While my husband and I knew that, due to a few complications, our baby was going to arrive early, we had no idea how early, and if he would be strong enough to go home or need a bit of a helping hand. Before our son’s arrival, we were shown around Simpson’s Neonatal Unit to help us understand what care a premature baby might require and what we could expect. The team could not have been more kind and supportive, and we left feeling reassured that should our baby need to spend time there, he or she would be in the best possible hands.
The next morning, our son Fredrik was delivered at 33 weeks and 6 days. While Fredrik weighed a relatively robust 5lbs 1oz, he needed help with his breathing and was taken straight to high dependency in the unit on his arrival.
After a while, I don’t seem to have any sense of memory or sense of time, my bed was wheeled to the unit where I saw my son properly for the first time. Although quite a healthy size in comparison to many babies in the nursery, to me Fredrik looked absolutely tiny. He was having trouble breathing, so was hooked up to a CPAP machine.
While there were some setbacks and some moments that we’d both care to forget, after two days, my husband and I held our son for the first time. From that moment on, we read to him throughout the day and held him skin to skin when we could. We dabbed colostrum into his mouth on a cotton bud, and later were able to tube feed him expressed milk. We learned how to change his nappy in an incubator, and the doctors and nurses guided us through every step of his progress.
As he got closer to being discharged, I moved into transitional care. This allowed me to sleep in a family room attached to the unit, with Fredrik in a cot beside me. It meant that I could lean on the nurses for support, ask for help when I needed it and spend some time trusting that my son no longer needed the support of monitors. Even in such a short period of time, I’d gone from being terrified of the bleeping alarm sounds of the unit to being a bit scared of the silence without them.
Not only did the wonderful staff care for Fredrik in the best possible way, they supported me and my husband through each step. Fredrik is now almost one year old and doing brilliantly. We will be forever grateful to the team at Simpsons who took care of us all so wonderfully.
Help support the Simpson's Neonatal Unit at the Royal Hospital Edinburgh.