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Very premature baby - how to welcome them?

(41 Posts)
tatt Sat 12-Jul-08 19:54:47

OH thinks it insensitive to send congratulation card now, when his survival is not certain. I worry that if we don't it will look we don't think his arrival should be celebrated. Family don't want anyone to visit right now so can't see how they are taking it and react accordingly.

sunnytimes Sat 12-Jul-08 20:14:20

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UnderRated Sat 12-Jul-08 20:14:25

I think a card of some sort would be nice - perhaps a blank one with your own message written in saying, "Welcome X, thinking of you all" or something?

I work with several families of very premature babies and they usually like their baby's arrival to be acknowledged.

Kayran Sat 12-Jul-08 20:15:01

I had premature twins; one survived, one did not. I was gutted when in hospital and everyone had cards, flowers, even big bloody balloons and I had... Nothing. Once my gorgeous boy died no one sent anything as they did not know whether it was okay to say congratulations for my stunning little girl or not. So I was left with nothing and felt very lonely and that no one cared. Silly but there you are. Even five years on I still wish I had something to acknowledge that even for short time we were blessed by two babies.. So buy a tiny little prem outfit (they will not have many things) and a beautiful card and put in the card exactly what you are feeling. We are so overjoyed your baby is here. We are wishing you and your little one lots of strength and good wishes for a swift home coming. Time enough for commiserations if it tragically goes wrong. She will really thank you for your good wishes I am certain.

tatt Sat 12-Jul-08 20:18:11

Sunnytimes, Underrated I really like the welcome, hoping to visit when you're strong enough combination. Thank you. I was going to visit soon anyway but plans are obviously on hold now.

gscrym Sat 12-Jul-08 20:18:35

I know someone who had a very prem baby. I was talking to her DH's brother who said 'I think we'll just wait till the baby's home to get a pressie'. I told him I would be buying a gift as I had done for anyother baby and sending a card. I didn't want the mum to feel like people were waiting for something to happen before welcoming her little one.

OverMyDeadBody Sat 12-Jul-08 20:19:20

tatt I had a prem baby and was in hospital for weeks with him and it was lovely getitng cards and gifts from people, even though his survival was uncertain. In such a traumatic time it was nice that some things that you expect to happen when you have a baby still happened, it was reassuring and comforting.

The prem clothes people brought where especially appreciated as obviously I had notihng that fit him. Also, some friends brought round cooked meals for my freezer and that was a godsend as obviously I had no time or inclination to cook.

Is the mother saying in hospital too? If so she might appreciate some good food brought into her, I know I did.

tatt Sat 12-Jul-08 20:20:32

Kayran - crossposted. He is too small for any clothes yet and I'm not sure if hospital allows flowers, I'll have to check what's permitted.

tatt Sat 12-Jul-08 20:22:03

yes mum is still at the hospital, birth is very recent.

PeachyBAHons Sat 12-Jul-08 20:22:32

i'd send the card, baby's presence is to celebrated evem if it does become short lived iyswim.

My sis appreciated gifts like photo albums when dn was in nicu,as she took o many pictures, pictures being all she had of him when she wasnt in nicu with him

tatt Sat 12-Jul-08 20:24:46

thank you - photo album is a good idea too.

OverMyDeadBody Sat 12-Jul-08 20:26:46

how about something nice for the mum then for while she's in hospital? I hated the time on hospital, felt like I'd been robbed of a normal birth experience, and appreciated when friends brought in chocs, flowers, and other luxury nibbles for me. sOMeone brought me a couple of big bottles of fruit smoothies, that was really nice as I didn't feel like eating but it gave me some much needed nutrients and energy.

myermay Sat 12-Jul-08 20:26:51

i wld send a card. Also i made my friend some meals to freeze and a few cakes too when her prem was in hospital - i'm sure cooking will be the last thing on there mind, and it will help them

PeachyBAHons Sat 12-Jul-08 20:30:31

guifts for mum v good idea

i used to post my sis big bundles of mags too (she herself was v ill for a while and often stuck in bed away from dn unable to see him)

Callieco Sat 12-Jul-08 20:31:32

Hi Tatt,

It's definitely not insensitive to acknowledge the baby's birth. My SCBU would not allow clothes from outside to be brought in anyway to cut down on cross-infection risk, but you could still get an outfit for the baby for when he hopefully comes home if that's something you would have done anyway, or maybe a soft toy if you don't feel comfortable with getting clothes for him. Even if the baby dies, as somebody else said, the parents will have evidence that the child lived and that the world recognised him while he was alive. If the mum is going between home and hospital, could you send flowers to her home instead.
Hope it turns out ok for your friend.

Callieco Sat 12-Jul-08 20:36:17

x-posted with everyone else! Cooking great idea or some high calories treats - I stuffed chocolate down all the time DS was in hospital, just needed the calories big time.

Kayran Sat 12-Jul-08 20:38:00

The one thing I would NOT put in the card is about 'we were hoping to visit' etc because then the mother might feel that you were having a dig at her for not allowing visitors. I know it might sound unreasonable but I did have exactly this from my best friend. She said she was upset that I did not want visitors to my husband and then he told me. Naturally I over reacted (moi?!) and thought 'she's upset...' Of course, what she meant was I wish I could visit and give you a shoulder to lean on. It is a very unnatural enviroment and you live so precariously that all you can think about is your little bundle.

Food is a very good idea. I practically stopped eating as they always seemed to deliver meals whilst I was away from the bedside.

Hubby bought me a cross stitch magazine that had a free gift on the front that had a little teddy sampler and the threads and the needle. I had never done that sort of thing before but it was for beginners and only should have taken a couple of hours but of course took me forever. That was nice as it gave me something to do. If not the magazine you can get really little sets from Tescos now. And just make it a teddy or something cute (lots of Winnie the pooh out there) and then if all is ok she can give it to baby. If not it served it's purpose in giving her a few minutes of freedom from worry.

babyjamas Sat 12-Jul-08 20:48:19

definitely send a congratulations card - dd2 was a 27 weeker - and just to have her acknowledged as any normal full term baby would have been - meant everything to me, whatever the outcome might have been. NICU and everything that goes with it is hard enough without thinking that people can't congratulate you on your new baby in case it dies.

Milco Sat 12-Jul-08 20:48:33

Hello Tatt

I know I would have wondered exactly the same in your position. Not sure how very premature your friend's baby is (maybe more than mine?) but as a mum of a recent 29+ weeker, I would definitely say yes to a card (and present if you like). Like OMDB I loved receiving cards and presents for my DS when he was still in hospital. His early arrival was totally unexpected and we were in a big state of shock, but I was really touched by all the well wishes we received, and somehow all the positive messages and congratulations made me feel more positive. It also helped us feel some of the joy and excitement which does come with a new baby, even one which is tiny and struggling in hospital, and made me feel more "normal" - like the new mum I expected to be, even when all was very stressful and uncertain.

Obviously everyone is different and it is difficult to know how your friend will be feeling. But I think it is very unlikely she will be hurt by a sincere message of congratulations/welcome and support, and she could well be hurt by hearing nothing, even if it is well-intentioned.

For what its worth, I loved clothes, toys, a momentoes box, books, anything really. And yes, chocolates, cakes and home-cooked meals were also a winner.

Hope this helps and all works out well for your friend and her little one

ScottishMummy Sat 12-Jul-08 21:00:52

i would send neutral card as acknowledgement of arrival, kind reassuring words for parents amd baby

maybe some size 0 prem nappies (boots,Mothercare,Tesco)maybe some prem clothes Boots Mothercare. hard to source and parents are tied up at NICU

tatt Sat 12-Jul-08 21:05:39

I think its Ok to mention visiting "when he's stonger" (hope so as I've sent the text). She knows I couldn't come immediately anyway (commitment with the chidlren and the distance, had talked of going next weekend) so wouldn't need to feel guilty about not wanting visitors yet.

The baby was only 25 weeks, so very premature, but apparently he's doing slightly better than expected.

Tiggiwinkle Sat 12-Jul-08 21:14:18

Yes, definitely send a card and present just as you normally would-DS3 was prem and very ill at birth, but it was very hurtful when his birth was not acknowledged. As others have said, you long for things to be normal at a very stressful time.

Kayran Sat 12-Jul-08 21:28:56

Oops sorry Tatt - complete reversal here - she will be touched that you are thinking of her and want to give her that shoulder to cry on wink.

findtheriver Sat 12-Jul-08 22:00:49

I had a premmie who thankfully survived, but those early days are a rollercoaster. I would second what kayran said - a card, and small item of clothing which will belong to the baby and will always be kept, whatever the outcome, would be a lovely idea. Even if the baby is too tiny for clothes, how about a hat? My baby wore a tiny hat right from the word go. I think there is something special about having a tiny item of clothing, however small, as it is something which actually belongs to the baby IYSWIM. And a card, just a pretty card with your own message inside is perhaps the more important thing of all. Take it from me, whether this baby survives or not, the parents will want more than anything for people to acknowledge that they have had a precious child.

bythepowerofgreyskull Sat 12-Jul-08 22:07:35

my friend had prem twin boys at 28 weeks.
I automatically sent a welcome to the world card and two little soft toys as I knew at best they would be in hospital for a while.

Sadly one of them died when he was 3 ays old.
I was annoyed at myself for jumping the gun, but on talking to my friend she was delighted to have some special things to put in his memory box. The little teddy took the final journey to the crematorium with him.

I would send something if you want to, what ever happens they have had a baby and he/she should be welcomed. IMO

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