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advice needed urgently -sister having special care baby induced tomorrow

(28 Posts)
becktay Mon 02-Nov-09 21:37:59

hi there, not sure where to post this but hoping someone has advice for me on behalf of my sister. she went into labour at 30 weeks and this was slowed and stopped. her waters have been slowly leaking since then and is now due to be induced tomorrow as she has reached 34 weeks. to complicate things she also has strep b. baby will be in special care for a couple of weeks at least and sis really wants to bf/express milk for this baby. the hospital has told her that they normally allow the mother a bed for 10 days after the birth but that they can only offer her 2 days because they are short staffed. she's really anxious as wants to be with her baby and i tend to agree with her. is this usual to separate mother and baby like this? they have ds1 at home so husband has been focusing on him. can my sister and BIL kick up a stink? what is usual in these situations? What are her rights?

whomovedmychocolatecookie Mon 02-Nov-09 21:41:57

Kick up a stink! Does the hospital have any private rooms that can be hired - some do. That may be a way for her to stay close. However, a baby born that early will probably be in hospital for quite a while. It's not exactly going to help her breastfeed if she's kicked out after two days is it.

Get in touch with the PALS officer at the hospital, the director of midwifery, the press if you need to. Chances are she may need a caesarian and that will keep her in for longer. But I'd be really worried about having a special care baby in a hospital that admitted they don't have enough staff.

Good luck to her btw.

EccentricaGallumBANG Mon 02-Nov-09 21:45:18

special care will have different staffing levels to the post-natal ward bit.

2 days does seem a bit stingy as your poor sister is likely to be a bit shellshocked and distressed by having a special care baby.

becktay Mon 02-Nov-09 21:53:44

wow thanks for quick replies! WMMChoc - my advice to her was to kick up a sh*t storm. i do feel like phoning up the hospital if they don't offer her more. the hospital have been good to her so far but i feel they are trying to push their luck with getting her out early. EGB i think it's stingy too.

saggyhairyarse Mon 02-Nov-09 22:00:16

I stayed in 8 days when my DS was born at 33 weeks but every day after 2 days they warned me they might need the beds.

At the NICU we were at there were suites for parents of NICU babies, do they have any rooms like these?

becktay Mon 02-Nov-09 22:07:12

not sure SHA will check in with her as soon as i can, am leaving her alone now to rest before her big day tomorrow. that's interesting that you got the same treatment, i hate that she feels she has to fight her corner especially after a more complex birth situation.

whomovedmychocolatecookie Mon 02-Nov-09 22:11:53

How far from the hospital is she? If it's within two miles it might not be too bad. With DD hospital was 33 miles from home and had I had been separated it would have been nigh on impossible for me to see her more than once a day. I checked out hotels near the hospital in advance just in case I needed to stay nearer.

becktay Mon 02-Nov-09 22:19:29

not too far from hospital only 5 or 6 miles which is something, but it's the idea of limited visiting hours for a tiny baby that worries me.
thanks for taking the time to reply all of you, it really helps to get a sense of perspective.
i phoned up sis with a couple of your replies and she was really cheered.
i'll check in tomorrow and hopefully update you all with a birth story soon smile

Forester Mon 02-Nov-09 22:22:20

Even if your sister can't stay with the baby the special care baby unit will be fully kitted out for expressing so she needn'y worry about that side of things - at least that was my experience smile.

Dysgu Mon 02-Nov-09 22:45:09

DD1 was born - unexpectedly - at 32 weeks and was in NICU for 23 days. In the beginning she had no sucking reflex and was fed through a nasal tube., In the early days she was only taking 2ml of my expressed milk at a feed - also my milk did not come in properly as labour was so quick...

I do think it is poor that there is not room for your sister to stay with the baby. When DD1 was born I stayed in the maternity unit for 3 days but then came home. Our NICU does not have parents suites or anything (although they are rebuilding and getting them.) I was back and forth to the hospital all day from the first feed to the last - about 3 miles each way.

I did find, and your sister may experience this too that, whilst being very supportive, the NICU staff are more focussed on the baby gaining weight and measuring how much milk she was getting. They provided me with a fabulous expressing machine and I felt very cow-like for weeks! If I wasn't feeding I was expressing and so on.

DD2 also came early and I experienced many of the same issues regarding breast feeding. She was born at 35 weeks and only in NICU for 10 days. I tried even harder to get the breast feeding established and they were helpful and supportive.

In the long run, with both girls I managed to give them some EBM and some BM until their due dates. I struggled to make enough milk even with medication to help. Neither girl ever really got the hang of sucking - partly due, I feel to having been tube and then bottle fed as the focus was weight gain.

With regards to kicking up a fuss, I know you said sister's husband is busy with other DC but can he not kick up the fuss instead of her. She must be feeling fragile enough and that is before her tiny baby arrives.

Also NICU/SCBU here had/have open visiting for parents (and siblings) of their babies. I really did practically live there with DD1 beyond coming home to sleep. They were happy for me to turn up at any time - day or night - and I did turn up in the middle of the night when I felt anxious or just wanted to check on my baby (or tiny baby rabbit/alien!!!) in the early hours of the morning. We also phoned a lot when we were not actually there and no one ever gave us any inkling that we were being a nuisance.

Your sister will probably settle into a routine surprisingly quickly - whether she gets to stay in the hospital or not - although do be aware that when NICU here was short staffed or very busy with babies they would close visiting to anyone other than immediate family - so you may not get to see the baby until they can bring her/him home.

Good luck to your sister - oh, and my girls (DD1 is 3.1 yo and DD2 is 10 mo) are fighting fit and perfectly healthy - which was not the original prognosis with DD1.

Doozle Mon 02-Nov-09 22:50:29

DD was born at 33 weeks and there wasn't really any opportunity to stay with her once I'd been discharged from the post-natal ward.

They did have one room where parents could stay but we had to sign up if we wanted to use it. Doubt we could have had used it for more than 1 or 2 nights.

Dysgu Mon 02-Nov-09 22:52:38

Sorry for long post - also just want to say that there were days when I would be at the hospital from breakfast until bed time! No one minded. I would do different things on different days depending on how I was coping!

I do feel that DD1 coped really well with having a new baby sister as she had 10 days to get used to the idea as we would make sure she visited DD2 in hospital almost every day but she was still getting a lot of attention from us on a 1-1 basis whilst she got used to the idea of 'bringing the baby home to live with us.' I think there is some form of subconscious memory that made her feel very comfortable being back (visiting) NICU and the staff were mainly the same and loved having her around. She played in the family room and was actually really good with her tiny sister.

Also not sure if relevant but DP took paternity leave once we brought the babies home (although he did take some compassionate leave immediately as these births were unexpected - and his employers give fully paid paternity leave) but that might be helpful, especially if you (or others) are around to give some help with DC1.

Dysgu Mon 02-Nov-09 22:56:46

Sorry - one more thing that may be helpful to your sister.

We found, especially with DD1 (Staff knew us with DD2!!) that they almost seemed to 'forget' about mums and dads if we weren't there. By this I mean, we would sometimes arrange to be there do to cares (feeding, nappy or whatever baby could cope with) and find that they had done it already. This would be because baby needed something else - meds, pin prick tests etc - and they would do everything to avoid further interruption of sleep.

Once we - actually midwife on post-natal ward did it for us - reminded them that we wanted to be fully involved (and how emotional I was at not being!) they called us if timings changed. Something else for the Daddy-to-be to be ready to sort!

MintChocAddict Mon 02-Nov-09 23:08:38

Hey Becktay,

Just to echo what others have said. I had a 33 weeker and was allowed to stay for 9 days as postnatal wards were fairly quiet. It allowed me to be just upstairs from DS and made expressing milk a lot easier as I had unlimited access to electric hospital pumps and could go down in the middle of the night if I wanted to see him. I was told early on though that this wasn't a given, as they may have got busy very suddenly.

Our NICU had unlimited visiting for parents and I was there pretty much most of the day after being discharged too. The only time I was unable to access the unit was at shift chageover when the consultants reviewed the babies.

I was also allowed to come back and room in with DS for a couple of days before he came home and DH and I were given a private double room with shower and cooking facilities which was housed within the unit.

I don't see any harm in kicking up a fuss and trying to speak to anyone who may be able to help. Hopefully your sister will also have the opportunity to room in with her baby as I really think this helped with the transition from special care to home.

HTH. smile

Hope all goes well for your sis tomorrow.

MintChocAddict Mon 02-Nov-09 23:17:02

In agreement with Dysgu re: paternity leave. DH went back to work a day or two after DS was born and started his actual leave once DS was home. So glad we did it that way as I think Dads can feel a bit useless in SCBU if you're not the one expressing etc.

I don't know if this would be possible for your sister's DH with an older child to care for, but if we had another prem baby we would definitely try to do the same again.

Poledra Mon 02-Nov-09 23:25:13

My DD3 was in SCBU for 5 days and we stayed for 6 days after her induction (at term). I was fortunate that they didn't kick me out - I live about 13 miles from the hospital. There were no restrictions to parental access to SCBU, including for my DH ( who obviously was not staying in the hospital). DD3 was not able to feed from me so I was expressing for her. I did not generally go to her through the night - I expressed milk for her which the SCBU nurses put through her NG tube for me.

I made sure I was in SCBU whenever the consultants came round to do rounds, so I could hear what they had to say, and ask any questions I might have - nobody ever told me I shouldn't, but maybe I was breaking an unwritten rule there. blush

I would second what Dysgu said about the staff sometimes forgetting about mothers - I was upset a few times by well-meaning staff giving DD formula for a feed when I had already told them I was expressing some for her and I would be there in a few minutes (DD was having both formula and EBM as she needed the fluids, basically). Also, I was heartbroken the day after the DD's birth as they had put a cannula into her hand and had not come and got me first. I know it was necessary but I wanted to have been there to comfort her.

I hope it all goes well for your sister tomorrow.

becktay Tue 03-Nov-09 09:53:33

thanks all, some really good and interesting points here to pass on to sis. she's waiting for a bed on labour ward now for her induction. have broken a posh fruit bowl and dropped my morning coffee all over floor today already just thinking about her!
i'm never failed to be amazed at just how generous people are in passing on their ideas and experience. i really appreciate it. smile
ps will email this link to BIL too!

Hollyoaks Tue 03-Nov-09 10:06:42

Hi becktay my dsis had her baby girl at 31 weeks three weeks ago. She left the hospital 2 days after the baby was born as had ds at home and had been in hospital for 4 days by this point.

DN was originally in a larger SCBU at a hospital 12 miles away but has since been transferred to a SCBU less than 5 miles away. We all had access to the first SCBU and so got to see the baby but we don't at the closer hospital. Parents and grandparents have access (limited due to swine flu), and parents have access 24 hours a day. They also offer a room for the parents to stay over when the baby is ready to come home.

It's a stressful time when your dsis is going though something like this, just be ready to offer lifts, childcare, meals or just be someone to listen. Be prepared though for not having access to the SCBU, its really frustrating. Hope it all goes well. smile

FourArms Tue 03-Nov-09 11:10:31

DS2 was born at term, but I had Gp B strep too. He went to NICU as he stopped breathing and needed quite extensive resuscitation at birth, and also had kidney problems diagnosed in utero.

I stayed in hospital until DS2 was ready to leave, and had a private room. It wasn't for long though - went in Thu, out Tue.

I had 24 hr access to the NICU, and visitors were welcome too. I had to leave DS2's room when the consultants came round (got put in the expressing 'cupboard' , but with DS2 so I didn't care!!).

All was fine. DS2 had to have a lumbar puncture , but didn't have GBS. Expressing went well, and DS2 latched on himself on day 2.

clairesparkle Tue 03-Nov-09 21:01:28

DS (Now 11 months and enormous) was born at 33+ 6 days - 300 miles from home as we were visiting friends. Luckily the local hospital had a transitional ward. I think there are only a few of these in the country (is it worth checking if there is one nearby?). Basically they are for babies who are prem or have other problems but who don't need really intensive SCBU care, and you stay with your baby on a ward. DS had a nose tube for his first three weeks until he learnt how to suck properly, but was otherwise fine. Hopefully your sis will be lucky and feeding will be the only problem.

When we were moved back home to a SCBU for two weeks, there was nowhere for me to stay - but there were open visiting hours for parents so we could have stayed all night if we wanted, and there was a couch in the visiting room that parents often slept on.

They had quite a nice system when you were about due to go home - there was a little 'flat' opposite the SCBU where we stayed with DS for two nights to check he was feeding properly. Does this hospital have something like that? On the expressing front, everyone, especially the other mums who had already mastered it!, was really helpful and there was a separate room or they would put up a screen for you.

Ooh, long message, I hope it all goes ok.

becktay Wed 04-Nov-09 07:09:19

just a quick update, sister was unable to be induced yesterday as labour ward was heaving! so hopefully today...
have sent BIL the link to this thread and he was most appreciative for all the advice. feels a bit better armed with information now.
wish i could get over to help them in person sad

clairesparkle Wed 04-Nov-09 08:17:58

It's interesting to hear other people's views on paternity leave. My DS had compassionate leave up until DS was born, and then took his paternity leave whilst DS was on SCBU and I am SO glad he did. It think it would have been really stressful being there on my own, as grandparents visiting hours were limited to 2 hours a day. We lived 15 miles from the SCBU so got there at 8 in the morning and left about 6 or 7 in the evening, and it was great to have someone to talk to as we were quarantined in our own room (had come from diff hospital). He took holiday when DS was about 4 weeks old and at home.

becktay Thu 05-Nov-09 19:54:04

newsflash - sister has given birth to a 4lbs 5oz whopper called oliver! i was chatting to her on the phone at midday through her contractions which were audibly getting stronger though she was only 1cm dilated. by 2.15 she started to push and got him out on the third push. he's doing really well and she's now sleeping off 24hrs of contractions. Thanks to all who posted.

bibbitybobbityhat Thu 05-Nov-09 19:57:32

Lovely news. Brilliant name wink - what a big boy!

whomovedmychocolatecookie Thu 05-Nov-09 19:59:41

How wonderful! Great news

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