The Diary of a Premature Baby – Part 6
...continued from The Diary of a Premature Baby - Part 5
Week Five (17th March – 23rd March 2016):
This has been the best week of all. I was on my best behaviour as promised and had my monitor removed – no more silly beeping and no more stressing about keeping my heart rate high. I can be naughty and nobody would know! I love being wire-free. Mummy comes in and spends the whole day as usual, but we are able to go out the back into a quiet room and spend as much time together as we want. I get extra cuddles and Mum gets to look after me by herself mostly. No one even interrupts! It makes me feel more like a normal baby. My favourite part of the day is when Daddy comes after work. I try to stay awake after my breastfeed to say hello, and then I get to fall asleep snuggling him.
I’m part of the ‘feeding farm’ now – this means all I need to do is grow. I spend the night out in the main nursery with all the other bigger babies who don’t need any wires. I don’t get as much sleep because it’s so noisy out there, but I can’t complain because now I’m one of those noisy babies who cry sometimes. But I sure am ready for home. Mum told me that at home I will be sleeping in the dark and it will be quiet, this sounds really nice and I can’t wait to try. I put on 180g this week and now weigh 2180g. I’m getting stronger at feeding from Mummy’s boobies now and I don’t need extra milk afterwards. My tube feeds were increased to 50mls every 3 hours. This is so much milk for my small tummy. I get really full but I try not to let any come back up – I’m getting better at that.
On Wednesday 23rd March, Mummy and Daddy came to the hospital at 730am and we went to the ‘Parenting Unit’ in the hospital where we would spend the day and night together. They were given education and information during the day by the nurse on how to care for a premature baby at home, and discussed what follow-up I needed from here on. Otherwise, it was as though we were at home – they did all of my feeding, caring and gave me my medicine. They decided whether I had a breast or tube feed depending on how awake I was. I turned 5 weeks old that day, and it was the best present ever. Overnight, Mummy & Daddy slept in a big bed while I was next to them in my cot. Mummy gave me two breast feeds overnight but otherwise I was too tired and needed tube feeds. They said they didn’t sleep much because I was so noisy and squirmy, and they kept checking that I was breathing! I didn’t mean to be restless but it was very different being in such a quiet, dark room. Overall, they didn’t drop me on my head, so it was a good start!
Home time! (24th March 2016):
The next day was one I had been waiting for since I made my early arrival to the outside. After 36 days in hospital, it was finally time for Mummy and Daddy to take me home. In the morning, Dr Rad and the nurse came to check how we all went overnight. They weighed me and measured me one last time. I weighed 2230g (↑690g), was 45cm long (↑4.3cm) and my head circumference was 31cm (↑5.5cm). I had grown so much since that first day. Our beautiful nurse Heather said I was one of the most flourishing premature babies she had seen through the unit in a long time – I didn’t take any backward steps and was developing and feeding so well. I know I am one of the lucky ones.
I still had my feeding tube in, but they replaced it with a long-term one that would be more suitable at home (those silly buggers are trying to stop me from pulling it out!) I am being fed 7-8 times a day, and over the past 24 hours managed 4 breast feeds and 3-4 tube feeds. Mummy and Daddy put me in my going home outfit and buckled me into my capsule for the car. It is so big and I feel teeny tiny in there. Auntie Emma & Uncle Damon came and visited and were there when we left – it makes me happy to have them by my side. Everyone took lots of photos and got very emotional. Mummy said goodbye to her favourite nurses and gave them lots of cuddles from us all. They are my friends and the nicest people I have ever met. As much as I don’t want to leave them, I know I will come back and visit. Dr Rad is the best ever – he has believed in me completely from the start and it makes me feel really special. I feel sincerely blessed to have spent time with these angels, and I will never forget them.
I’m both scared and excited for my next adventure. I know there will be times when it is sad and tough. I know I’ve still got a lot of catching up to do, and many milestones to achieve. I know it will be tiring and I will feel like giving up. In fact, the next few weeks are probably going to be my bumpiest yet – the journey has really only just begun. But I’m going to try my hardest. I will be strong and resilient for Mummy and Daddy. I will have hope, determination and courage in everything that I do. I will value and appreciate this experience and the obstacles I have overcome. And above all, I will forever remember where I came from.