Jack and I stayed at Ronald McDonald house that morning whilst Phil went over to spend some time with Theo. It was really important that Phil spent time with him and I was very much aware of that but it was so difficult for me not to go over because I really wanted to so badly! I couldn’t bear not being with Theo.
I was doing well expressing milk, getting about 10-15 mls every 3 hours or so, Theo was only having a couple of mls per hour so we were building a good supply. Jack played on his playstation, we had breakfast together and played in the games room which was nice.
We went over to NICU just before lunch, it was the longest time I’d spent away from Theo since he was born and I couldn’t wait to see him a minute longer. I had never suffered with anxiety before but I really felt anxious being away from him.
If your child is admitted to a paediatric ward then you are able to stay with them overnight, but if your baby is admitted to NICU then you can’t stay with them and it is expected that you leave them. This completely goes against your natural motherly instinct.
Jack was born a full term and was a healthy baby, but he didn’t even stay out overnight anywhere without us until he was 2 years old! Theo was really poorly and needed me more than ever and I had to leave him!!
How should I be expected to be ok with leaving him?? It was devastating, I felt like I was being selfish sometimes because I wanted to spend all of my time with him but I couldn’t and it was so difficult. It’s not normal and is very distressing to leave your baby, especially one so poorly and vulnerable.
I was really stressed when I got to NICU because I felt like I didn’t know what was happening with Theo. Phil had spent some really good quality time with him though that morning and it was just what he needed. He was getting really confident washing him and changing him etc. I was really proud of him. He’s such an amazing Dad.
Even being a nurse, I was really worried about handling Theo because I didn’t want to hurt him. He had minimal handling anyway because he was so tiny; he desaturated a lot when he was moved and needed extra oxygen so was having his nappy changed about 6-8 hourly. He needed to conserve all his energy for growing. It’s a natural motherly instinct to protect your baby and because I knew that it wasn’t nice for him being messed with, I was really wary and scared of causing him discomfort changing his nappy etc.
Phil took Jack out for a boys afternoon to give him a break from the hospital. Although Jack loved seeing Theo and was really good with him, it was a very scary environment. The room that we were in had the most poorly babies. I got to spend the afternoon with Theo. His gases were a bit all over the place, he also had a bit of a temperature and metabolic acidosis so they started antibiotics and screened him for infection. He also needed a bicarb correction.
We really had to put so much trust into the Doctors to make the right decisions with Theo. His life was literally in their hands.
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