Mum shares her touching story of being a NICU mum and parent to Premmie Twins.
Terry-Ann Tunks shares that on the 27th of February 2017 her twin girls, Cadence Hope and Tori Faith, were born prematurely at 26+2 weeks…
Terry -Ann continues, “This was the most beautiful and scariest day of my life!
“The reality of our situation hit me hard after I saw my tiny babies weighing 830 grams and 802 grams fighting for their lives the very first time. Would they survive?
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“No one would answer this question.
“All I had was hope, faith and love.
“Our journey to have these two miracles had been far from easy and a very high-risk pregnancy had not been normal or enjoyable for me by any means. I had a cervical cerclage placed at 18 weeks with only 9mm of funnelled cervix left. There was 10 weeks of bed rest, Hyperemesis gravidarum and in the end chorioamnionitis and an emergency Caesarean.
“Due to the infection my girls were very sick, and I did not get to hold them for two weeks. I was almost too scared to hold them when they were finally stable enough. But when I did I felt like a Mummy to them for the first time. I saw that their oxygen saturation levels increased, and I felt the connection I had longed for so much.
“Kangaroo Care also helped me with keeping up with the supply of breast milk my tiny babies needed so much. I believe so strongly in the benefits of Kangaroo Care. Not only for the babies but for Mums and Dads too!
“Some days the stress, the heartache of not being able to take your baby home with you is all too much and, in those moments, you can spend holding and cuddling your baby it can just bring you some form of peace just to get you through.
The NICU bond
“The NICU journey is hard and every baby and family experiences different trials and tribulations but we all share a common bond, you will never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option.”
“The day finally arrived the day I had imagined over and over in my head the day I would be able to take my babies home….
“I was so excited and so exhausted I was also very scared and extremely nervous, no monitors (the girls had been off them for a few days in hospital already) no Nurses or Doctors, it was so strange and surreal finally having my babies home in their bassinets that had been waiting for them and I was finally in charge of my own children ( as weird as that sounds) it meant we had all made it, we had survived.
Support is vital
“I was very lucky to have an amazing support system and had a group of Mums from the NICU with micro premmies to be able to talk to via messenger any time I freaked out it is important to have support in place when going home as having a Premature baby can become very isolating as due to health risks for you child you have limit contact with general visitors etc.
“It is also important for Mothers/Parents of Premature Babies to connect with community health services as community health nurses will visit families at home and check on Mums and Bubs.”
“Even though it was scary it was the best feeling to be home and have our family back together after spending such a long time in hospital I will never forget the relief I felt…. It was like I had been holding my breath the whole time and I could finally breath again.
“As I write this my girls are asleep soundly in their beds at home. They are now 14 months old (actual) and doing so well they make me so proud every day.
“There is light at the end of those dark days – never give up hope.”
Miracle Babies Foundation says when a mother is discharged from the hospital without her baby, most describe it as one of the hardest and most emotional days of their entire NICU journey.
Many have envisioned leaving hospital with a healthy baby, full of excitement for the future. Most are completely unprepared for the onslaught of emotions that surface when leaving the hospital with empty arms.
Walking into your house can feel strange and the first night at home can bring lots of tears and sadness. An empty nursery with new clothes and toys is another solemn reminder that your journey has taken an unexpected path.
Tips for coping with separation from your baby:
- Acknowledge your baby’s birth by sending out birth announcements or placing an announcement in the paper.
- Take photographs and start an album or a baby book.
- Journal through your thoughts and feelings to record your baby’s progress.
- Ask your baby’s nurse if you can take something home with your baby’s scent on it.
- Express breast milk; it can help you to feel close to your baby when you are away from them.
- Call the hospital at any time of day or night to check on your baby’s progress.
- Record yourself reading a book and leave it in the NICU for your baby to listen to when you are not there.
- Visit the hospital as often as you can.
The most important thing is to do whatever feels right for you.
The Grad Bag
Miracle Babies Foundation offers support services right from a threatened pregnancy, in-hospital and after discharge for many years beyond.
Support is also provided to grieving parents and at every step in their journey but there is one very significant time in their journey when parents could use some more support.
Suddenly, the routine that they become accustomed to in hospital is turned upside and they are alone at home, figuring out how to care for their new premature baby.
The Grad Bag is a new resource launched by Miracle Babies Foundation, supported by launch partner BabyLove Nappies.
The aim of this new resource is to support new parents in their transition home, whilst also helping them celebrate this very special milestone.
The emotion of going home can sometimes detract from the celebration.
This new resource will aptly reassure them in this big step in their journey and give them all of the information and tools they need to adjust at home, so that they can confidently enjoy this time together.
The Grad Bag will initially be introduced to limited hospitals, later to be launched more widely across Australia.
Miracle Babies Foundation: 24 hr support line – 1300 622 243
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