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Top Survival Tips For Parents With Babies In The NICU

Having a premature baby is one of the scariest things I have ever experienced, and our journey to pregnancy was far from easy. After three IVF treatments and almost five years, Olivia was finally pregnant. To make things even better we were having twins.

That summer was amazing. The hard times were behind us and the next chapter of our life was beginning. There were a few minor complications during pregnancy, but thankfully nothing too serious. That was until week 30 of the pregnancy.

Two and half months before they were supposed to be born, Max and Mathilda decided it was time to join us in the World. At least they didn't inherit their mother's propensity for being late.

When a baby is born at 30 weeks there can be a lot of complications: Olivia was robbed of two and a half months of her pregnancy. We thought that we would lose one or both or the babies that we had fought so hard for.

Olivia had to give birth by an emergency C-section. It all happened so quickly that I missed the birth. When I arrived at the hospital she was already in theatre. I waited another 30 minutes as she gave birth. The wait was the most nerve wrecking time of my life.

Read Next: Mom Of Preemies Shares Her Amazing Insights

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I was called into another room to see the babies: They had survived. Mathilda was doing well, but Max was struggling. He needed a breathing apparatus as his lungs were underdeveloped. The next day his lung collapsed and he needed an operation.

That moment was the hardest of my life. An operation on a baby born at 30 weeks is very serious. We feared we would lose him. After the operation, I sat by his side and held his hand. It was at that moment that I decided to start writing a blog.

Read Next: How Much Do We Know About Premature Births?

We spent six tough weeks in hospital. The staff at the NICU went above and beyond to save their lives. When it was time to leave they were both strong and healthy. That thought was unfathomable when they were born.

To see them now, you would not believe that they were preemies. It is a miracle that they have no lasting side effects from being born so early. We learned a lot while our twins were in NICU and here are some tips for surviving NICU.

5 Tips For Parents With Preemies In The NICU

1. Trust the doctors and nurses
The staff in NICU are real-life superheroes. They have one of the most important and stressful jobs on the planet. Listen to them closely, your child's life is in their hands.

2. Get a sick note
Trying to work while your baby is in NICU is not healthy for you or your baby. If you can, get a sick note and take the time off work. Your child may never need you more than at this point.

3. Kangaroo
Kangaroo Care is where your baby lies in foetal position, skin to skin, on your chest. This simple act has a tremendous impact on your child's health. You can read more about Kangaroo Care here.

4. Spend as much time as possible in the hospital
If you do manage to get time off work, then spend as much of it as possible in the hospital. We spent eight to 12 hours there every day. The more time you are there, the more you can bond with your child. This bonding will really help their development.

5. Try not to worry
This is easier said than done. When your baby is in NICU you are living in constant worry. You need to consciously make an effort to not stress out too much. Your baby is in the best hands. NICU are amazing places. Our babies were born at 30 weeks and you would never know that they were preemies.

To find out more about how to cope when your baby is in NICU, and to read more about James and Olivia’s incredible journey; head to his blog: scantilydad.com


About the Author

James was born and bred in Dublin, but now lives in Berlin with his wife Olivia. His blog www.scantilydad.com explores the journey from infertility to parenthood, while entertaining parents with funny stories and useful tips learnt along the way.

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