What should I expect with a prem baby?

(13 Posts)
AlmondFrangipani Wed 13-Mar-13 20:54:08

Hi everyone,

I have just had my 19 week scan and I am under consultant scan for an underlying kidney condition. I have been told today that I am very likely to have a c-section 32-34 weeks due to the risk to my kidney function. I knew I would be early but this is a bit of a shock and I am trying to get my head around it.

I just wondered what I should expect. How long do the babies stay in special care for? Do you stay? How small are they? What do I need to buy? Sorry but I feel clueless as this is my first baby anyway!! Thanks x

OzmaofOz Wed 13-Mar-13 21:05:25

Hi Almond, you will most likely have steroids to help your babies lungs, and I think most babies have a course of anti biopics if they are born before 35 weeks just In case they pick up an infection.

My Dts were born at 30 weeks 3lb each after they were born i gave them a quick kiss before they went to NICU, staff were very good at putting me at ease, i knew they were in safe hands. They really encouraged me to be involved with their care and do as much as we felt comfortable with.

BOth needed very different levels of care dt1 sailed through without much medical assistance where as dt2 needed a bit more care. Just a bit of help to breath CPAP and other bits because his stomach was under developed. Both had nasal gastro tubes as they were too small to feed and had not developed the suck, swallow, breath reflex.

At that sort of gestation it really is just about them getting strong enough to feed and regulate their own temperature. I think most hospitals like them to be over a certain weight and past 34 weeks.
Dts came home after 5 weeks weighing around 4,6lbs.
Can you ask for a tour of SCBU ? We had one and it was quite helpful.
How are you feeling ?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AlmondFrangipani Thu 14-Mar-13 07:11:18

Thanks both for the messages. It's really reassuring to hear your stories. I'm feeling quite emotional about it today, just because I didn't know it would be that early and what it means for it to be in SCBU. I'm definitely going to ask for a tour.

Do I need to buy anything special for returning home? Do the hospital lend them clothes or do I need to get some prem stuff?

What did you guys do about Mat leave?

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 14-Mar-13 07:19:39

Yes to all the above, plus you will have a "new born" for much longer in terms of sleeping, feeding etc. Eg DS was 5 weeks early, so we had a newborn for 5 weeks then another six weeks or so before he started sleeping for a bit longer etc. Very tiring!!

Hospital will have clothing but you might want to put them in your own clothing (it made me feel as if I had a bit of a role, because for a good while I felt useless). Depending how easy it is for someone to shop for you, it might be better to see what size your baby actually is before buying clothes.

One really good thing about SCBU is that they might have more relaxed visiting hours, so friends and family aren't confined to a two hour window

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 14-Mar-13 07:20:44

On mat leave, mine was triggered by early labour, so it was very economical in terms of starting just before DS came!

Yes, do get some clothes of your own for baby, but wait and see how big they are - mine was 3lb 4oz at 31 weeks (now an 18lb lump and crawling at 8 months real age, 6 months adjusted) so I went for hospital clothes until he fitted what was out there! Perhaps also a toy for the cot - the nurses will keep it somewhere nearby, and later you can tell baby that this was their hospital companion.
A tour of SCBU is a great idea. Do ask about care and what you will be able to do - ours let us do nappy changes and tube feeds very early and it is important to feel part of your baby's care in this way.
The Bliss website has info and forums on prems, including support groups for when you return home. I think finding other parents who have the same experience is some of the best homecoming prep you can do!
All the best with your pregnancy, and enjoy your little one when s/he arrives!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

My twins were born at 34 weeks. I had steroid injections before the EMCS and both were fine, neither needed assistance with breathing. They spent 2 weeks in SCBU.

Good luck.

MiaowTheCat Mon 18-Mar-13 20:56:11

What to expect? When you get out of hospital it to take flipping HOURS to get around anywhere for people stopping to ooh and ahh and ask you how early they were (and then tell you how they were a 28 weeker or whatever).

My late 33 weeker was 3 days on NICU, 2 weeks on the ward and off the bottom of the centile charts for a while - now she's in clothes AHEAD of her actual age and people don't believe she was prem (getting toward 1 year old)!

The big thing is to learn to think in terms of adjusted age (what age they'd be if they'd arrived near due date) rather than actual age in terms of milestones etc - and to learn to ignore pillock competitive milestone mums who try to worry you that baby's not smiling at X weeks when they shouldn't even be BORN yet!

AGiddyKipperInOneHand Mon 18-Mar-13 21:13:35

Dd was born at 31 weeks, stayed in SCBU for 7 weeks until feeding. I expressed milk from the start, labelled and froze it in the SCBU freezer. Had to be mixed with formula to give the right range of nutrients at first, and tube fed.
After c section, you're dependent on someone to take you to see your baby. Insistent messages from SCBU to come and change baby's nappy can be hard to deal with if you're still a patient and not well yourself, don't feel guilty. (ask them to change the nappies for the first couple of days, and not to save them for you).

You are likely to go home before your baby, and if you have a c section, you can't drive for 6 weeks, so see if you can get lifts from volunteer drivers, friends or family to get to the hospital each day.

MiniPopsMum2012 Sun 24-Mar-13 22:52:45

DS was born at 30+1, 3.2lbs and spent 6 weeks on NICU. He didn't really have many problems, just needed to grow big and strong. I had the steriods too, to help his lungs, and they worked as he came out breathing on his own and only needed CPAP for 6 hours, thankfully. WE both had antibiotics, and he was whisked off to NICU straight away so I didn't get to see him for 6 hours.

He was teeny tiny, had an IV line in his hand, an oxygen monitor on his food and three tiny wires stuck to his chest hooked up to a monitor that keep bleeping and scaring me, until the nurses told me to ignore it and watch my baby - not the monitors. I was too scared to hold him, but the nurses were like angles and helped me with kangeroo care.

Make sure you pack tops that are easy to get open and are big enough to get baby down the front as they encourage skin to skin, and kangeroo care.

The neo natal unit will have a lot of booklets by the charity Bliss, which will give you lots of info about prem babies and bringing them home.

My DS was in a nappy for ages, so we didn't need clothes for a bit, but we did have to buy the nappies.

They tried to send me home the day after my EMCS, but ended up stopping until the friday. The hardest part was being discharged without a baby, and being on the postnatal ward with an empty cot next to me listening to everyone else's babies crying.

Definitely ask for a tour if you can. good luck x

Mandy21 Tue 26-Mar-13 19:25:59

I think at 32-34 weeks, they'll just keep you both in to check that the baby can feed properly and maintain its own temperature. At 32 weeks, the baby might have to have an NG tube for a few days depending on how well he or she can feed but as others have said the sucking reflex doesn't really kick in until 34 weeks. Your baby is unlikely to have to go in the intensive care part of SCBU - in our unit there was the intensive care part (for very early or sick babies - mostly one to one care from nurses there), then the high dependency part (8 or so babies in the same room with a team of nurses) and then the nursery part. That was just for "feeding and growing". Much more relaxed in there. I'd had thought your baby might have to do a v short time in high dependency just to be observed and then onto the nursery very quickly.

I'd have the minimum amount of clothes and some nappies, a blanket and a couple of books to read to him / her (anything that helps you bond).

I'm the opposite to everyone else re the tour of SCBU - some people would find it reassuring (and if you're one of those people that need to be prepared, to see what you're going to be faced with, then do it) but I think its very emotional and imo, quite scary (especially when its your first baby), just lots of beeping machines, some parents obviously having a traumatic time (I don't think it helped that we were at a regional centre for neonatal care so lots of v early / sick babies). My H went and wished he hadn't, I'm glad I didn't go as I think I'd have been upset by it which wouldn't have helped me personally getting through a long labour.

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