All is on track for that planned (due to pregnancy previa) c-section when suddenly, just before dinner, at a friend's house no less, you go into labour. Not only is your evening cut short but so is your life. Your transported to the hospital where after a steroid injection and 18 hours of labour your find yourself having that c-section 3 weeks earlier than the planned 37 weeks. Because your baby was born at 34 weeks, they are now in the nursery (nicu) for the foreseeable future. Monday you were at work, Thursday you are visiting your baby in the nursery. The speed at which it all happens takes you by surprise and it's no wonder you're in a little bit of shock.
Then the unthinkable happens. You are 'better' and ready to leave hospital but your new baby has to stay. Stay there without you. It's torture.
Here are a few tips to help you through those shaky days:
1. Pack a day bag
Include snacks (wagon wheels are a good idea), a water bottle, a device to watch your own tv shows on or listen to podcasts, your favourite hand cream, a jumper/cardigan (it might be 35 outside but it is always freezing in the nursery)
2. Bring a few of your own 00000 clothes your baby
The hospital will provide clothes but it is nice to have a few of your own. You'll need the smallest of the small. Best & Less, Pure Baby and Target all sometimes have 00000 clothes. Zelda was in hers for a month or more so it was totally worth the purchase. She was three months old before the Bonds newborn clothes fit. You can donate any newborn clothes back to the Nursery.
3. Pumping in public
Bet you never thought you'd have to hear those words but yes. You'll need to pump in the special care nursery! There is no seperate space where you can go to pump. They have some privacy screens but they only really shield you from one side. Yes, the staff are professionals but it's still something to get used to. Muslin wraps work well as privacy screens while pumping.
4. It's ok to cry (and cry and cry again)
5. Listen then ignore advice
Every nurse will have a different opinion about what is happening and what you are doing. One midwife will tell you to feed one way then another will tell you the complete opposite. Do what you feel is right and wait until the baby has been weighed before changing up your system. One midwife told me I was tiring Zelda by boob then bottle then tube feeding. Number 4 happened, I felt guilty and horrible and then boom the next day she weighed in above her birth weight and we were home the following day. If I hadn't been trying the bottle as well we never would have come home. So go with your gut & ignore any advice that doesn't sit right with you, because there'll always be one nurse that agrees with you!
Stay strong, get girlfriends to pop by for morning tea and you'll make it through, one long weepy day at a time.