The Angels of the Special Care Nursery
I haven't written a blog post for a while - having Essie home and working out our new routine with two children has meant I've been a little time poor. And to be honest, I wasn't sure anyone would be interested in reading about our life at home. However, having spoken with many people, including lovely people whom I'd never met previously, I have been encouraged to start typing again, so here I go.
I recently went to Essie's paediatrician check up at Frances Perry House and I called in to see the nurses in the Special Care Nursery. Stepping foot in to that nursery and smelling the familiar yet slightly agonising smell of the room brought memories flooding back of my 6 weeks that I spent in that space and made me want to tell you about a group of angels that run the nursery - the Nurses of the Special Care Nursery.
One of the toughest days in the journey with Essie thus far was the day I checked out of hospital but had to leave Essie behind. I vividly remember this day with Poppy also - I cried the entire way home in the car and as soon as I got home, all I wanted to do was go straight back to the hospital again. I remember walking in to Pop's room and turning on a little toy bear that sings a lullaby. Big mistake! I threw myself on the bed and cried and cried until I had such a severe headache I had to put myself to bed.
This time it was slightly easier and I emphasise slightly. Knowing Hayden was bringing Poppy with him to pick me up, I decided to take some time early in the morning to say my goodbyes to Essie. It was very quiet with the lights dimmed and only the overnight staff in the nursery, so I was able to sit quietly and talk to Essie, letting her know how much I love her and that although I wouldn't be with her all day and night like I should be, she was in amazing hands with the nurses and I would be in every day to feed and cuddle her. I shed a lot of tears and darling little Essie lay there in her humidicrib sleeping soundly. Of course it still broke my heart walking out of the hospital and leaving her, but this time I had to quietly whimper on the drive home as Poppy was in the back seat and I didn't want her to see how upset I was.
Unlike last time with Poppy where I demanded to go back to the hospital that night, I knew I needed to have a night at home with Pop to reassure her that life was normal. The next day I couldn't wait to get back in to the hospital to see Essie. Before I even had a chance to leave the house, Mary from the Special Care Nursery called to let me know that Essie had a good night and had put on some weight (about 65g).
I couldn't believe Mary had called so early in the morning and it immediately made me realise that these women are not just looking after our tiny, vulnerable babies, they are also looking after us, the mums and dads. These nurses really are angels. They are all softly spoken and happily talk you through how your baby has progressed since you last saw them. They give you direction when you're looking for it, yet somehow don't make you feel silly for asking dumb questions. They know every beep and alarm that goes off in the nursery and even though it could be a dangerous, life threatening situation they have to tend too, they never let it show on their faces as they pass you to look after the baby.
As the days and weeks went on and I spent days in the nursery, I got to know each of the nurses and learnt so much from them. One example of how great these nurses are was a couple of days in to Essie's life. She started to have 'apneas' where by she would effectively forget to breathe. The humidicrib is designed to pick up on this and start beeping when this occurred. The first time I saw this happen I was pretty shocked as a couple of the nurses came racing over, stopped the beeping and immediately put their hands on Essie to encourage her to take another breath. She did breathe again quickly, however it became clear that being so small she was going to need to be taught to keep breathing. The nurse that explained this to me must have seen the horror on my face as all I could think about was the fact that Essie had stopped breathing - albeit for a split second - but of course I wasn't focussing on that part! The kind nurse sat down with me and thoroughly explained why this takes place, what they do to stop this and how it is very common for premature babies. She then handed me a fabulous guide from Life's Little Treasures Foundation that I took back to my room, and after having another good cry I sat down with a cup of tea and started reading. It helped immensely to explain a lot of the terms that the nurses used and I was just so grateful that that nurse had given me her time and given me that guide.
After weeks in the Special Care Nursery the nurses became my friends. I learnt about their families, loved to hear about what they had done on their days off and was so, so grateful for the love and care they gave Essie and myself. I loved going back in to the nursery recently and loved seeing their reactions to how much Essie had grown. I can't wait for Essie's next check up so I can go in and show the girls how much she's grown again.
I'm not sure if any of the nurses will read this, but if they do, I want them to know that they really are angels and I am forever grateful for all their support. xx