Henry was born at 32 weeks and 4 days weighing 4lb 12oz after my waters breaking 5 days beforehand. I was so unprepared I didn't even have a bag packed! We had a natural delivery and were incredibly lucky that our little boy came out kicking and screaming and we got a cuddle. Little did we know that we would have to wait 6 days to hold our little boy again. He was taken round to the NICU and we went to see him as soon as we could. It was scary seeing him hooked up to machines with wires attached to him. I wasnt prepared for the ICU and was really overwhelmed seeing these tiny babies but this soon became home to us and we got to know quite quickly what the different beeps meant.
Although I had the steroids to help with Henry's lungs he was was still struggling with his breathing so he had surfactant put into his lungs when he was three days old to try and help. He showed improvement after this and even came off oxygen completely after a week for nearly 48hours but he started to struggle so he went back on to low flow oxygen.
We were so desperate to have a cuddle from our little boy but we had to wait for him to have the umbilical lines taken out before we could so we made do with reading every day to him through his little doors. We went through the whole beatrix potter set a different book each day.
Day 4... probably the worst day. The day I got discharged from hospital. The day I couldn't wander up to see him with my little pot of milk I had been expressing for him. I had to leave the hospital and leave my boy behind. I knew he was in the best hands possible but my goodness my heart broke walking through those doors. The thought of someone else comforting him if he cried tore me apart. I must have called at least 4 times that night just to check he was ok
Day 6 arrived and what a day this was. We moved rooms... twice! We went to ICU2 and then to HDU all on the same day. But most importantly this was the day we got that long awaited cuddle! Today I felt like a proper mum I got to hold my baby and see my husband hold our son. Today my confidence grew that tiny bit more in handling this tiny human. Today I cried... but this time it was tears of joy not tears of fear or sadness.
Henry went from strength to strength in HDU and my confidence grew every day. He came out of his incubator and he wore clothes! Dressing a baby covered in wires was a challenge in itself! But we got there! And then something amazing happened, he latched on for a feed! All those hours sat on a pump expressing was worth it for this moment. He was trying and it was a step closer to going home. As he got stronger and more confident feeding we were moved room again. We were off to special care. Cue another panic from me! Was he ready for this? Was I ready for this? I had to trust the decision.
Special care was more relaxed we could take our little boy out of his cot and cuddle him whenever we wanted. I was really beginning to feel like a mum! The nurses and doctors were trying to wean Henry off his oxygen but he was clinging to a very small amount so the conversation was had that we needed to prepare for him to come home on oxygen. The thought of it terrified me. I couldn't change his nasal prongs I struggled getting them back in his nose when he had pulled them out in hospital what would I do without nurses help at home? But we practiced and we got there!
We roomed in for two nights and I knew we were so close to that magical day where we could do that special walk we had seen so many parents take... only the dreaded car seat challenge to go. I couldn't watch I was so nervous. This was the one thing potentially stopping us taking our boy home. He passed! He could go home the next day.
23 days we called NICU our home. A part of my life that changed me as a person. Those 23 days were full of ups and downs but we had got there we were the lucky ones we were going home. Our family life was beginning. Henry stayed on his home oxygen and he was fully weaned off it within 4 months. He is the happiest little boy and we are so incredibly blessed to have him in our lives.