Full term babies in NICU or SCBU?

(22 Posts)
pebble82 Sun 02-Nov-14 23:37:29

I'm struggling to find a group of people who have "big" babies in neonatal. All the threads seem to be for premature babies. My DD was 9lb 6oz and 40 weeks+11 when born. She was delivered by EMCS and had serious meconium inhalation as well as swallowing it. That resulted in a critical few days in ICU to unstick her lungs and treat infection. Fortunately she is making a remarkable recovery but is still in SCBU. I'm looking to find other mums dealing with the issues of having a baby in hospital. As a big baby she has higher feeding demands than that of a premature baby- demands that far outweigh my measly expressing ability! Just hoping to share experiences with others and see if anyone has success stories, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding which I'm currently failing miserably at! Also dealing with the emotions of expecting a bouncing healthy baby and having things drastically change.

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Mamab33 Sun 02-Nov-14 23:47:55

It is rough. You know that they are receiving great care but as a parent it is so difficult. It is generally possible to actually breastfeed rather than just expressing in these circumstances. Discuss your concerns with the SCBU midwife. Hopefully some skin to skin and direct feeding will help you to get your supply established and a better chance to bond with your baby. Congratulations on your new arrival!

5madthings Sun 02-Nov-14 23:49:11

I don't have this experience myself but a friend did, her little boy had meconium inhalation, he actually ended up on ecmo? And they were told he may not survive. Anyway he is now just over one years old and absolutely perfect!

He spent five days? I think on the ecmo and then a few mote weeks in special care, he went home on oxygen but he was able to bfeed. Not sure whether mum had issues wwith bfeeding.

I guess the best thing you can do is to keep expressing, every drop will help your little one.

Are you able to do skin to skin? Is baby tube Fed? Are you able to put baby to the breast?

Even with a difficult start it is ccertainly possible to bfeed as my friend did.

Maybe tiktok can offer some aadvice re expressing etc. And does the hospital have anyone who offers bfeeding support?

Good luck hope baby is well and home soon xxx

EmbarrassedPossessed Sun 02-Nov-14 23:58:47

My DS was 9lbs 13oz when born by EMCS at 40 + 12. He acquired Group B Strep during my prolonged attempted induction after my waters broke, and was in SCBU within minutes of being born. Initially meningitis was suspected as he had a spreading non-blanching rash. He got better very quickly fortunately and was in the transitional care ward after 5 days and home after 7.

Breastfeeding was very difficult to begin with, and I was very dispirited with the titchy amounts of colostrum that I could express to begin with. As he was used to feeding from a NG feeding tube he was very unwilling to latch on and feed. I got some good support from the nurses on SCBU - they would feed him via the NG tube whilst I latched him on, to get him used to the idea of feeding directly.

Things got a lot better with breastfeeding once we got home, as we could relax and the pressure was off a bit. We left hospital essentially mixed feeding, and gradually over the next 6 weeks we managed to reduce the amount of formula and get to 100% breastfeeding. I then fed him until 16 months ish, when he self weaned.

It is a big shock to not have the healthy baby that most new mums have, to take home within a day or two. Being on the post natal ward alone without my baby was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. It felt like deliberate torture to make me be in the same room as all the mums with healthy babies. Having to also witness the lumbar punctures, cannulas, injections, NG tubes etc is also a shock as it isn't what you expect. However, at some point soon, you will be home with your healthy baby and you can begin to catch up with all the emotions that you had to skip at the beginning.

callamia Mon 03-Nov-14 00:12:49

I sent through this a year ago. I had an overdue 8lb 7 baby, who had wet lungs and needed to dry out. He was tube and bottle-fed, and I'm still cross about this. If I'd known what I know now, I wouldn't have bottle-fed because it made learning to breastfeed so bloody difficult. However, after two miserable weeks of tears and trying, we got there, and I still breastfeed now.

In hospital, I hand expressed to give him as much of my milk as I could. I was lucky to be given a private room on postnatal, so I could do it in relative privacy. When DS came out at 5 days, we worked hard to up my supply - just lots and lots of feeding. I ate a lot of cake.

You shouldn't be in special care for too long, and the effects shouldn't be long-lasting. I don't think our early days have has any effect on DS, even though I couldn't hold him much for those first few days.

When you do get out, go to breastfeeding cafes. I can't recommend them enough. I was listened to, understood and helped so much.

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby, I hope you're all home together soon.

pebble82 Mon 03-Nov-14 04:17:27

Thanks all. I've had great advice from nurses and midwives. Plus some terrible advice from a bolshy breastfeeding "expert" who I don't think listened to me saying my baby was in NICU. I think I just needed to hear it from real mums. It's tough going!

We did the putting to the breast when tube feeding trick but a no go. She's off the tube now so trying offering breast first then bottle. She'll latch for a second or two before screaming and getting out of control. Next tactic will be to give her the bit I've managed to express from the bottle to take the edge off the hunger then offer her the breast. Will start that later today.

As for emotions. I certainly agree with the comment about it being torture on the postnatal ward with other babies around. I too was given a private room which was good but acted as a reminder of the lack of baby next to me. Especially hearing others' cry at night. One morning I broke down in uncontrollable tears and a cleaner found me. She dashed out for a midwife who just got me a tissue and told me I needed to be stronger than that. I know she was trying to help and she wasn't being cruel but I just wanted someone to talk to. She just needed to get back to her busy ward duties though. Understandable but no use to me.

I have not even begun to deal with the fact DD could have died. It's only really sinking in the more nurses comment on her being a miracle and stressing how very poorly she's been. I lived through it, listened to all the doctor's updates but somehow have no real recollection of the details. I'm scared that when we get her home and I look at how happy we all are it's going to hit me like a freight train and I'll fall to pieces.

I feel guilty for not feeling like a mum in the first 48 hours. With all the tubes and machines I had no idea what she looked like. She didn't feel like mine and I didn't see her eyes open or even see her move for 3 days. You're meant to feel like you couldn't love anything more in the world but that is just building for me each day. It wasn't instant. I now feel so much protection and love for her and it hurts to leave her behind in hospital each evening. With this feeling growing day by day it's all a bit overwhelming and I'm already living in fear of losing her. I don't want it to make me an overprotective parent who smothers her and stops her trying new experiences as she grows up.

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politics31 Mon 03-Nov-14 04:38:00

Hi Pebble, I went through the exact same experience as you 10 weeks ago. DS was born at 40+15 and had an infection requiring a SCBU stay. We didn't get breastfeeding established and I'm still wrestling with that (although there were other issues that didn't help). I would definitely persevere, I regret stopping when I did, although I was emotionally and physically exhausted and needed too for my own health.

Bringing him home was terrifying and both myself and DH have found it affected us more than we thought as parenthood didn't start like it did for everyone else. I found it really hard when he went back to work, I suddenly had thinking time to process it and that's when it started to affect me. I struggled to bond at first, I didn't get that overwhelming love but it's coming and that's making it better. I found talking helped, I told everyone my story and each time I said it the pain got a little less, I think I'll always struggle with it but it does get better, hang in there ��

Mamab33 Mon 03-Nov-14 06:07:36

You are doing so well. Your feeding plan sounds good too. It is no wonder that you feel as you do. It is traumatic! Try to be kind to yourself. It sounds like your daughter is doing well and hopefully will be home with you soon. Perhaps expressing at night could encourage your supply in the meantime? Something to do with hormones encouraging production. Do they have curtains in SCBU? Try to get some privacy and skin to skin with Dd even when not feeding. Just bonding will help you both and encourage your supply. Good luck OP. We are thinking of you.

pebble82 Mon 03-Nov-14 07:24:58

Doing all those things. Expressing cotside, having "kangaroo care" time and I wake up at 3.30am each night to express. At least I know I'm doing absolutely everything possible to succeed. If it doesn't work it wasn't for lack of trying.

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nappiesandnaptimes Mon 03-Nov-14 07:34:41

Dd1 was born at 41wks by emcs weighing 9lb9oz. She inhaled meconium and had breathing difficulties and was on nicu for seven days. She will be 4 in December and is in excellent health and currently complaining because I won't let her wear her halloween costume to nursery! I remember feeling verybout of place on nicu as all the other babies were 1 or 2lbs and fitted in the palm of the consultants hand! Also because she was full size her cry was a lot loader than that of the tiny babies! Staff were amazing though. I was also ill so they wheeled my bed in to her everyday! I expressed for the first 5 days the bf her for the first time when she moved to the nicu nursery.

pebble82 Mon 03-Nov-14 08:39:19

Yes it's strange when other babies look so much more delicate. Almost makes me feel like a fraud when other mums on the unit ask her birth weight. Normally the reaction to 9lb 6oz us "oooh, good healthy weight".

It has been good meeting and talking to other families in the parent room in hospital but their stories are often so much different to mine that I can't relate. Everyone is different of course, no story is alike but a lot of them are coming to terms with having a baby before they really ever felt pregnant. Quite a few babies were born at 27-29 weeks gestation. It is a real eye opener to see the things that can be done now. Truly mind-blowing.

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politics31 Mon 03-Nov-14 14:43:52

I remember my mum saying to me before DS was born that it would be good if I had a big baby (growth scan showed him to be big - he ended up being 9lb 4) as it would be healthier. It still happened so birth weight is not an indicator of health! You are most certainly not a fraud, I think even one day in that place is traumatic, let alone longer.

With regards to practical support, a colleague of mine had her baby in SCBU (for longer and she was premature) but she was able to access counselling through BLISS, I don't know if that is available to full term mothers but it might be worth looking into if you might find it helpful. She has also just set up a support group for parents of babies in SCBU in her hospital, maybe yours has something similar which might have other mothers in the same position? I didn't meet anyone else in hospital that went through the same issues as me although there was another mum in my antenatal group that went through something similar, the nurses may be able to help you make contacts as well. I'm thinking of you smile

pebble82 Mon 03-Nov-14 23:41:31

I've seen Bliss posters around the hospital so will take a look.

Well, good news, today she decided was the day she'd start breastfeeding. Not only did she latch on as soon as I tried her, she fed for 15 mins non stop, slept for 3 hours, woke up, fed for another 15 mins! She then became a bit grumpy but eventually went back to sleep for 3 hours (4 hours between feeds) then I woke her and she did another 15 mins on the breast. Can't believe it. Something just clicked! Hope it stays that way.

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politics31 Tue 04-Nov-14 15:03:32

That's great news! So pleased things are on the up. smile

TeaandHobnobs Tue 04-Nov-14 15:15:10

Sounds like great progress there pebble smile

Absolutely do take a look at BLISS - their tag line is "babies born too soon, too small, too sick" so it is for all babies requiring special care at birth.

Can you find out if your neonatal unit has its own psychologist? Mine did, and talking to her helped me tremendously, and got me on the way to getting counselling (which I desperately needed). You could also ask your midwife (I'm assuming you are still under their care at the moment? or if not, your HV) to assist in getting you a referral.

Wishing you and your little one all the best thanks

5madthings Tue 04-Nov-14 17:38:42

Yay brilliant news!

pebble82 Tue 04-Nov-14 22:35:17

Today they gave me details of a support group for parents of babies discharged from NICU or SCBU that meets in a local cafe once a month. Think I'll go down to that once we're home. I'm optimistically thinking that being given that info means they think she'll be out soon. Probably reading too much into it though.

Day 2 of breastfeeding on demand went ok. It's tough seeing her so upset and hungry as my body is catching up to her feeding requirements but I'm led to believe my supply will increase to match her hunger in a few days.

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5madthings Tue 04-Nov-14 22:36:03

It def will! You are doing great. Hope she is home soon smile

penguinthermometer Tue 04-Nov-14 22:48:14

Don't worry about your supply, just keep expressing and the more she feeds the more it will build. Also bear in mind that the stress and trauma to you may well have delayed your milk coming in fully (I had a traumatic labour, though thankfully DD just escaped SCBU - but it took nearly 6 days for my milk to come in fully, and no-one explained to me that it can be delayed coming in if you are suffering from shock or stress). As long as you keep on with some breastfeeding you can build your supply up when she is able to breastfeed more and more. Keep it up! cake flowers

Jojay Tue 04-Nov-14 22:53:13

You're doing brilliantly, and it's great that the feeding is going so well.

My story is a bit different but it has a happy ending grin

My twins were born at 38 weeks, which is pretty good for twins and not considered prem. Ds was 7lb3oz so pretty huge for a twin and looked a bit of a fraud in scbu, borusting out of the teeny babygro they'd put him in! They were born after a pretty traumatic emcs with me under ga. Ds was well enough to visit me on the ward that night but dd wasn't, so i didn't meet her until the next day.

i remember sobbing in bed at about 5am the next morning as everyone else had their babies with them except me sad, so they put me in a private room after that. I also remember still having their brand new sleepsuits with me as they were whisked away and then dressed into the hospital's baby clothes while i was still under the ga. It seems silly to get upset over that but at the time I was an emotional wreck and meeting my baby for the first time in someone else's clothes was horrid.

Anyway, then happy ending is that despite being tube fed, having bottles and a bit of formula in the early days (there was no way I could pump enough for two), me having a section and DD was pretty tiny, they latched on like pro's from day 4 ish and I fed them both until they were two. My supply kept up, just about, and they're bouncing 3 yo's now.

Those early days are such a rollercoaster but in time those memories will fade, to be replaced by many more lovely ones.

golemmings Wed 05-Nov-14 00:11:31

I've been there too. DS was 9lb 8, 40+14 and born with a low heart rate, needed resuscitation, abysmal apgar scores, poor tone, fitting, admitted to NICU at a few hours old with suspected meningitis. He was in a 6 bed ward and weighed more than the other babies put together!

I expressed for the first couple of days whilst he was tube fed and after 24 hours I was allowed to bf him. On day 3 he was allowed back onto the post natal ward with me but kept in because he was still on abs.

It was hard. Really hard. I was utterly traumatized although everyone seemed to think I should be fine because he had survived. It took me over a year to get over it but now he's 3 and utterly fabulous with no ongoing issues.

I'm sorry you're having to go through this but it really does got better.

pebble82 Thu 06-Nov-14 23:34:24

Jojay they dressed my DD in hospital clothes the day she left ICU for High Dependency and was out of the incubator. I felt upset too and made sure the next day she had her own clothes on. It does sound silly but it really does matter. When babies are away from us we cling onto the smallest things that make them feel like ours. Another mum I met in the hospital felt the same. Nurses really should ask first as it seems it's quite a common thing mums get annoyed about.

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