Lisa's reflective account of Day 17....

I went across to see Theo early that morning. Phil came over with Jack before school. Jack was tired, thankfully he only had 2 more days left of Junior school and they were on wind down doing fun trips and activities instead of work. I asked the counsellor if she would speak to Jack at some point in the school holidays. I wanted to check that he was coping with everything that was happening. It can’t be easy for an 11 year old to see their baby brother so poorly and move out of the family home. His world had been tipped upside down in an instant. He told us that he was ok but I didn’t know if he was just saying that so as not to worry us. I had spoken to Jack about seeing the counsellor and he was happy to do so. I found it so helpful speaking with her. She really helped me so much, I knew it would be good for Jack too. Phil came to pick me up later that morning and we went to the registry office in Manchester to register Theo’s birth. Usually it would be an amazing family experience, just as it was when Jack was born. This time it was just Phil and I. We couldn’t take our baby with us. It was really strange. I was happy that we were registering him because it felt like he was a real person, like he was part of the world. I was sad that we had to go without him. I even asked the registrar how he knew we’d actually had a baby and that we weren’t just making it up. We took Theo’s birth certificate back to show him and the nurses. I felt so proud of him. He had been unsettled whilst we’d been away. I really hated leaving him so much. Theo’s oxygen was heated and humidified through the ventilator, because the air in the atmosphere was cool it created so much condensation in his tubes that water collected and would drip down his tube, into his lungs. This would mean that he needed more suction to clear the water and sometimes when it was very bad the water would cause his heart rate to drop as well as his saturations and he would need neopuffing to bring him back up again. This happened more when his head was facing the ceiling which it had been quite a lot that day. It was really important to regularly change the position of Theo’s head to stop it from going flat. Because they are lay still for so long flat heads are a problem in Nicu but are mostly avoidable with regular repositioning. It was important for the babies to feel as settled and safe as possible. They tried to mimic the womb environment as much as they could using positional aids and having the blanket over the incubator etc. I hated when Theo was unsettled. Hopefully he would improve. Literally every day was different on NICU, so unpredictable. I very much focused on day to day and didn’t look at all to the future. Who knew what would happen, there were a million different possibilities I could play out in my head. I didn’t have the energy to do that though so I solely focused on what was happening at that time. And how much I loved my little family. 💕

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