I had my delivery much sooner than my expected delivery date; it was something I never thought could happen and it took a while to assimilate the fact. Child birth was not an occasion of celebration as it usually is with those who have healthy babies born full term.
All mothers of premature babies needing NICU care go through emotional mayhem and they need support from caregivers and family to grapple with this unanticipated situation.
All the mothers are worried about the health of their tiny baby in the NICU, many mothers feel lost and do not know what to expect, some may be in a state of shock and some feel terribly guilty. A mother may be going through some or all of these emotions at the same time.
I delivered unexpectedly at 30 weeks of pregnancy. While I was recovering from the effect of sedation, my new born daughter who had respiratory distress was shifted to another hospital to be provided better neonatal care. So I did not get to hold, cuddle or nurse my baby! For the first two days post delivery, the feeling of having a baby could not sink in as there had been no physical contact between us. The third day onwards, there I was at the hospital spending endless hours moving in and out of the NICU from morning to late evening. A woman who had just delivered did not care much about taking rest or having a hot meal as she needed to be near her baby even though not directly caring for her.
The support did not really come from people from whom I was expecting the most. I was on an emotional roller coaster for those 21 days that my daughter spent in the NICU. Each day I derived my dose of strength from the tiny fighters in the NICU who would exhibit their zeal for life despite all odds.
Every morning started with enquiring about her weight gain. I would be optimistic on the day she gained a few grams and gloomy on another day when she lost a few. There was hardly any milk supply probably due to lack of natural reflex. I would close my eyes, feel my baby on my chest and then express milk. I am still deeply moved when I think of those moments!
I was advised by doctor to room in with my baby for a day before discharge. For the first time I spent a sleepless night giving feeds and changing diaper. She was so fragile that I thought I would hurt her. The incident that took place the next day is etched in my mind forever: With tears eyes, I told a NICU nurse that I don’t think that I will be able to take good care of my baby, please let her be here for a few more days. She looked at me for a few seconds and said that ten of us together cannot do what you alone can do, you are a mother!
I realized that God blesses a mother with natural instincts that enable her to provide unrelenting care to her child.
I wish you all a joyful motherhood!
Also read more about: What can cause a preterm delivery?
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