November is World Prematurity Month. To honour and support the moms of preemies, we are sharing stories of moms who’ve been there and who can offer support from the other side of a long road. This is Sue’s story.
Tell us about the day your baby was born.
My waters broke in the early hours of the morning and I tried to convince myself it was something else. I was only 34 weeks and I’d been unwell through much of the pregnancy, only gaining 7kg. I called the maternity ward to ask their advice and they said to come in as soon as possible. It was scary, there was a lot of panic and I was hooked up to machines for the next 24 hours to try and stop labour and get some steroids into the baby’s lungs. She was also breech so, with the amniotic sac now stuck like clingwrap, there was no chance of her turning and a caesar was inevitable. During the night I started feeling contractions again but a disinterested nurse just turned up my drip dosage and left me. At 4am I felt an overwhelming urge to push and when I called for help there was serious panic – I was 9cm dilated with a prem, breech baby. My gynae made it to the hospital in 10 minutes (my husband almost didn’t make it) and I was rushed in for an emergency caesar and my baby whipped into NICU without hardly even seeing her. It was overwhelming and very scary.
Can you describe some of the emotions you experienced during the early days and weeks with your baby?
It was so tough – she was in an incubator and nil-by-mouth so I couldn’t hold her or feed her. I also had a demanding 2 year old at home, who didn’t understand what was going on. I remember feeling useless in the NICU ward because the nurses were so competent and I couldn’t do anything other than sit by her incubator and pump breastmilk. Everyone around me was so busy and I felt so lost and alone.
Do you have any words of encouragement for a mom who is currently waiting for her baby to come home?
Although it may not seem like it, you are the most important person in your baby’s world. Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you understand what’s going on and never feel like you don’t have a right to be at your baby’s side. Be kind to yourself also – this is a big deal and your emotions will be all over the place so accept it and give yourself space to heal.