0

Becoming a NICU mum

Becoming a NICU mum

This isn’t how it was supposed to pan-out.

We all anticipate how our babies will arrive and try to envisage that spectacular moment our little creation enters the world.

Then fate cruelly interjects and suddenly the dream bubble that’s been floating above your head for the past few months is torn in two and is replaced with the sound of beeping machines, the hustle and bustle of a busy ward and the reality of this tiny fragile human-being with wires and tubes protruding ever limb on their helpless little bodies.

It’s a massive shock to the system and you’re expected to just take it in your stride. As if becoming a mum for the first time or adding to your brood isn’t enough to take on board, now there’s the fear that this little part of you, won’t make it.

When they are born, that’s the helpless moment you lose the ability to protect your little one safely inside your body, the moment they leave your body, the responsibility then leaves you and is passed on to the nurses and doctors, which although we are grateful for, is heartbreaking, because all we want to do is cuddle our little bundles of joy and keep them safe in mummy’s arms.

With a “normal delivery” mum’s are so excited to finally meet their new addition, but during premature birth we have the fear of the unknown, knowing your baby may not breathe or be born with long-term health complications.

You would be judged for saying this isn’t what you wanted to happen, but I can’t quite understand why someone would pass judgement on the feelings of something they have no understanding of.

We don’t feel disappointment and sadness because this premature baby has become an inconvenience to our lives, quite the opposite.

It’s sadness for our baby and disappointment that this person we love more than anything else on the planet it having to struggle through the early days, weeks, months and sometimes even years of their life.

We call them fighters, because they are.

We call them miracles, because they are.

We wouldn’t change them because we love them in a specially particular way after being astounded by their strength….

But would we, if we had the choice wish they had never had to go through this?

Of course we would!

I look at Jack now, my waters went with him at 25+5 weeks and he was born at 29+5 weeks, spending 40 days in NICU and I’m still astounded by what he went through as a 3.5lb preemie. But the heartbreak of seeing my tiny baby squeal in pain with needle after needle, knowing his body couldn’t provide what he needed to keep him alive breaks my heart and I’d of taken it all for him if I could.

Nobody hopes to become a NICU mum, but once you are one, all you do is hope.

Hope that your little one makes it through the fight for their life.

I’m just one of the lucky ones my fighter made it through unscathed.

Jack.JPG14962555_10208892541089488_287446724342812290_n

0

The Heart Stopping Moment

The Heart Stopping Moment

It’s safe to say I’ve had my fair share of heart stopping moments whilst being a mother, actually, even before I was a mother.

No heartbeat

We lost two babies before we had Jack, being told there was no heartbeat is like a punch in the stomach then being left with an empty feeling, it just felt like a never ending nightmare and like our future had been taken away from us before we’d even had it.

Then with Jack being born prematurely, I was constantly on pins, praying that nothing else would go wrong, hoping each day that he’d be healthy enough to come home, but there was always the reassurance that the medical staff were there, that they wouldn’t let him come home until he was “right”.

So it’s safe to say pregnancy is a pretty terrifying for me, I have a whole host of health problems during my pregnancies, so I get kind of impatient waiting for my baby to “just be here”, but nothing can prepare you for the fact it could all be taken away in an instant.

Time stood still

This time last week, time stood still and it felt like my heart stopped, it’s actually taken me a week to write this blog post because I’ve only just got my head around it.

Having a late night with the hubby, watching Goodfellas (as you do), it was three minutes past twelve (don’t ask me how I remember that, time literally stood still) and Nicole was being fussy and not wanting to feed even though she seemed hungry, which is not like her, she loves to feed and would literally be on my boob all day.

Then suddenly she started making a grunting noise and was bolt upright, as if she was in agony, I tried winding her and then she began struggling to breathe. I passed her to Paul he couldn’t settle her either, she was getting more and more worked up and unable to breathe properly so we rang an Ambulance.

It’s strange, my kids will do things throughout the day like climbing and falling but not hurting themselves, eating and almost choking, becoming ill with a cold or virus and it’s always in the back of my mind to ring a professional for help either my doctors or the hospital, but in this situation I just knew we needed emergency care.

She started to turn blue

I took her back in my arms and she went from feeling like she was full of frustration and bolt upright, to floppy with her eyes rolling back and she started to turn blue.

That moment was the most terrifying of my life, I felt like every part of my body that holds me together just fell apart, helpless…that’s the word. Suddenly for that moment the world stopped and everything felt quiet and cold, I was on the phone to the emergency services and I could hear the woman saying “calm down or I can’t help you, please calm down” then I realised I was hysterical, I didn’t even know I was, I’d gone completely into myself, just for a moment but it felt like hours, then my phone battery died.

It was as if her body was giving up

That was it, I snapped back to reality with the terrifying concept she may not have arranged an ambulance. I’d told her my address, I’d told her my baby was four months old, actually I think I told her that about 20 times, we quickly rushed to the house phone, by this time Nicole had come back round but she was still slightly limp and grunting, it was as if her body was giving up.

My husband got onto the house phone and rang 999 again, I could hear him pleading with them to just send an ambulance, but he later told me they wouldn’t until he’d been through the appropriate questions, all I could hear him saying “my baby is four months old and she isn’t breathing, please send an ambulance” and then he kept saying “just send one”, “please she isn’t breathing just send one”, by this time an Ambulance was outside our home, thank goodness the first call handler from when my phone had died had sent one.

She was going to be OK

I ran into the ambulance, I had no shoes on and Nicole was only in a t-shirt, by this time she had come round a lot but was still grunting, so we took her to hospital. I nipped into the house just to grab some nappies and baby grow for her and the realisation hit me like a wave, she was going to be OK, I mean for all I knew it could have happened again, but I don’t know how to explain it, I just felt it, she was OK.

She was checked over and cooed over by every member of staff in A&E and they reassured me this is just a thing that happens with young babies, they just have these little episodes, some come round from it, some don’t, so we’re very lucky.

The fact that this “just happens” terrifies me, I love being a mother, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, but since the moment my first child was born I have this unbelievable fear of how I could ever cope with life if something happened to one of my babies, as the saying goes “it isn’t worth thinking about” but last week Nicole made me think about it and that was my heart stopping moment and I hope I never have one again in my life.

nicole.jpg