My start to motherhood as a premmie mumCaroline Fenton
My start to motherhood as a premmie mum…
I always thought that if a baby was born before her due date that once she reached 40 weeks she’d be fine, all sorted, caught up, fully cooked! Maybe spend a bit of time in one of those lovely cosy incubators, just to stay warm. Hmmmm, I was so wrong. This is SO NOT the case!
I presume I’m not the only one out there who was this naïve, who really had no clue, and who, with their own premmie bub, was oblivious to all that was about to unfold. I kind of hope I’m not on my own anyway, it all came as kind of a shock to me, but as usual, just took it all in my stride. So in the interest of honesty and sharing, and possibly helping out another mumma… here’s a little bit about our premmie journey and Alfie’s start to life.
Alfie was born at 30+6 weeks. Just over 9 weeks early. I know, it seems strange that this is so precise but yes this number is important (that +6 is always there, added on, and never just left at a flat three zero). Every day he was inside was a day more of cooking, being just where nature said he should be, and hanging on in there (more on that story another day!).
…He didn’t come out screaming. There was no cry…
He didn’t come out screaming. There was no cry. There was also no cuddle, no moment of nuzzling for milk. He was tiny, purple and silent. They held him up, cut the cord, asked daddy to reveal the sex… ‘errrm it’s a boy!?’ he answered, wondering whether he was looking at the right part!!
There was a whole herd of doctor’s present. My new baby was whisked straight away to an incubator (strategically positioned just behind me, and out of my eye line) and swiftly ‘bagged’ as they call it. Yep, he was chucked into a plastic bag. Luckily I was oblivious to this, but hubby witnessed it all. We later learnt this was to resuscitate him, and pump him full of oxygen.
…too busy wondering what was about to happen, and too scared to even name him…
He was wrapped up, we had a brief peek (though I could barely even see his face from the angle the doctor was holding him over me). They asked if we had a name for him… we looked at each other and said ‘Alfred… we think! Yes, Alfred’. To be honest I was too busy wondering what was about to happen, and too scared to even name him, having no idea what the future was going to hold. Then he was gone! They’d suggested that hubby goes too… so that was it… both my boys gone!
My start to motherhood as a premmie mum
Alfred was born at 11.29am and I didn’t get to see him until around 6pm that evening. Hubby (Ben) had been down earlier but only lasted a matter of seconds… the number of doctors, wires, beeping, poking and prodding, was just a bit too much. Not something you really want to see happening to your tiny, vulnerable, precious new little one. Ben wheeled me down… it was good to be together… we applied hand sanitiser at every opportunity (about four times!). Then I saw my little boy properly for the first time… his eyes closed, snuggled on his side, supported by a little make shift ‘nest’, in his warm cosy incubator, yellow beanie on his head (Ben said he’d had a pink one on at the start as that was the only one they could find to fit his tiny head!).
His nappy was folded over a couple of times to make it fit, and not even fastened at the sides. He was wired up beyond belief… ventilator in his mouth, IV drip into his belly button, monitoring all over the place (one attached by a sticky gold duckie, which I will always remember making me slightly smile), name band on his wrist and ankle, tape on his face.
The beginning of the journey
We sat for a while, tried to make sense of all the numbers, all the beeps. We weren’t allowed cuddles. But we were allowed to briefly touch him. Just no stroking. ‘Just lay a flat hand gently on him’ the nurse said, ‘otherwise the stimulation will just be too much for him’. That made me sad. It was a moment of realisation that thing weren’t as they should be. This was just the start. He wasn’t as a newborn baby should be, or what a newborn baby should look like, but he did look like an ‘Alfie’. And so it stuck, Alfred became Alfie… and his journey had only just begun.
Join The Avidiva Family