The Diary of a Premature Baby – Part 1
Many stories have already been written and shared describing parents’ personal experiences of their time spent with their premature baby(s) in NICU and Special Care Nurseries. Instead, I thought I’d share our journey from a different perspective. The next few blogs will follow James on his journey from hospital to home – he’s a bit of a crack up!
But first, I really want to share a link to a remarkable blog which I feel I could have written myself – no truer words were ever spoken. So much love to my NICU and SCBU family at the W&CH ♥ and hats off to Simone for capturing the beliefs of every person who has ever been to the most amazing place in Adelaide.
Now sit down and read James’ diary which gives some insight into this scary but real part of our world…
Day Zero (17th February 2016):
I am no longer inside Mummy’s tummy. I’m on the ‘outside’, in a clear plastic box which is warm but bright. I’m in a place they call NICU1. I am only wearing a nappy and strange felt glasses to protect my eyes from the light. I have cords and drips attached all over, and this big weird machine thing blowing up my nose to help me breathe. I also have a small tube up my nose which tickles my throat. I’m so tired and can’t find the energy to even open my eyes or move. It’s not how I imagined the outside, but I think this box must be my new home for a while. Apparently me coming early means I can’t go home with Mum and Dad as planned – why didn’t they tell me this before?
Only minutes earlier when I left Mummy’s warm cocoon, I had all these people who I didn’t even recognise poking and prodding me. They were saying all these things I didn’t understand. They are calling me James now; I like this name. I was crying so loud but Mummy and Daddy weren’t there – I know because I know their voices. These people were different, and yes they were hurting me, but they were also gentle and made me feel safe. I’m going to call them strangers until I figure out what they want.
Those first few hours are a bit of a blur for me. I didn’t know what was happening and it made me feel scared. Thankfully the strangers kept talking to me so I didn’t feel so alone. But the best part of that first day on the outside was something I’ll never forget – I got to meet Mummy and Daddy. A few hours after I was born, they wheeled Mummy past my new home and Daddy was with her. Apparently Daddy was also there earlier when the hurting was happening, but he didn’t like it very much and couldn’t stay long – I understand and don’t blame him at all. I got to hear Mummy and Daddy speak, and they even got to touch me. It was the best feeling in the whole wide world, and now I know everything is going to be ok.
Day One (18th February 2016):
Today I’m still in my plastic box but in a new room which they call NICU2. I think that’s a good thing. I still have all these things connected to me and I’m learning what they are. I have two lines in my veins – these are giving me all sorts of medicines like antibiotics, platelet transfusions and dextrose. I also have a needle in my artery which monitors my blood pressure and they use it to do blood tests. The bright light above my home is called phototherapy and helps make my skin less yellow. There’s dots on my chest which display my heart and breathing rate on a screen. The small tube in my nose goes right down into my tummy and that’s how they give me food. Get this…I got the first of Mum’s breastmilk through this tube today – wow that tastes good and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside! That’s all I really understand right now, but such a lot to learn in one day!
One of the strangers from yesterday is here and I really like her, I’m calling her Bell*. She is a nurse, and I think she’s an angel. She talks to me and is so kind and gentle. Today was even better than yesterday because Mummy and Daddy were here all day long. They learnt how to do my ‘cares’ which means changing my nappy, checking my temperature and changing the observation probe on my feet. They keep putting this rubber thing in my mouth which I know isn’t a nipple (tricksters), but I like to suck it anyway. It makes me feel settled. And then something magical happened – I got to have cuddles on Mummy’s chest. She was so snuggly and it made me happy. A lovely man who said he was a doctor (I’ll call him Dr Rad) came and spoke lots of big words to Mum & Dad, and then they removed the big thing from my nose and put a small oxygen tube there instead. After this I had cuddles on Dad’s chest – he is hairy but oh so warm and comfy. I feel like the luckiest boy in the nursery.
Day Two (19th February 2016):
I’m still in NICU2, it’s quieter in here but there’s lots of beeping. Mum smelt different today and said she finally had a shower – thank goodness! Poor Daddy has to go home overnight but he comes down heaps early and spends the whole day here too. Lots happened today and they say I am doing really well considering I was a naughty boy and came before I was meant to! I had my oxygen removed – this feels so much nicer but that silly tickle tube is still there. I had the needle removed from my artery and one of the lines in my vein was also taken out. I’m getting more of Mumma’s milk which makes me feel full and sleepy. Apparently this next one is big news guys – today I did my first poo! Everyone got so excited which I thought was a bit weird. Nurse Bell let me have more cuddles with Mummy and Daddy, this is why I love her! (Plus I get to have my glasses off when I’m outside of my box).
Later that day, my home got moved into another room that they call SCBU1. I heard them saying this is another step in the right direction and I’m ‘kicking goals’ (I’m not sure what this means yet). It made me a bit sad because my angel nurse didn’t come with me, but thankfully Mummy & Daddy did – they follow me everywhere. I have had lots of other visitors over the past couple of days who are called my family and friends. It feels so nice that all these people love me. At the moment I’m focused on sleeping so I can grow big and strong and ‘kick goals’ – did I use this right?!