1. Thanks. Yup, other people’s stories are useful but they are not your story. I wanted to write something positive about what you may feel and experience if you have a premature baby. x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks very much for sharing your story. I was fortunate that Cygnet was born 9 hours after due date and was healthy. The 6 weeks after his birth was incredibly tough and incredibly stressful. I can only imagine what it was like with premature twins. Well done and thank you for sharing. Pen x x #fartglitter

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  7. Welling up at the end of this post – what a generously open post to write. I can’t imagine starting life as a Mum out so precariously – and just look at those beautiful children now. The NHS gets a bad press, but we are so lucky to have the services available to us here in the UK.
    Thank you so much for writing this and sharing at #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh they are beautiful. I often wonder how it must be being in hospital with premature babies and how you cope. Also how it feels to come home! This is really interesting. I’m so glad all worked out for you and great read. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so glad your story had a happy ending 🙂 This is great advice, especially about it being ok to tell people not to visit. People that care will understand and those who don’t understand are probably best out of your life
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful post.
    How incredible it is to see photos of your tiny little babies, and then see what they look like now. They truly have grown so much, and have come so far. I was lucky enough to have been able to carry my babe to term, so I can’t really imagine what the emotional ride through the NICU is like. I have a couple of friends who’ve had premature babies though, and this really helps me understand their journey a bit better. Point number 4 really opened my eyes-I can definitely see how you’d be so stressed and worried after leaving the hospital. So happy to see how they’ve grown though! ❤ #coolmumclub

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  11. This is lovely and I’m sure will be very helpful and reassuring for anyone in this position. Also an interesting insight for those of us who were lucky enough not to experience this. I only had a one night stay with first, and second was accidentally born at home – we still had to go in for checks and paperwork, but were back home a couple of hours later. I obviously assumed that it was difficult and stressful to spend a long time in hospital, but never considered that it would also be institutionalising. #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for sharing your story. It does feel like a lifetime when your baby is in neonatal. I hope your story will help others to see that it does end eventually just like it helped me. Your twins are beautiful x

    Liked by 1 person

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