First days with your premature baby
Very rarely do you know if you will have a prem baby, it’s often not something you can prepare for. When you have a premature baby it can be a very scary time especially for new parents and can make you feel quite isolated and overwhelmed.
Bonding with your prem baby
Many new parents have an expectation of how they should feel when they first see their newborn baby. However, if you have had a premature baby, it is likely that they were rushed off to the special care nursery shortly after giving birth. You may feel guilty or concerned if you haven’t connected to your baby the way you expected to after the birth… that is completely normal. It is a lot harder to create a connection to your baby if they are in the special care nursery and can be even harder if they need to be in an incubator. Try not to worry as it can take time to bond with your newborn baby.
Handy tip: If you can, depending on your baby’s needs, try to do as much kangaroo (skin on skin) time as possible. It has great health benefits to both you and your new baby.
Special Care Nursery (The Neonatal Unit)
When you first enter the special care nursery, it can often be a very overwhelming experience. Lots of bright lights, controls, incubators, cords and often beeping sounds going off, all while you are searching for your tiny baby. This can be a very distressing time for you, seeing your new baby often with wires and cords all over them. Remember to speak with the staff, they are there to help you and your baby.
I can still recall the moment when my first born got wheeled off to the special care nursery as a tiny premmie in size ‘0000000’. I hadn’t slept in days, I was unable to walk from exhaustion and pelvic instability and no one would take me to her as the doctors said I needed to sleep – I remember feeling very alone even though I was surrounded by family and my anxiety levels for my newborn baby was through the roof! I remember waking from my sleep that I had to have, before being allowed to see my baby and I burst into tears, hormones were going crazy. I felt like a horrible parent because I hadn’t seen where my baby went, and I felt as though I hadn't been there for my baby (for the past 3 hours). I was then wheeled into the special care nursery feeling so overwhelmed, I had no idea where my baby was and it was so busy with different sounds going off, cords everywhere and bright white lights everywhere I looked. I felt as though I was treading water in such unfamiliar territory. The days following the birth were tiring, lots of back and forth between the special care nursery and the appointments you have following birth. Then came the time when I was discharged (without my newborn baby), leaving the hospital without my baby was an experience and feeling like no other, but that soon became my norm. I spent every day in the hospital and eventually I was able to bring my baby home, where I experienced a whole new set of challenges – But it was one of the happiest and gratifying days of my life.
A quote I find to be very fitting for this experience - “So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too.” – Cecelia Ahern