Lizzie tells her story of how carrying her premature baby when they were finally able to be together helped them bond.
Unexpected premature delivery
My little boy was born at 26 weeks gestation with absolutely no warning. He arrived just 17 minutes after arriving in hospital in an ambulance. He spent nearly 13 weeks in two different hospitals. Eventually he came home on oxygen which he stayed on for a further 5 months. In that time he suffered from pneumonia so was readmitted to the high dependency unit. It was a really dramatic time.
Being physically apart was heart breaking
Through his time in the neonatal intensive care unit one of the hardest things for me was not being able to hold him all the time. For premature babies, being out of the incubator can be very tiring; this would often impact on his saturation levels. I carried his older sister almost constantly as a baby. It was heart-breaking not to be able to carry my premature baby, and having to be physically apart from him. It was incredibly difficult to leave him every night; but parents weren’t allowed to stay, and I needed time with my other child.
Carrying my premature baby
I was very nervous about carrying him when he came home as he was still on oxygen. However, I found a sling that worked for carrying premature babies and it saved my life. I struggled to bond with him initially due to the huge shock. So, being able to have him that close to me really helped us bond. It also meant that I was still able to get out and about with his older sister. I would have him on my front in the sling and the oxygen tank on my back; I could help her in her gymnastics class, changing her for swimming and walking our dogs, whilst carrying my tiny prem baby.
Holding him physically against me also helped to regulate his breathing. and meant I could literally feel it if he was struggling. I still carry him now nearly two years on from his discharge, when he lets me as he is very independent! There are few things I like more than him falling asleep in the sling as we walk our dogs
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