Welcome back to my Neonatal Life series. Little Lady spent 9 weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I wanted to read about other Mum’s experiences; I wanted to know if how I was feeling about it all was normal so I thought it only right that I shared my experiences of it too. Little Lady was born one hour into my 29th week of pregnancy weighing just over 3lbs, you can read about why she was born early here. Our 9 week NICU journey was the hardest one of my life so far but believe me, it is more than worth it.
Today’s post is all about the daily visits to see your baby on the Neonatal ward. Organising myself and establishing some sort of routine was one of the biggest difficulties for me at this time. I had, as many other parents do the added factor of Little Man too. I juggled my time between him and being at the hospital as best as I could. I would often do 5 or 6 hour stints at the hospital and then at weekends I would be there all day and some evenings too. It is a warm, welcoming place to be and the only place you want to be when your baby is poorly but as with everything there are practical elements to it. To be the best Mum you can be you need to look after you too. Here are some of the things I would take with me every day to get me through the day.
Water – Some wards will allow you to take your own cold drink and others will only let you use the water they provide. Whichever way it is make sure you drink plenty because the ward needs to be warm for the babies you end up cooking in there so drink lots!
Book – I saw one of the other Mums one day sat by her daughters incubator reading; I wasn’t sure at first. I would just sit there staring at Little Lady but for the first few weeks she just slept and there were limited things I could do with her. I started taking a book with me too. I didn’t take much of it in but it did help to distract me sometimes from the worry.
Loose tops – A big part of the neonatal journey is Kangaroo Care. This, for the first few weeks may be the only physical contact you get with your baby so be prepared! Wearing a loose top or one that unbuttons will make Kangaroo Care so much easier. The half an hour a day of cuddles with Little Lady tucked into my top made all the cuddles I felt like I was missing out on worth it.
Camera – Take all the photos you can! When you are there ever day it is hard sometimes to see the progress your baby is making and then become disheartened. However when you look back through those photos you really will see the differences and see how much they have grown. It is part of their journey and one that you might want to look back on in years to come.
Snacks – The time goes very quick when you are on the ward and you may not want to be away from your baby for long, I know I didn’t but you need to eat. Let’s face it hospital food can get a bit pricey so pack some snacks and when you nip out for a breather you can have a snack too.
Notepad & Pen – This was probably the most important thing I took with me. The Dr’s only have a limited time with you and will probably tell you lots of information in one go. It’s a good idea to write it all down especially if you need to relay it back to your partner or loved ones later. It’s also great to note down questions you may have so when you have the Dr with you you don’t forget anything.
I hope this helps any new Neonatal Mums; if any one has anything I have forgotten or missed then please do leave it in the comments.
More in this series: