Life of a Prem Baby Blog

Back to the past – Second week of Jensons life

Posted on: 24/01/2011

Before I knew it a week had passed since giving birth to Jenson, I felt it was a momentous occasion. My little boy had defied all odds and had survived his first week in this world, thanks to the help of the nurses and doctors who were looking after him.

Me and my husband were still trying to come to terms with the fact that we were now parents, for me especially it felt very surreal, all I kept thinking was “Im still meant to be pregnant!”. That first week the thoughts going through my head were not good.

I felt like I hadnt done my job properly, I was angry that my body had let me down, why couldnt I cope properly while pregnant, because of me my son was now fighting to stay alive, if I had just managed to keep him in he wouldnt be fighting now! Although it was a happy time I also felt pretty low. You cant help but blame yourself for what has happened, I felt like I hadnt done my job properly, that I was a failure.

And there was no reason for me going into labour early! The doctors didnt know why it had happened, I didnt know why it had happened! It was a complete mystery. This I think made me feel worse as I couldnt find an answer as to why Id gone into labour early, at least if there had been a cause for it then my mind would have been more at rest.

The thoughts I was having I had to just lock them away in a part of my brain, as it would not do any good for me to be down, I had to be strong for Jensons sake.

So this second week would be a big deal, as my husband was back at work and it would only be me going in to see Jenson during the day. I wouldnt have him there to ask questions and help with Cares, I guess that second week heralded the start of me being a proper mum, of having to do everything on my own in readiness for when Jenson eventually came home.

The agreed schedule was for me to go in to the hospital at 10:00am and 2:00pm with my husband going in for the evening shift at 6:00pm. The nurses would then do cares from 10:00pm and through the night.

That Monday I remember walking up the stairs to Neonatal by myself and saying to myself “Stop worrying Emma, everything will be fine, you can do this!”. Still I couldnt help my nerves from getting the best of me as I walked through the doors of Neonatal. By now the majority of the nurses were starting to recognise me, and as was normal routine they would update me on Jensons progress in the night, which by now was always good news. Jenson seemed to be carrying on fighting and was getting stronger by the day.

Already the amount of food he was taking at each feed had doubled since he had been born. The amount of milk that was being given to Jenson at each feed was determined by his weight, so for every little bit of weight Jenson put one the nurses would add an extra ml to the volume. The nurses explained to me that the reason for upping the milk so often was so that Jensons stomach would then expand gradually, so as Jensons stomach expanded the more milk he could drink and so in turn the more weight he would put on. So when Jenson was born he started on 15ml milk feeds and by the time he was into his second week he had already doubled this amount. At first when the volume was increased because it was more than what he was used to he would then bring some of it back up, but over the next few feeds during the day his stomach would get used to the new volume and Jenson would then keep more milk down. One of the issues Jenson had with the feeding tube through his nose was that he didnt like it much! Within the first week he had already gone through 3 feeding tubes, everytime he pulled it out I felt bad for him because having a new one put in wasnt pleasant for him. The first time the nurse had to put a new feeding tube in I asked if I could leave the room while they done it, it might sound strange to some of my readers, but I just couldnt deal with seeing Jenson in pain at that time, it would just break my heart. Over the next few days though I did manage to stay in the room with him which made me feel less guilty.

That second week the nurses talked about when we might be able to start bottle feeding Jenson, I was told that babies dont normally develop the “sucking reflex” until 34 weeks, and at the beginning of the second week they told me they didnt expect to try Jenson on bottles until he reached the 34 week mark. This news disappointed me slightly, waiting till Jenson was 34 weeks meant he would be in hospital longer, as the nurses had to make sure that he could finish a bottle for a few days before they would even consider him coming home.

That first day of the second week on my own with Jenson wasnt as bad as I anticipated. Cares took me less than 30mins now and I was gaining confidence in doing the basic things like changing Jensons nappy and cleaning his face and mouth. The only thing I wasnt too keen on was that because Jenson suffered really bad nappy rash, I mean it was red raw, of course when I changed him he really screamed and all I wanted to do was pick him up and cuddle him to reassure him that it would get better, which wouldnt have been an easy task due to all the wires that were connected to him!

Of course there were a few things I forgot to do that day, one of the pieces of equipment that was linked up to Jenson was one that monitored his breathing and had to be turned off whenever Jenson was lifted from his cot, if left on it made a REALLY loud beeping noise. And of course on that Monday I completely forgot about that one! The nurses came rushing in because of the beeping and all I could do was apologise profusely Id forgotten to turn it off! This was something that later on in Jensons stay would became quite a regularly thing for me and some of the other mums and dads that were there!

On that Monday Id also brought in some of our clothes for Jenson, the majority of which had been brought as presents from friends and families, this was something I was extremely grateful for. All the clothes that we had brought before Jensons arrival were all far too big! And thankfully the presents we had received from friends and family were premature clothes. Its not until you have a premature baby that you realise just how difficult it is to find clothes to fit your baby, the high street shops have very limited supplies or have none at all and of course with all my time being spent at the hospital I didnt have the time to look on the internet for clothes.

Even thought the staff on the NNU had said not to worry about clothes for Jenson as they had plenty on the ward, I still felt like I should use our own clothes for Jenson. Jenson was my little boy and I wanted him in clothes that had been brought for him, it just felt better. Dont get me wrong Im not a snob and if we hadnt had any other clothes for him then I would have carried on using the NNU clothes but with the borrowed clothes Jenson just didnt feel like my son, I felt like I needed to provide for Jenson and having him in clothes that we had brought in for him felt better.

So with Jenson all clean and in fresh clothes I finally sat down with him in my arms, just me and him. I felt so proud of Jenson and promised him that I would make sure Id be the best mummy in the world and take care of him for as long as he would let me. Swaddled up in blankets and with about 3 layers of clothing on he looked so fragile and breakable, at that moment I was just so very grateful for our lucky I was.

I was sat like that for over an hour, just staring at Jenson. The time went by so fast and before I knew it I had to leave, so with a great reluctance I placed Jenson back in his cot, made sure he was wrapped up and then stood there for another ten minutes saying goodbye! Without my husband there it was much harder to leave Jensons side, I just couldnt help thinking “one more minute wont hurt”. I had to remind myself that I would be back at NNU in two hours and would see Jenson again then!

I think the hardest thing about Jensons stay in hospital was that every time I visited him I knew that at some point I would have to leave. Having the willpower to walk away from him, even if it was only for a few hours, is one of the hardest things Ive had to do. Every time you walk away you wonder if your baby will still be okay the next time you are by their cot side.

To be continued….


3 Responses to "Back to the past – Second week of Jensons life"

Oh Emma… what a lovely post!
I remember so well that feeling of guilt… of not understanding why I had gone into labour so early, why there is no apparent reason.
But it seems you have done a brilliant work!


Thank you so much Eva, Im so glad that I am not the only mum that felt that way, it is certainly a tough time for anyone who has experienced a premature birth x

[…] not talking sales figures…) or Life of a Prem Baby Blog’s reflections on her second week with her gorgeous premature baby – I’m sure any parent will empathise with the anxiety and guilt so often associated […]

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