I thought I would follow on from where I left off and tell you about the days that followed giving birth to E.
Before I begin I want to make it clear that I know how lucky I was she was only in there for 3 days. And I know some people have babies that are in there much longer. This is simply our story – The story of me and E.
I found E being in NICU one of the hardest things ever. Despite the fact we knew it was likely pre birth, everyone had always been so optimistic that she would be ok so I didn’t really think it would happen. I must have been blocking it out. They had offered us a tour of the SCBU – Special care baby unit when I was pregnant but for some reason, we didn’t do it.
Not having your baby with you is hard and weird. I stayed in hospital the first night but was sent home the second. E came home on fourth night and I spent the third night back with her in a transit ward.
Going home on night 2 was odd. There was a bed shortage, they offered to find me another bed but if I am honest, I couldn’t bare another night alone hearing the babies crying. Some people judge me for going home but I did what I thought was best. As we headed home I prayed especially as we drove down our street, that no one would see us or want to talk to me. As we walked through the door we stepped over congratulations cards and I walked into a room of balloons and gifts that had been sent. So so lovely but we had no baby with us so weird too.
We just kind of sat there, I was really sore so I had a bath. Just after I got my pjs on I had this overwhelming pang of guilt. My baby was 15 miles away and I wasn’t there, I was sat on a sofa waiting for a take away. I phoned the ward and they calmed me down – explained she was fine and told me to rest.
We weren’t supposed to go back until 11:30am the next day so the Drs could do their rounds. There are some very poorly babies in these places all in the same room and some very upsetting conversations have to happen so they ask parents not to be there (so you don’t over hear sensitive information about other peoples babies – of course the Drs keep you extremely informed about your own baby). I couldn’t be at home so we set off at 9am and just left when the Drs came into the room.
Two very weird encounters happened –
1) Our neighbour popped out to see the baby and congratulate us. Hubs politely said ‘she’s in scbu mate, we are just on our way to see her’ and that poor man looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him whole.
2) Someone hubs work with saw us in scbu and said kindly and softly said ‘alright what you doing here’ He obviously knew what we were doing – the same thing he was. It was the first time I realised that for everyone on that ward, this was normal.
I spent all of the second day with E. I was allowed to hold her for the first time and I didn’t want to let her go. I wasn’t frightened anymore and when the Drs told me how well she was doing I was thrilled.
Some good friends came that evening to visit us and I will owe them forever more for making it feel normal. They bought gifts and kind words, they chatted about E and made the whole situation ok. It was when they were there that we found out I was allowed to stay that night and take care of E myself.
That was a long night – it’s not like taking your baby home and just looking after them. You have to do things on a schedule, measure milk to the ml, record down what they do and it really does feel so surreal. Like you have your baby but she’s still not quite yours yet.
The next day we were lucky enough to be allowed to take E home. She had a very low birth weight and struggled to keep warm and have good blood sugar levels at first but after a few food milk feeds she was ok.
Taking her home was amazing. And a little bit scary – having the nurses there the night before, although weird, was very comforting. For example at one point I couldn’t get E to stop crying and they came and took her away so I could get an hours sleep. No kind nurses at home.
So that is experience of 3 days in scbu. Of having a baby but not having her with you. It’ll be forever a memory of happiness and sadness for me – I didn’t change her first nappy, give her her first cuddle, I didn’t give her her first bottle and I wasn’t the first to hold her when she cried.
But I am happy because it was only three days and I got to take my baby home, some people aren’t that lucky.
I really hope I handled explaining that as gently as I could do and I want to reiterate that I know how lucky I am the transition through SCBU for E for a quick and simple one. And as I said that very start, I just wanted to tell our story.
Take care xx