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What a Premature baby has taught Emily

Wednesday, 22 March 2017  | 

 

 

What a premature baby taught me.

I never in a million years or my wildest dreams / nightmares, thought I would be mum to a premature baby. There was no history of it with my mum, or my nan, even my great-nan. My first son went a full 12 days overdue before I was induced, and I had such an uncomplicated pregnancy. It just never occurred to me this baby would be early. Imagine my shock when my waters broke at 29 weeks and I was faced with a very poorly premature baby. It wasn't easy, but it taught me so much stuff that I feel almost a year later I can finally start to open up about.

 

1. Fed IS best. In the most literal sense of course for diet then breastmilk will be best, but what about what is best for overall health and sanity? Once you have fed your baby through a tube you quickly realise it doesn't matter one single bit how you get to feed your baby, via bottle, breast or NG tube, as long as you get to do it. We are so fortunate in this country we have other options to feed our babies, some people around the world are not as lucky.

 

2. Hygiene is so key. In the first weeks of Patricks life I faced no worries over turning visitors away if they had a cough or cold, everything within an inch of my baby was sterilised and my hands became flaky I washed them so often. You truly don't realise how vulnerable these little humans are until their health is in question. If your baby has a temperature under 8 weeks old, any health professional will immediately flag it as sepsis and you're looking at a hospital stay. You don't want to end up down that route because Jean from next door came over with a bit of a dodgy tummy.

 

3. The NHS is magnificent. I have my niggles with the NHS naturally as they failed to detect my waters had gone and ignored my concerns for 5 weeks. But the majority of staff are truly astounding. In the media they are portrayed so often in a bad light, highlighting the rare cases of negligence. Those NICU nurses took care of my son better than I could have anticipated, but they were also a tower of strength for us during those dark days. They would work for hours on end after their shifts, chatting away to you, answering any questions and they truly felt like part of the family.

 

4. Weight is health. This might not be the case always, but a huge helping factor to Patricks recovery was the weight he had behind him. He could afford to be off his food a little while, getting by on glucose drips whilst under sedation because he was a lovely 6lb5. He looked strangely large compared with other babies facing tough ordeals on the ward. I always wanted a dinky baby after Noah being a whopping 9lb13, but now I realise how foolish that was.