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Any tips on coping whilst your babies are in SCBU?

(23 Posts)
CollectorofCookbooks Sun 02-Jun-13 15:47:43

Hi all

Congratulations Rowan! Hopefully you and they are doing well - hang in there, it does get easier and when they finally turn a corner it happens so quickly you won't believe it.

Well the babies are home and doing well - growing at a rate of knots although we've had a pretty bumpy journey with bf - after thrush, mastitis and an infection the doctor didn't
Give a name to, I've stopped bf and they are now ff. they had a month of bf, but longer than that wasn't right for me or them, although I tried so hard.

Now we're home and starting to finally feel like a family, it's taking some time but we'll get there.

Thanks to everyone for their support

VestandKnickers Mon 27-May-13 09:39:23

Congratulations on the birth of your babies. My twins were in SCBU for six weeks and it was a very hard time. All I can say is that it does pass and the feeling when you can finally take them home and they properly feel like your babies is amazing. Use the time in SCBU to get used to looking after your babies and getting used to their routines so that you can really enjoy them when you're all home. The only advantage to SCBU is that they tend to send you home with your babies in a pretty good routine. Good luck.

Rowan1204 Mon 27-May-13 09:05:51

Hi collector,

I was wondering how you and your dts were getting on?

I had ny dts two weeks ago today at 32 weeks. They are still in neonatal hdu.

They were fairly good weights for their gestation, 3.11 lbs and 4.3lbs, only the smaller one needed a bit of cpap.

I can now completely relate to your original post.
I stayed in hospital for a week - the last few days if that was transitional care. Im now staying with relatives who are ten mins away from the hospital. My partner is at home with our 4yr old ds in order to keep him in his regular routine. Im spending all day at the hospital and just expressing expressing expressing! They will hopefully be coming out in a week or two deoending on how quickly they can come off the ng tubes.
Hope your dts are doing well and things are looking up for you too.

CakeForBreakfast Thu 23-May-13 15:04:00


My twins were delivered at 34+1 and that very night were taken to another hospital from me as they did not have room in the SCBU. So I understand the 'hanging' feeling.

I kept myself busy, mostly by expressing like a fresian cow, good for the babies and good for me as I still felt productive as a mum.

Some days later they were returned to me and we spent almost 3 weeks in a transitory ward. By the way it was at the END of the 3 weeks that I was informed all my car parking could be free with a special weekly ticket obtained by the ward nurses. - Please ask yours!

I bet your husband was crazy with worry and is trying to be the strong-guy keeping it together and calm everything down, which is daft, but also stressful. You know, it was actually me who was trying to be the strong-guy back in the transitory ward and it was enormously difficult. I finally cracked and cried to my mum and dh (who I had been keeping at arms length) about how scared I was and it was only then we came together as a team. I'm so glad to hear of your heart to heart with your husband.

I'll be thinking of you and believe me, having twins is absolutely the best thing ever. I think all babies should come in pairs!

AprilFoolishness Fri 17-May-13 20:53:49

Hi Collector, congratulations and I hope your babies are doing well.

I wanted to echo waht Cerubina said about looking back on NICU days fondly, and mine are a bit younger than hers so its more recent to us.

At the time it is so so hard, and I vividly remember that physical ache and strange angsty feeling of not being with them, but the care that tiny babies receive these days is so incredible that when it comes time to go home you'll be wishing you could take some of the staff back with you smile.

Take lots of photos!

CollectorofCookbooks Mon 06-May-13 20:10:03

Hi all

Just to say thanks so much for your support, I really do appreciate it. To be honest it's all I can do to keep up with the thread right now, let alone PM, but I will keep your very kind offers in mind. It's enough just to know I'm not alone in this!

Rowan, good luck, I hope all goes well, I'll be thinking of you and your little ones.

You'll be pleased to hear that DH and I had a long heart to heart yesterday - we basically said everything Cerubina said to each other, and had a good cry - I hadn't even read what you'd put then Cerubina, but thank you, you were right! We are a team and we need to pull together as Mandy says. Today has been so much better - we left an hour and a half earlier as a compromise, but equally we came home half an hour earlier, and went out for half an hour to eat our sandwiches in the sun.

Tomorrow I'm there on my own and hopefully by then my antibiotics will have started to kick in a bit more so I'll be feeling better in myself.

Mandy21 Sun 05-May-13 22:28:34

Its hard isn't it, OP? As Cerubina says, you are a team so you need to be pulling in the same direction, but I also agree that men (even when they're fab husbands ordinarily) can be pretty useless in a situation like this (at least mine was!). I just think he felt out of his depth, wanted to support me but didn't really know how, thought he was doing/saying the right thing by caring for me, but all I wanted was for him to just get me to the babies. You are perfectly normal having a little rant smile.

Just one other thing I wanted to say - I'm sure there are some people where their milk supply suffers for all sorts of reasons, but mine didn't despite the worry / long hours visiting SCBU so its not something you should necessarily worry about (you have enough to worry about already!). Just make sure you're eating and drinking enough and keep with expressing every 3 hours day and night.

Cerubina Sun 05-May-13 21:33:25

I may not say what you want to hear now OP but I think your husband is right, and I'll explain why in a minute, but firstly my biggest urge to impress upon you is that you must try to remain a partnership with him and try not to see things as 'I'm right, he's wrong' or 'I've got it harder, he's got it easier'.

I don't want it to sound bossy or dramatic, but you're embarking on a massive project - you've brought twins into the world. Over the next days, weeks and months you'll really need each other. Twins are wonderful wonderful things, and a lot of work that you will need his support to manage. Far, far better to get off to a start thinking like a partnership and not pitted against each other.

I know men don't have the hormone surge that we do and can't understand the need to be with our children (I caught a cold just after mine were born at 31.5 weeks, and for 4 days I literally was not allowed to be in the room with them, in case I gave it to them. That was bloody hard at the same time as milk was coming in, recovering from a section, house full of know).

Afterwards, when mine were in special care, I visited from 8am to 6pm. I expressed every 3 hours, day and night. Just doing that bit (less than you are currently doing) was exhausting, and my milk supply became insufficient eventually. Rest is ABSOLUTELY essential if you want to b/f even partially, and also it is essential for you to be able to hit the ground running when they come home.

That's why I say I think your husband is right - he genuinely is helping by trying to make you rest! But he is also the father of your children and has their best interests at heart the same as you do. He just thinks differently, as you acknowledge. Try to hear him in this, even if you disagree, because it's only the beginning of their lives and you will want to be able to come to mutual decisions about all sorts of aspects of childcare going forward.

Best of luck. FWIW my twins turned two recently and you would never know in any way that they had been so tiny and premature when they were born. I do think back to the special care days very fondly, because the care we all got was superlative and set us up for everything that followed. It won't last forever, it really will fly by. I know that anything that happened in the world in March 2011 basically passed me by because special care was my whole world for that time!

Chigertick Sun 05-May-13 20:45:16

Another one who's been there - my twins were born at 33+1 and were in SCBU for 3 weeks.
They came home with feeding tubes and my DH and I trained to feed them this way as well as doing all their cares.
They has their tubes until they were term (DS) and term plus 2 weeks (DD). When we'd established mixed feeding.
Like you I wanted to spend every available moment with the DTs and as far as humanely possible I did.
I didn't want to look back and wish I'd spent more time - I knew I'd only be at home worrying and going out of my mind so it felt right for me.
No two parents' experiences of SCBU are the same, but it is a scary, lonely time even with lots of support and brilliant staff.
Don't be afraid to ask for help for yourself and do look after yourself - eating and drinking enough (it's hot in there!) and resting too.
They'll be home before you know it - then the fun begins smile

Rowan1204 Sun 05-May-13 10:53:35

Hi collector,

I dont have any experience to share but i soon will as i have now been told my twins are coming out at 32 weeks in ten days tine due to some complications. I am dreading it tbh but i just wanted to say hang in there, stay strong and they will be home with you soon. I hope it goes quicker for you all.

I also wanted to wish you a huge congratulations on their arrival. Although you may not have expected them to come so early, you have done an amazing thing growing two babies for so long. You should be so proud of yourself.

I think i will feel the sane about all the questions etc. I can imagine the constant updating must be exhausting. Im thinkingof perhaps doing a weekly group text to update people on the twins progress so that you get everyone in one hit! Perhaps attach a pic. Obviously close family /friends will have mire regular but could do the same thing just every other day?
Thinking of you and happy to be scbu buddy if you need someone - not long till im in the same boat xxx

DeepRedBetty Sun 05-May-13 10:07:40

Oh and the answer when some prat says 'So what's it like to have twins?' is 'Dunno, what's it like to only have one at a time?'

Try not to clock over the head people who say 'Are they identical?' when one's a brown haired boy and the other's a blonde girl.

Or people who say 'Ooo they're not identical!' (Yes thanks, strangely enough I'd noticed that too).

Or 'Double Trouble ha ha ha' (Gosh how witty, no-one's ever said that before)

xx DRB

DeepRedBetty Sun 05-May-13 10:03:13

I'm welling up, you're reminding me of how shitty it was sometimes for those four weeks. But I forgot it very quickly, when I got them home. I'm sure the three weeks of peaceful nights helped to give me the strength to cope with the many unpeaceful nights later.

You should be able to get free or reduced parking, do nag PALS if the ward don't seem to be able to help.

BHouse Sun 05-May-13 09:57:03

My DD was born at 29 weeks but had lots of difficulties and was in for 4 months. I, and then she, was also moved between different hospitals 4 times. It was horrendous.
My DD had many issues, so I had to take one day at a time, it really was one step forward, one step back.
Try to get into a routine, I think that helps a lot.
Whenever I was there I read to her (we got through a lot of books!) - you have to have something to do and the nurses were so busy I was unable to hold her every day even when she was well enough.
Please ask about the car parking - surely there is a long term ticket?
Accept that nobody has any idea what this is like unless they have done it themselves.
I expressed for England and found it good to have something actually useful to do.
Best of luck with it all.

CollectorofCookbooks Sun 05-May-13 09:40:06

Thanks so much everyone, it's lovely to know that I'm not alone.

DH and I are so snappy with one another, it's horrid. He doesn't seem to understand at all, and he's a lovely lovely man, this isn't like him at all. I was crying in the car yesterday on our way to the hospital (leaving 2 hours later than i wanted to in the first place because he persuaded me) because there was a traffic jam and it was just so frustrating being so close yet it taking so long to get there, and whilst he was very sweet you could see him thinking what's the big deal? Then of course we got there and as we walked into the unit another mum came out and said 'oooh, you're in trouble, they've been looking for you' so I immediately thought something was wrong and went dashing in - he didn't hear her, couldn't understand why I got all teary again when the nurses asked where we'd been (I had phoned and said we'd be in at this time, it wasn't like they didn't know) - turns out they'd been waiting for us to weigh them! I know, it's a matter of communication - an we're normally really good at that - but like a PP said, because I haven't got them with me it's like I'm meant to be acting normally and he keeps forgetting this. And if he tells me one more time how tired he is I may very well not be responsible for my actions... He'll have a rude shock when they're home. In a way I'm looking forward to him going back to work on Tuesday as I can then do full days at the hospital without him 'helping' by making me rest. And on top of all that, I was diagnosed with an infection both internally and of my stitches yesterday - at least it's me, not the girls.

Phew, sorry about that major rant. He is wonderful, honest, he's just coping as he knows how and it's the opposite to how I do!

Our weekly car park pass costs £29 - horrendous! And the hospital is 10 miles away, but they're in the best possible place, the unit is wonderful and the staff have been fantastic.

We do have lots of home support, and my parents are just in the next village, but I agree with whoever wanted to clock their SIL - I my mother tells me one more time that it's a positive they're in SCBU because then they'll be in a routine when they come home....Grrr.... I'm writing everything down, don't want to forget a thing, they change so quickly. I found the birth such an overwhelmingly positive experience, despite the way it ended up happening being contrary to what I'd hoped for, and will keep an eye out for PND - I've had depression in the past so I know the signs.

This is now the longest post so I'll sign off. But thank you so much, every word you've typed made me feel better and more normal for feeling the way I do.

doublecakeplease Sat 04-May-13 22:35:56

Congratulations! I've been there too and remember the physical ache of walking away from the hospital when I was discharged. (i wanted to punch sil who tried to cheer me up by telling me how lucky i was to be going home without a screaming baby to keep me awake)

I second what others have said - be there as much as you need to be but do take regular breaks. I was there from 7.30am till at least 9pm because i felt like i needed to be. Tbh I found it quite easy to fall into the routine of it and struggled being outside once DS was discharged.

He was readmitted after a fortnight at home and i managed it differently (i was allowed to stay with him for the 3 weeks he was readmitted for so slightly different)

I went outside, in daylight, every day on my own - even if it was just 10 mins to the shop / around the carpark

I took breaks when DP came so he could have time alone with DS too and DP stayed over on Friday nights and i went home

Take care of you because you need to be fighting fit. Drink loads of water, eat properly and get fresh air.

Oh and if you're using the carpark ours did long stay permits -£10 for the week. We'd have been bankrupt if someone hadn't mentioned it!!

Mandy21 Sat 04-May-13 22:21:43

Congratulations first of all. You have 2 babies and they'll be home soon, they just need to feed and grow.

My top tip - keep a diary. Gives you something to do whilst you're sat next to their incubators / listening to the beeps - just little things like how much milk they're having, whether you had skin to skin, any funny things (in our case this was pooing each time Daddy tried to do a nappy change), any positive comments the doctors / nurses made. I found this very useful when occasionally either of them had a bad day - ok, they were having a temporary blip but the diary meant I could look back and see how far they'd come. I've also re-read a couple of times over the years and its made me come to terms with how everything panned out.

I'm kind of the opposite to your DH -- yes you do have to look after yourself but if you feel like you need to be there, then be there. I was there 7am - 11pm for 8 weeks. I just needed that link - I needed to know what was going on, be visible to the doctors etc so I felt involved in their care. I think for me too it meant I didn't have to spend any time at home (which I found very hard). Does the hospital have a parents room? Ours had a little kitchen and a TV room) so I could still be at hospital but take a break for a coffee etc.

I agree with what another poster has said - see if you can delegate everything else for the time being. My parents came up to stay when I was discharged and I literally said - my job is the babies, cleaning, food shopping, laundry etc it will all have to wait or someone else will have to do it. Looking back I''m a bit embarrassed about that blush but its how I got through it.

Finally take it a day at a time. For me (my twins were born at 27+6 and we were told we'd probably get to take them home around their due date), I was overwhelmed (think I was actually in shock for a while) at the thought of spending 12 weeks / 3 months at the hospital. But once we'd got over the really early stage, and fallen into a kind of routine, it went quite quickly, but we had to think about next day, and then thee day after that (rather than their due date).

Finally (sorry, this has got quite long!) as someone else has said, we were in a specialist unit first, then transferred to our local SCBU and in both cases, the medical staff were unbelievable. Relax (as far as you can) in the knowledge that the staff are amazing - the most dedicated and professional doctors / nurses you'll come across.

Good luck smile

MissSusan Sat 04-May-13 13:22:25

Congratulations, my 2 were born at 30 weeks. They spent 5 weeks in hospital. I agree with gardenpixie they do tend to give you a longer discharge date so that anything earlier is a bonus.
I found going home with out them the hardest bit, after that I had good days and hard days.
I still remember that horrible ache when you lie in bed at night with out your babies, being a Mum but not feeling like one - its horrible.

How much time are you spending there ?
I used to go after the Dr.s rounds at about 11 then leave around 7ish. I would pop out for lunch and coffee throughout the day, but after a while got in to the swing of doing their cares and feeds, and wanted to be there as much as possible to do it.
There is no right or wrong amount of time to be at the hospital, just do what feels right for you.

Do try to get some rest though, I know its easier said then done.
If people offer to help, ask them to cook a couple of extra meals to pop in the fridge / freezer to save you cooking.
Every night away from your babies is another step to getting them home. You will get there.

gardenpixie32 Sat 04-May-13 09:38:13

Congratulations Collector!

My twins were born at 34 weeks and spent 4 days in NICU & 9 in SCBU. I remember it like it was yesterday. I hated every minute of it. I was discharged after 4 days and I cried the whole way home. I also remember crying and getting very upset in the shower one morning. It is a tough tough time. Having this massive bump then suddenly being home with no babies is so hard. I found it very difficult to establish BF in the SCBU and I hated that I couldn't bond with my babies as well as I wanted to. Thinking back to those days even upsets me now but your babies will be home with you soon. Try to focus on that.

Hopefully your babies will be home sooner than 6 weeks. They often tend to give you a date much further on and most babies are home sooner than that. My cousins triplets were born at 32+1 and were home in 4 weeks. Did you manage to get steroid injections before they were born?

Enjoy cuddling and getting to know your babies and leave everything else for someone else to sort out.

I don't have any advice, just a bucket full of understanding and sympathy.

MeHearty Sat 04-May-13 08:36:15

Hi OP, congratulations! I had my ds at 31 weeks four years ago but can remember those scbu days as if they were yesterday. As you say - it is like a physical pain being away from them. I dealt with it by spending all day everyday at the hospital and didn't listen to people saying I should be at home resting away from him - no one would say that to anyone with a term newborn! Do as much kangaroo care as they will let you - physical closeness is really important hormonally whether breastfeeding or not. Eat lots and keep your strength up - arrange for visitors to come and see you at mealtimes so you don't get too isolated. Like others I developed PND when I got home - really common in prem mums so look out for signs. Have a look at the BLISS website - they give some really useful advice, and also have some local groups you can attend to chat to others going through similar things. Hope you get them home soon!

LadyBarlow Sat 04-May-13 07:53:37

God,I remember how that feels so clearly. DS was born at 30 weeks & it was a really tough few weeks in SCBU, not helped by the fact he was in a hospital 10 miles from where we live so travelling was difficult.
I was feeling exactly like you & still to this day (10 yrs later) walking out of the hospital without my baby was the hardest thing I've ever done sad I felt so weird having cards, bouquets of flowers etc, like you I couldn't put them up & I vividly remember putting a very expensive bouquet straight in the bin!!
I'm with you...but I'm a bit on your DHs side also, I think you need to be at the hospital but I do feel you shouldn't be there all day & you need to rest, eat healthily & look after yourself physically & emotionally. When your DTwins come home, you want to be firing on all cylinders!! please please talk to people, I suffered with PND & a local counselling service who deal with traumatic birth situations were vital for me- but I had to be practically dragged there by my best mate & DH as I was in total denial about the whole situation.
Trust the staff in SCBU - theyre amazing, take small steps each day & you'll get through this. I look now at my DS who can clear the contents of the fridge in minutes & can't quite believe its the same boy who weighed 2lb!! Please Pm me if you want to talk xx

Grumpla Sat 04-May-13 07:41:00

Congratulations! I hope your twins are home with you soon.

My lovely niece was in NICU and then SCBU. We all spent a lot of time at my SIL's doing laundry, hoovering & cooking. It meant that she could spend the most time with my niece and just eat & sleep at home, not have to worry about housework etc. Have you got any friends or family that might be able to help out like that? From a worried aunties point of view I can tell you that it was actually very helpful for me to feel that I could help in some way! I also used to deliver clothes, picnics etc to the hospital (and have a very quick peek at my niece whilst I was there!).

Can you ask one person to put together an email / text list? You can update them and they can share the info with the rest of your family / close friends so you are not having to repeat yourself loads.

Try and remember that you need to look after yourself as well as your babies so lots of healthy food and try and rest up when you can.

ariane5 Sat 04-May-13 07:31:20

Last april ds2 was in nicu and it was really difficult, like you I didn't know what to do with cards etc and put them away till he was home and well.

I was discharged after 3 days and hated leaving the hospital but was there every morning from 7 am and left at 10am as nicu was shut whilst drs did their rounds and it took 2-3hrs so I used that time to pop home/shower/eat/express milk then went back to hospital.
I must admit we were there till very late some nights as I couldn't bear to be away from ds.
The best advice I can give you is to try and eat as well as you can, rest as much as possible as it is tiring sitting up at hospital all day.
I wish you and your babies all the best x

CollectorofCookbooks Sat 04-May-13 07:23:30

Had my twins ten days ago at 33+2, they're simply gorgeous and doing well in SCBU. Likely to be in for at least another 4 weeks, possibly 6.

I was discharged on Thursday and walking away from them was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I'm finding people asking me about them and being kind and thoughtful so darn hard - I don't want to have to repeat all the information each time, I just want my babies home with me. I'm also struggling to make DH understand that I want to haunt the hospital - I know he's right that I need regular breaks but it's like a physical pain not to be with them. It's easier for him in a way I guess, he's been back at work, I've been there until this morning all day every day.

The cards and presents in the house are almost too much. I don't feel I can do anything with them til I've got them home. Everyone keeps saying I'm being really strong but I don't have an option not to be, if that makes sense?

Any tips would be very welcome - I need to try and get through positively.

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