Preemie Wonders by Jessica Farrelly
Everyone talks about being as prepared as you possibly can be to give birth and for me I thought I had all the time in the world to do this. However, the universe had other plans. It all began rather unexpectedly on a early Thursday morning (a month before my expected due date). One moment I was getting ready for work in my bathroom and the next minute my waters broke and I was at the hospital before I had a chance to blink. At 9:32 pm that evening I gave birth to my son Lincoln.
Lincoln had decided he was ready to join the world rather early, and as a result spent the beginning of his life in the hospitals ‘ The Special Care Nursery’. Lincoln was being constantly monitored and had a nasogastric tube in for feeding. I never imagined I would give birth to a premature baby and this bought with it a great deal of anxiety and numerous challenges, particularly with feeding and bonding. I had always imagined that I would give birth to a full term baby, who would be strong, fully breastfed and hopefully have nil complications. My reality was now anything but that.
As Lincoln was so tiny and could barely fit into his own skin, he was quite weak and did not have a strong sucking reflex which, resulted in me being unable to breast feed him. Watching my precious newborn son being tube fed was the hardest thing I have ever experienced. Desperately wanting nothing more then to hold my precious baby close to me, breastfeed and create our special bond, it felt like it was never going to happen. Only being allowed to hold him for a short amount of time each day was emotionally tormenting and I cherished every precious moment we had together.
The biggest hurdle to overcome for me in all of this, was not having any control in what was occurring before my very eyes. As a nurse myself, the entire situation made me feel very uneasy and this begun to slowly consume me on a mental and emotional level. It felt like I was watching a horror movie, except now I was in it. I really had to focus on letting go as I had no control in anyway, embrace the chaos and try to be completely present in my unique situation. Once I was able to do this, I found myself much more at ease with every aspect of Lincoln’s care and the current state of my life.
Being in complete awe of this precious little human I had grown inside my body for the past nine months, it was devastating to see him have such a rocky start to life. However, deep down I knew in good time, he would get stronger and be allowed to come home with my husband and I.
Like most women when they are pregnant, the thought of having a premie baby never even enters your mind until it happens to you and it can be very confronting. My journey after giving birth to Lincoln was completely imperfect, unexpected and it shattered every perceived perception I had about becoming a mama and what that was meant to look and feel like. All I now know, was that my normal may be different compared to others, and that was perfectly ok.
I’m happy to say that Lincoln’s sucking reflex improved over the course of a few weeks in the special care nursery, he gained a great amount of weight and was allowed to come home with us. After two and a half months at home Lincoln eventually grew into his skin, became a fully breast fed baby and is enjoying his new found strength.
Premie babies are a true wonder.
I’m 29 years old, currently living in Sydney but originally from the Gold Coast and a proud Mama to my precious little Lincoln. I’m a Registered Nurse, Childhood Nurse Immunizer Public Health Advocate and self confessed Foodie. You will often find me listening to my Zen Relaxation Music, chilling out watching a Netflix TV Series or going for walks along the beach, enjoying the sunshine and crisp salt air.