When I went into labour at nearly 41 weeks, I had no reason to think my baby would be admitted to NNU. I’d had a very straight forward pregnancy and the thought of NNU hadn’t even entered my mind. I had attended a hypnobirthing weekend and NCT classes and there was no mention of what happens when a baby is born poorly or NNU so it was a real shock.
Shortly after my son was born he was having difficulty breathing and it turned out that he had very high infection levels. I was taken to theatre for my own complications and while I was there he was admitted to NNU. I wasn’t able to go and see him for 12 hours, and it was such a shock seeing him in an incubator with oxygen and feeding tubes. I also felt out of place because my son was so much bigger than the other babies.
I found I needed quite a lot of emotional support while I was on the unit, and I think that was partly because it was all so unexpected. We spent a week on the unit before we were able to go home, and it was a short but very intense stay, and an experience that will never leave me.
I am now a member of the SNUG Parent Panel and I’m really passionate about making sure there is support for all parents including full term parents. I am also passionate about making sure that parents who want to breastfeed are given all the support and tools they need – after my son was tube fed for a week, it was really difficult to establish breastfeeding and it took 8 weeks before we finally made it work, but I ended up breastfeeding him for 22 months which I never would have thought was possible when we were in hospital!