With my first child I had a long 36 hour labour which ended in an emergency c section, so determined not to have another c section I had opted for a VBAC for my second birth.
Due to Seve being classed as small for gestation (6.8lb and 9th centile) I had to have growth scans everything looked normal until my scan at 35 weeks where the growth had slowed and the blood flow through my placenta was really high. Our obstetrician decided to send me straight for steroid injections and daily monitoring on a CTG until a further Doppler could be done.
At 36 weeks + 4 days I had a follow up Doppler which showed slightly higher blood flow meaning my placenta was failing and the hospital consultant decided I would either have to be induced that evening or a c section first thing the following day , after fighting my heart and my head my head won and I decided to have a planned c section. All went well with the section and out popped this teeny tiny 3.5lb baby girl! I was lucky enough to be able to have a 45min cuddle and then she was whisked away to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) I wasn’t mentally prepared at all as I honestly thought she would weigh more and we would be home the next day.
I didn’t get to hold my little dot again until 8pm that night so nearly 12 hours after her birth and seeing this tiny fragile person with wires coming out of her arms and legs did shock me a little bit I just wanted to give her a big cuddle and make everything ok. Our first skin to skin moment was so very precious which made It really hard to leave to then spend the night on post delivery ward with all the other mums who had their babies. My main focus that first night was to get colostrum so Soraya had the liquid gold.
The next morning I was discharged but had to leave my baby at the hospital and so started the daily visiting I must admit I felt like a real burden having to ask family and friends to help with pick up and drop offs and my mummy guilt was sky high as I was torn between seeing my baby girl and leaving my big boy. The first 5 days in NICU my biggest job was to express so soraya had breast milk through her NGT tube, and the hospital staff were amazing with letting me do her feeds and changing her nappy. My favourite moment was seeing her big brother cuddle her for the first time not so fun having to explain to him that she had to stay at the hospital.
We were moved to SCBU (special care baby unit) and after a few days there reality really hit me I cried all day at every little thing I missed her so much when I was at home and then felt so guilty for not giving Seve the mummy time he needed we was also struggling with breastfeeding (which will be in my next blog post) and without a substantial weight gain she wouldn’t be moved to a normal cot. I felt very helpless and angry, mentally exhausted and physically trying to recover from the c section. I remember crying on my mums shoulder because all I wanted to do was bring her home.
After two and a half weeks in total Soraya had done so well slowly gained weight, moved to a cot, was taking a bottle of expressed milk and we was allowed home with our 3.6lb baby.
The emotional rollercoaster of being a NICU mum is so overwhelming I was very lucky that Soraya was just tiny and we didn’t have to stay in for very long. One day everything can be going your way and you can see the light and the end of the tunnel and then the next day you may have a tiny set back which makes it feel like no end. I made a lovely friend who’s little boy was in the cot next to Soraya he was born at 29 weeks was the same weight as soraya but had to stay in for 6 weeks his mummy in my eyes is a supermum to have to endure that long in NICU.
Nothing can really prepare you for having a baby in NICU especially when your not expecting it. My most thoughtful friends made me dinners and gave me lifts to the hospital which really helped and lifted my spirits.
For any mummy’s living this right now please make sure you take time out for yourself it can be a really tough ride, take each day as it comes and before you know it you will be taking the last walk up the long corridor carrying your little bundle in their car seat.