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 phone calls at all hours of the night to check how he was doing, no longer having to holding my breath as I walked through the doors to the nursery room or sitting hearing the monitors beep. The day had come that we could finally be a family together, 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 were looking after him and only handing small parts of his care over to me. Sitting there all day watching him, doing his cares and feeds and just being there with him. My heart broke into a thousand pieces every night I left the hospital to go home.
Each time I woke, reaching straight for my phone to call to check how he is doing had become my routine, but on the 13th of June the call had a twist. After getting the update I was asked to bring in an overnight bag. I was told if his weight had increased this time, they wanted me to stay on the unit to see if we could get his feeds going with an aim of removing his NG tube. I was advised that this ‘rooming in‘ wasn’t with the intention of him coming home, so not to think he was coming home.
I don’t think I have ever got out of bed so quick, excited on the concept I might get my first night with my boy. When I arrived at the hospital I left the bag in the car just in case his weight number didn’t go in our favour. The anticipation I felt as they put him on the scales was intense, a feeling I don’t think I will ever forget. Those numbers were in our favour, they went up. Finally I didn’t have to leave him at the end of the day, I could stay with him through the night.
It was such a surreal experience, months of spending the days with him but having leave each night, then suddenly laid in a bed with his cot by my side. I had to keep pinching myself, questioning if it was a dream or 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 the test came to see how he was doing with feeding. Did those magic scale numbers go up without any NG top ups or would they have to replace the tube?
I can still remember wheeling his little cot down to the nursery room and crossing everything, hoping he was moving in the right direction and closer to that door to come home. The results were in, he had gained 55 grams ! I was so happy, then when on ward rounds the doctors made a statement that I was not expecting.
“Tomorrow you can take him home.”
Did I miss hear? Where they talking about another child? They had to do a brain scan the next day to check if there was any bleeds, and if it was clear we were going home ! Taking him back to the room where we were staying, I was in shock. I sat on the bed in silence for a moment to catch my thoughts then rang Dave to tell him the news.
In the view he probably be going home the following day, I wheeled his cot back to the nursery, and went to collect the car seat and pram, so if they said we could go, I would be ready.
Another night of me and him, the morning came around quite slowly,then it was time to take him back to the nursery for his brain scan and discharge checks. Waiting in the parents room for the results felt like it every minute was an hour! Then the news came… We could bring him home!
Dressing him in his little going home outfit and saying our goodbye to the parents I had became friends with, friendships that had been forged
in that unit, through the heartache and joys, keeping each other strong. Dave took the bus into the hospital so we could travel home together.
He was snug in his car seat – that did look a bit gigantic, they checked to make sure, then that final walk down the corridor 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 of the hospital entrance doors together for the first time, finally made it feel real. 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, a day etched in my mind forever. The day I could finally take my baby home, a day I thought may never come.
You can read the pregnancy journey with J here : Growing Moonbows – J