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What to expect NICU

(9 Posts)
Twinmummytobe Wed 03-May-17 10:46:50


I'm due to have a caesarean for my twins in the next few weeks due to FGR (currently 29+3). I was wondering if anyone could help me prepare for what to expect in NICU. One is currently 2lbs 2 and the other is 3lbs 2.


happysunr1se Wed 03-May-17 23:49:13

My dd was born at 30 weeks due to iugr; in uterine growth retardation caused by preeclampsia.

She was in hospital for almost 2 months. It was a long slog but she was not ill in any other way so there were no complications.

In preparation for premature delivery I was given steroid injections and my dh and I were shown around the neonatal unit. I also started to manually collect and freeze collostrum. I was provided with leaflets, syringes to collect it in as you only get a few drops each time and shown how to store it in the nicu freezer ready for my dd.

When my dd was delivered by csection my dh and mum were allowed to see her in the theatre antechamber for a few seconds before she was taken to nicu.

I then went into recovery and did not see my dd until the next day but my dh and mum were able to visit nicu before me.

When i first visited my dd i knew vaguely what to expect from the tour we had been given, but my emotions were all over the place and i could not stop crying and i have a vivid memory of being very embarrased to be there in that state.

Generally babys born at 30+ weeks have an excellent rate of survival.
At that age gestation the babys are normally only wearing a nappy and will be nested in rolled up towels or blankets. They may be covered with a bubblewrap blanket in a heated incubator with holes in the side which you can open. My dd had many tubes and wires attached; heartrate monitor, i.v., cpap breathing apperatus, under bluelight for jaundice. This is all pretty normal.

You will have to wash your hand a lot, (get a good handcream) you are allowed to take photos of your babies. If you can at all it is best to give at least some breastmilk as it prevents horrible gut issues. You should be able to rent cheaply a hospital grade breast pump. There may be cheap or free on site accomodation for you to be close by if you are discharged yourself.

As a parent you will be able to visit whenever you want (even in the middle of the night) but may be asked to leave the room when the drs do their rounds to respect privacy. You will be able to hold your babies quite quickly even if there are wires and tubes. Nicu nurses will help you but they want to encourage the parents to do the caring to create the bond so you will be expected to change nappys and tube feed if they have a tube into their stomachs. Tiny babys are delicate and it can be scary, but they will benefit greatly from your touch; laying your hand quietly on their head or back.

It was difficult for me to be on the postnatal ward with all the other mums and babys but nicu units normally will have a lounge you can use to get away from the other people.

My main tip would be to take care of yourself. The babys in the Nicu are very well cared for, but after the baby is out the mother is forgotten about sometimes it seems. My situation was I didnt want to be in the hospital anymore. I was admitted 2 weeks before and remained there until 2 weeks after so i had really had enough.

I wanted to see my dd but i didnt want to camp out there after i had been discharged like other mothers did. Whatever you feel like doing is fine and dont feel guilty about it.

Sorry for the long post. It happened to me almost 3 years ago, but I will never forget it. There are many more details I can recall but probably everyones experience will be different.

There's a lot of support available in the nicu units through the experienced staff and also charities like Bliss so use them if you need to. I hope it goes ok for you all!

Twinmummytobe Thu 04-May-17 07:50:43

Hi just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story. It is a very honest account and I appreciate that. You've helped me mentally prepare for what is probably going to be the toughest few months. I'm glad your baby is ok smile

neonrainbow Thu 04-May-17 08:25:19

I sent you a private message.

bluebird1235 Sun 14-May-17 07:33:54

Hi there @Twinmummytobe. My twins were born spontaneously last week at 29+5 and what @happysunr1se described is basically what happened to me and my boys.

There are a lot of emotional moments but hopefully more and more of them will become good times. The wires are a bit daunting at first and it took me a little while to be comfortable handling the boys as they're so tiny but if you get involved in nappy chances and feeding you'll be surprised how quickly you pick it up. I am now getting my boys out for a cuddle by myself and it feels really great not to have to ask a nurse to help.

Definitely get some hand cream and if you're keen on breastfeeding either try to start expressing colostrum now (if you can) or look up how to do it. I understand some hospitals are more supportive and helpful than others in this department so it helps to know where your stuff. There's a great Facebook group called breastfeeding twins and triplets UK and there are lots of really knowledgable ladies on there and I've found it really helpful.

Good luck!

neonrainbow Sun 14-May-17 07:44:32

Congratulations on your twins bluebird.

Carlz84 Mon 12-Jun-17 10:25:40

Hi OP,

My DC was born last Thursday by C-section at just under 30 weeks gestation weighing 2.3lbs following nearly a week stay in hospital due to my placenta not working properly. I was discharged yesterday and he is currently being very well cared for by the SCBU staff.

I would suggest that you arrange a tour around SCBU/NICU before your twins are born to get an idea of what to expect. It's really not as scary as you may think- the high dependancy room is actually quite calm and all the machines are not that scary. There should also be other rooms for you and your family to use, such as a feeding room for you to express and a kitchen. The nurses in our unit are amazing and know exactly what my DC needs. You should be allowed to visit 24/7 and call anytime you want for an update. Our visiting times are really generous, which will make it hard as it means either my DH or I have to be their for 6 hours of the day if we're having visitors. I would advise you try to cluster the visiting, enabling you and your DH to have some time to yourselves or at home.

Your babies are likely to need some help from CPAP, they may need a feeding tube or a long line as they will be too small to feed normally. They will have regular tests such as bloods. If you've been given steroid injections (ouch!) they should help with their lung function. If you've had a magnesium drip this should help protect their brain.

Your emotions are going to be all over the place. I'm personally so sick of the hospital after my stay of a week and a half and just wanted to go home and put my feet up, which makes me feel so guilty because I feel like I should be with my DC all day! Try to do as much as you can for your twins- changing their nappies, cleaning them, cuddling them as this will help you bond.

Best of luck- I'm sure they will do great.

PaulM01 Wed 05-Jul-17 12:22:10

Reading all the above rings true and i was only a visiting father when my son was born. But by wife was in there for 10 weeks and it was a very lonely time for her. I would say, if you notice something when you are in there, mention it. Don't leave it. You know your babies.

PaulM01 Wed 05-Jul-17 12:37:14

Also, pretty sure IUGR stands for Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction not Retardation. That would be an awful thing to say.

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