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visiting a friend's premature baby in hospital

(27 Posts)
ak1978 Tue 09-Aug-11 13:36:50

A friend just had her first DC at 34 weeks, I think due to blood pressure issues with her and other complications to do with her and not her baby...anyway, it was no surprise that she delivered early, and as far as I know the baby is doing fine but will be in hospital for a few more weeks.
She has invited us (me and DH) to visit the baby in the hospital but I'm unsure how to respond to the invitation to be honest, because although I'd love to see her, I'm not sure I feel comfortable going to the hospital. (She is home now)

Will we even be allowed in?
I assumed it was only family allowed in the SCBU/NICU.
Has she thought it through?
I had DS at full term with no problems and didn't want friends to visit us for a while even though we were at home. I don't want to over-step any boundaries.
I am heavily pregnant myself and also have DS (a toddler) - I don't fancy carting us all off to the hospital.

Has anyone got any experience of this? Either as a visitor, or as a mum with a premature baby in hospital?
She is at home now, but spends her daytimes at the hospital. I have offered to do some shopping or other chores for her...but didn't expect her to ask us to come to the hospital.
Don't want to offend her as she is a good friend.

Hope this makes sense. Got to dash as DS just woken from nap.


ruddynorah Tue 09-Aug-11 13:40:01

She wants you to visit. Why wouldn't you?

deemented Tue 09-Aug-11 13:42:16

As a mum who had a DS in NICU/SCBU for 17 weeks, i would have gladly welcomed a visitor - anything to take away from the mundanity of NICU life. And also because i wanted to show DS off.

littleshinyone Tue 09-Aug-11 13:48:03

She has been through an ORDEAL.

she is asking you, as her FRIEND to show her baby off to you.

she wants your support and just someone to say well done.

She doesn't even have the chance to get bored with people dropping round for cups of tea at inconvenient times, maybe she needs some friendly faces so that she can enjoy the first weeks with her baby as normally as possible.

I don't often say this, but i think YABU.

littleshinyone Tue 09-Aug-11 13:48:35

I'm sorry that that sounds harsh, I am just really quite suprised by your post.

ak1978 Tue 09-Aug-11 13:50:55

deemented - thank you for your input - it's impossible to know what it's like on the other side so to speak.

naught Tue 09-Aug-11 13:53:29

I had a prem baby who was in hospital for 6 months, Dp was ADAMANT that he didn't want ds to have visitors apart from really close family as he felt that people wanted to visit for the shock factor confused And as that is what he wanted that is what we did. But, It wouldn't of bothered me at 34 weeks.

One thing I would say, is respect the other parents and don't look at their babies. Your friends baby is 34 weeks, he/she will look like a very small baby, where as a 27 weeker (ds was 27 weeks) looks like a very frail skinned rabbit. I am sorry I don't seem to be able to express my self very well, but I am sure you know what I mean. Oh and I don't think your toddler will be allowed in, sorry.

ak1978 Tue 09-Aug-11 13:53:56

littleshinyone - that was harsh. Of course I want to support her, I just didn't want to overstep the mark. That's all.

ak1978 Tue 09-Aug-11 13:57:30

naught - thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Hebrewlass Tue 09-Aug-11 14:00:03

Hi ,if baby is in neonatal unit I would be surprised if they allow you in. They will only accept children who are siblings. As a mother of 2 babies who were prem , quite rightly it was only immediate family who were allowed to visit . It is a very stressful environment for the families and for the babies in there . They try to keep the wards as quiet and calm as possible . Many parents there are highly distressed and want privacy.The babies are also very susceptible to contracting infections . A small sniffle for you could become something quite life threatening for a neo Nate .

JoyceBarnaby Tue 09-Aug-11 14:05:14

If you think about it, OP, it's unlikely you'll overstep the mark as she's invited you, not the other way round. I'm afraid I agree with littleshinyone - although it makes you feel uncomfortable, if you can go I think you should try and support your friend. You say you don't know what it's like and that you don't want to offend her - well, all you DO know is that she wants you to visit her baby, so start with that. I'm sure she'll appreciate what a good friend you are.

When my DD was in SCBU, two of my dearest friends visited us. They had to organise childcare for their toddlers and babies and it was a very short visit that was probably a lot of hassle of them. However, they thought of me and I appreciated it very much. I'm sure your friend will, too.

SandStorm Tue 09-Aug-11 14:08:01

I had my first DD at 32+1. We had one person who wasn't a member of the family come and visit us. I have to admit that as the years have gone by I've discovered I don't actually like him very much (he's a friend of my DH) but for that one act I will always love him a little bit.

Go and visit.

Hebrewlass Tue 09-Aug-11 14:08:44

Also don't assume that a 34 weeker will just look like a very small baby . If there has been bp problems ,then like in my case, baby may have growth retardation . In which case they are still very frail , thin and under developed with various tubes attached .

DirtyMartini Tue 09-Aug-11 14:13:04

I visited a friend in hospital with a premature baby - more premature than 34 weeks, IIRC - and they did let me in, along with her, as a visitor invited by her. It was no problem. I wouldn't have brought a toddler, though - you should definitely go if she wants you, but not with your little one.

It will mean a lot to her, I think. It would to me. Don't overthink it; if she's asked you, then that is all you need surely?

NasalCoffeeEnema Tue 09-Aug-11 14:15:07

I would go if I was you.
When I had dd it felt unreal and it was nice to introduce her to people, to get some acknowledgement that she existed and was important. Sometimes prem babies seem to slip under the radar, people don't visit when they are born and people are too scared to send cards or presents, yet when they go home theyve already been in the world for a few months and are old news

AitchTwoOh Tue 09-Aug-11 14:15:22

dd was born at 33 and just looked like a teeny baby. i had everyone and their dog in to admire her... grin

naught Tue 09-Aug-11 14:21:01

Hebrew it was a long time ago, and your right a 34 weeker can sometime look very ill and extremly small. I have just been looking through ds baby pics in fact I will add one to here of him the day he came home at 6 months. I was I suppose just thinking of how dp felt.

ecuasotamot Tue 09-Aug-11 14:21:19

I would go. She probably wants to show off her child, to have a close friend there to lean on and to have someone to get a cuppa with while at the hospital.

My baby was not that prem, but I was really glad to have someone other than my husband to talk to when I was stuck in hospital. Because we were leaning on each other and being strong for each other, we needed someone else to vent to and to cry with. Your visit will do her the world of good and I think she must really value your friendship if she wants you to join her in a place/time where she will feel vulnerable.

silverangel Tue 09-Aug-11 21:46:58

My twins are in SCBU at the moment (fine but were delivered at 31 weeks so teeny tiny), only parents and grandparents allowed on the unit, no exceptions, and it was the same in the hospital I was delivered at. If you are allowed I would definitely go as she has asked you to but wouldn't be surprised if the visiting is stricter.

tiggersreturn Wed 10-Aug-11 16:35:48

Silver- I didn't realise your twins came. congratulations and I hope you all get out soon.

mycatsaysach Wed 10-Aug-11 16:40:09

please go
dd is 14 soon but i still remember the family members who couldn't face coming as it was too upsetting for them......
your friend will really appreciate it
it may well be a quick visit anyway - sometimes non family could only wave at tiny dd through a window/door - its more of a moral support thing
good luck

owlbooty Wed 10-Aug-11 16:58:36

The other thing they might do is allow her to bring the baby out to one of the parent rooming in rooms - so you're not actually on the ward itself, which is what they often did at the hospital I worked in. I am pretty sure your toddler definitely won't be allowed in either way though. Please don't be afraid of visiting SCBU or overstepping the mark - if the baby is well enough for your friend to consider you visiting and the nurses to be okay with that then it will most probably be really nice for her - she may well be desperate to show off her gorgeous baby and has had no opportunity to do so as yet, it will be very hard for her coming home from the hospital every day and leaving her baby there so if this gives her a boost it would be a lovely thing to do.

Silverangel I also hope you're all home soon - congrats on the twins!

PrincessScrumpy Wed 10-Aug-11 19:47:26

I was 34w and although small I looked like a baby just very small. I would check SCBU will allow you in but I would definitely visit a friend who clearly needs support.

greycircles Wed 10-Aug-11 20:04:53

I would go and visit her - but just you, I would leave your toddler and DH behind. Like someone has said, if they don't allow you into SCBU, they may allow her baby out briefly if she would like you to meet her baby. If she has asked you to come, I am sure that she means it.

How pregnant are you? I don't know if it would feel a bit strange for the mothers who have delivered prematurely to see you if you are, say, 37 weeks or something, or not that far along but with a big looking bump. So I would probably bear that in mind and not look at the other mothers or their babies, unless they talk to you first.

happymummytobe Thu 11-Aug-11 10:56:51

A year ago I visited a friend's baby who was premature and critically ill. She was grateful for my support and also wanted to show me her beautiful son.

Everyone is different - some of my friends with healthy full-term babies want to have visitors straight away, others have wanted a couple of weeks to themselves before they feel like seeing people.

Take your lead from your friend - she has asked you to go, so do! Be positive and tell her how gorgeous her new baby is! But leave your toddler at home, he definitely won't be allowed in.

I did wonder when I read your post if you were perhaps a bit nervous about going into the hospital for your own reasons? I'm 31 weeks pregnant and know that I might not be so robust heading into a SCBU as I was before I was pregnant. So make sure it's something you're comfortable with too. And I echo naught - I was told by staff that I wasn't allowed to look at the other babies as many were much smaller and very ill. They were very strict about this - as they should be!

You're obviously a good friend to have been asked to visit - let us know how you get on!

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