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My lovely cousin is about to give birth to a prem baby- can someone reassure me please?

(25 Posts)
abbierhodes Mon 22-Oct-12 23:11:40

She is just under 32 weeks. It's her first baby. She's contracting but not dilated at all yet. She's had a steroid injection, and will have another in the early hours of the morning. Can anyone tell me what is likely to happen?

abbierhodes Mon 22-Oct-12 23:22:46

Oh, and to compound the issue- there are no places in the nearest neonatal unit, the only spaces available are 2 hours away.

VolumeOfACone Mon 22-Oct-12 23:29:10

32 weeks is not a really scary gestation. Usually 32 weekers just need to stay in hospital to put on weight. It might take a while, maybe until the due date, but other more serious complications aren't as common as pre-30 weeks.
Have a look at Bliss, the premature baby charity. They have a helpful website.

Your cousin won't be able to stay in a room with the baby. It'll have to start in a special ward. It won't be able to feed yet, I think they start to learn that at about 34 weeks, so it'll have to be tube fed for a bit.

If she isn't dilated they might be able to stop it actually, so don't panic too much.
I hope it all goes Ok.

VolumeOfACone Mon 22-Oct-12 23:32:15

My prem baby only had to stay in the NICU for a couple of weeks then was OK to transfer to a SCBU. There may well be a SCBU closer to her, there are more of them around!

abbierhodes Mon 22-Oct-12 23:32:30

Thank you. That is very reassuring.
They are trying to stop it, but don't think it's working. They've given her pain relief- not sure what- and something else, perhaps to slow labour down. I don't have exact details as I'm getting it all second hand.

abbierhodes Mon 22-Oct-12 23:34:53

Volume, yes, the next nearest hospital must be an SCBU, as they've told her she can't go there if baby is born before 34 weeks- so that makes sense.
Perhaps if she lasts a few more days a space will open up somewhere more local.

abbierhodes Tue 23-Oct-12 00:24:15

Just had a look at the Bliss website, it looks very good. Thanks Volume. I'm hoping to see her in the morning- hopefully before baby is delivered!

confuddledDOTcom Tue 23-Oct-12 00:34:00

I had a 31 weeker that was just labour (this is important to remember, we hear so many pretermers who were due to complications that it can be scary when you face it in life) no steroids but she was breathing for herself, although needed a little help as she was breathing too fast, and only spent 17 days in the unit and a week in transitional care. I was kept in hospital the whole time.

At this stage it's about building baby up, teaching them to take all sucking feeds (which means being able to gain weight without anything else) and maintaining their weight. Babies generally learn to suckle around 32 weeks so getting babe feeding shouldn't be too difficult. They generally say to expect it to be 36-term but that doesn't mean baby will be in for that long, if s/he is doing well they may send them home sooner.

abbierhodes Tue 23-Oct-12 06:49:28

Thank you confuddled, glad your baby was OK! How old is he now?

Well she's had the 2nd injection. Labour back in full swing but no baby yet.

silverangel Tue 23-Oct-12 07:39:00

My twins were 31+3, I had the steroids, transferred two hours away for delivery as local hospital didn't take under 32 weekers. They were fine, one needed cpap for 24 hours, the other didn't need anything. They stayed in hospital for 6 weeks but very luckily had no other issues apart from needing to put on weight. We got transferred back to my local hospital hen they hit 32 weeks, the hospital we were in let me stay in a private room so I could be near them even though I could have been discharged.

They're 15 months now and still a little bit dinky but hav hit all their milestones.

Any sign of baby yet?

silverangel Tue 23-Oct-12 07:39:03

My twins were 31+3, I had the steroids, transferred two hours away for delivery as local hospital didn't take under 32 weekers. They were fine, one needed cpap for 24 hours, the other didn't need anything. They stayed in hospital for 6 weeks but very luckily had no other issues apart from needing to put on weight. We got transferred back to my local hospital hen they hit 32 weeks, the hospital we were in let me stay in a private room so I could be near them even though I could have been discharged.

They're 15 months now and still a little bit dinky but hav hit all their milestones.

Any sign of baby yet?

VolumeOfACone Tue 23-Oct-12 07:43:13

It is lucky that she's had both steroids. smile

xkcdfangirl Tue 23-Oct-12 08:05:41

One of our family friends has a lovely 11 year old daughter who was born earlier than 32 weeks due to pre-eclampsia - everyone was very worried at fies that she might have all sorts of long term health problems but she is absolutely fine with no long term issues at all. Don't be scared when you are told about the possible complications - they are only possible, not certain.

xkcdfangirl Tue 23-Oct-12 08:06:02

(fies = first)

abbierhodes Tue 23-Oct-12 09:07:23

It is very kind of you all to take the time to post, your stories are making me feel much calmer.

No more news yet, I've been promised an update when something changes.

We have a big family and she doesn't want anyone else knowing yet, so I'm going to have to spend the day biting my nails and avoiding people!

abbierhodes Tue 23-Oct-12 12:54:46

Just to update- she's now at home, been told to let labour progress naturally. Contractions are around 4 mins apart, with every 3rd contraction being a 'big one' (so 12 mins apart iyswim).
I'd love to start a thread asking how long you all think it'll taken but having been through labour 3 times myself, I know that's like asking 'how long is a piece of string?'. So I'll resist!

iloveholidays Tue 23-Oct-12 13:06:54

Hi abbierhodes. I have no experience of this, but just wanted to wish your cousin lots of luck and hope it all goes well.

abbierhodes Tue 23-Oct-12 13:27:32

Thanks iloveholidays! I'm desperate to text someone for another update, but am sitting on my hands cos I don't want to be the psycho-cousin who won't leave her alone!
Me and my mum are going to pop out for some tiny baby-gros later- the only way I can think to practically help!

unexpectediteminbaggingarea Tue 23-Oct-12 13:33:35

Boots do lovely tiny baby stuff.

32 weeks is not too bad really. Babies are small and need to fatten up, and might have problems controlling their temperature and blood sugars, but that's what special care units are for. She's had the steroids which makes a huge difference as that enables the baby to breathe more easily.

Her baby when it is born will benefit from kangaroo care and colostrum, so if she can get expressing as soon as possible that will make a big difference.

Try not to worry.

newby2 Tue 23-Oct-12 16:15:48

Abb, What a caring cousin you are! Best of luck over the next few hours/days trying to stay off the phone!

Neonates are strong little things built to survive any way they can. Her baby may need help with breathing initially which looks worse than it is. They may not though, one minute, hour and day at a time initially. They will definitely be in a nice warm incubator for a while and will be nurtured to suck, feed and grow.

The tiny prem clothing "Pop n grow" is wonderful. Boots stuff is expensive and generally too big. Have a look on line at the site, you can buy little bundles of clothes. they will probably be around 3 lb born which is very small but you meet lots of healthy robust people around who will tell you they were premature and have no problems!!

I had pre eclampsia and had a 4 lb baby, she's now a bright dainty 2 year old and has suffered no injury. No matter how the baby is born or any issues that possibly occur you'll love them for exactly the way they are, it's just a reflex.

riskit4abiskit Tue 23-Oct-12 23:04:23

I was a very prem baby 30 years ago, and looking to the longer term I have never had any associated health probs, learning difficulties etc. I was touch and go apparently, so imagine what a good job they can do these days.

Good luck to your cousin!

Needingsomeadvice Tue 23-Oct-12 23:17:07


My DS was 31+3 and had the steroids around 10 days before he was finally born. He was born crying and could breathe unaided, but they helped him to 'rest' by ventilating him for the first 24 hours and then giving him extra oxygen for the 24 hours after that. He then spent approx 2 weeks in his incubator, and a further 3 weeks in a cot in the neonatal unit (SCBU). He was in hospital a total of 33 days but a lot of that was because he had trouble breastfeeding - he could have been home probably 5 days early if I'd agreed to bottlefeed him his EBM and tbh it wouldn't have made much difference because he still ended up having bottlefed expressed milk after he'd been home a week and struggling to feed.

He's now almost 6 and although he was behind in physical milestones he was always way ahead for his age intellectually and is a wee brainbox who was reading before he was 3. He is also the healthiest person in our family surprisingly - very rarely ails a thing!

I hope all goes well with your cousin!

confuddledDOTcom Wed 24-Oct-12 01:13:00

abbierhodes, I have 3 pretermers (I call myself an impatient mum) my 31 weeker is now 6 and I had a 35 (+ IUGR) weeker who's 3 and a 34 weeker who's 17 months. None of them you would know anything apart from the IUGR baby who's rather slight (her little sister is about 2kg behind her) and the 31 weeker suffers from asthma because she didn't get steroids and the damage of the intubation, but generally they don't have any health issues, my eldest was supposed to be a September baby and one of the things that upset me in hospital was knowing she'd gone up a school year but now I look at her and wonder how she'd cope in the year below, she's a very bright kid and totally holding her own.

I love Tesco for EB size, I find Asda NB will fit quite small babies.

One thing no one else mentioned, premature babies have what I call a family resemblance, I've had people stop me and ask how old they were born (as in not "were they /weren't they" they genuinely knew). At that gestation their eyes haven't fully retracted into their eye sockets (they develop outside the skull to leave the brain room to grow) so they tend to have a big eyed look and very sculptured face because fat is laid down in the last weeks of pregnancy and they skip that and don't get the baby faced look, my eldest in particular is quite stunning to look at because she has features that are normally rather grown up.

MyLastDuchess Wed 24-Oct-12 15:51:31

Another anecdote for you which I hope will help to reassure you.

My friend gave birth at 31 weeks about 5 or 6 weeks ago (I am now 36+4 and we were due around the same time). Fortunately the baby was relatively big for dates, although it's still not a desirable time for them to be born, and has been doing really well. While it's been very sad and stressful for the parents to have a baby still in hospital while they are now both at home, the baby has never been in any danger and has been steadily putting on weight. As my friend said, it has been the most stressful but also the most amazing and happiest time of her life.

My point is that while I don't want to make light of how upsetting it has been for my friend to not have a 'normal' new mum experience, the baby is doing brilliantly and there has never been any worry that she would not be ok.

GotMyLittleLamb Wed 24-Oct-12 15:57:28

Hi abbier you and your mum sound absolutely lovely. My DD was born at 26+5 weeks and is now nearly 9 months old and is perfect. She stayed in a neonatal unit until just after her due date and had some problems with her lungs but she is catching up just great now. It was scary at the time but I know DD won't remember any of it. Don't be worried if they don't use the gorgeous tiny babygros, they are likely to want to monitor the baby's chest at first. Good luck to your cousin, really hope everything goes OK.

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