16th of June is a day etched in my mind forever. It was the day I would never have to walk out of the doors of SCBU and leave my son behind again. No more all hours phone calls to check how he was doing, holding my breath as I walked through the doors to the nursery room or sitting hearing the monitors beep. The day we could finally be a family, the day we could bring him home.
When you are pregnant you expect that at the end, your life will change as you bring a healthy baby into the world. A beautiful little human who you will love and take care of. For those pregnancies that ends in a NICU or SCBU stay, your life changes from the moment you give birth but not how you imagined it.
I loved J from the moment I found out I was pregnant, but after his birth I had felt like a spare part. The nurses and doctors looking after him and just handing small parts of this over to me. Sitting there all day watching, touching him, doing his cares and feeds, just being with him. My heart breaking into a thousand pieces every night I left the hospital to go home.
Making that first morning call as soon as my eyes opened enough to find my phone had become my routine, but on the 13th of June the call had a twist. I was asked to bring in an overnight bag, because if his weight had increased this time, they wanted me to stay on the unit until next weigh in to see if we could get his feeds going with no NG top up. Telling me that the ‘rooming in‘ wasn’t with the intention of him coming home, so not to look at it that way.
Pulling together some things needed, excited on the concept I might get my first night with my boy, made my way to the hospital . Leaving the bag in the car just incase his weight didn’t increase. I waited for his weighing, holding my breath as they put him on the scales, his weight had increased. Finally I didn’t have to leave him at the end of the day, I could look after him.
This was such a surreal experience, months of being with him but having leave each night , now laid in a bed with his cot by my side. I had to keep pinching myself, was I really alone (albeit in a room in the hospital) with my baby for the first time?
His feeding went well throughout the following day and night, and then it was time for those scales, the results to understand if his feeding was on the right track and no need for the NG tube to be replaced.
I can still remember wheeling his little cot down to the nursery room and crossing everything, hoping he is moving in the right direction and closer to that door to come home. He had put on 55g, which was fantastic, then the Doctors when on their rounds made a statement.
“Tomorrow you can take him home.”
Was I dreaming? Did I hear right and there was a possibility of him coming home? It was subject to a clear final brain scan the following morning, but I was in shock. Taking him back to the room where we were staying, I sat on the bed in silence for a moment taking the news in, ringing Dave to tell him then bursting into tears.
Taking him back to the nursery in the afternoon, so I could get his pram chassis and car seat, fresh clothes for me and his going home outfit, knowing it could well be the last time leaving the unit without him.
The 16th of June came around, taking him back to the nursery for his brain scan and discharge checks then the waiting in the parents room, crossing everything that it all came back normal, it was the longest wait of my life ! Then the news, he could come home !
Dressing him in his little outfit, saying our goodbye to the friends and there babies, friendships that had been forged in that unit, through the heartache and joys keeping each other strong. Dave to arrive by bus so he could travel home with us. I kept hoping this was not a dream.
He was snug in his car seat – that did look a bit gigantic, then that final walk of the corridors of the SCBU unit, my 27 weeker, now weighing 4lb 6oz was finally going home, we were finally going to be a together as family.
Walking out the door together for the first time Dave took a photo, an image that captures such a precious moment . Marking the day J came home.
6 years on, the emotions I felt that day are still so vivid, the day I could finally take my baby home, the day I thought may never come.
You can read the pregnancy journey with J here : Growing Moonbows – J