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Personal stories

Discharge day: What to expect when taking your baby home from the NICU

“Aim for the due date and you won’t be far off.”

My sons were scarcely an hour old when a midwife uttered those words. That due date was almost 13 weeks in the future. Yet that’s how long we’d apparently have to wait until we could take them home.

It dragged. There was so much that happened between that traumatic premature birth and the moment when I left the hospital with my family of four.

In this post, I rewind to that day in the summer of 2019 and relive the immediate aftermath of bringing my sons into the outside world.

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Personal stories

Dealing with bad news in the NICU

When your baby is sick or born premature, there’s one thing you’ll undoubtedly experience: receiving bad news.

The thing is, it’s such a tense and emotional experience anyway, that it can be hard to comprehend and process individual pieces of bad news without feeling like you’re losing it.

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World Prematurity Day 2021: what is it, and why is it important?

I start this piece with a confession: up until 2019, I’d never heard about World Prematurity Day. I never paid attention to it, I never even knew about it.

Really though, I never had a reason to… until my sons were born 13 weeks prematurely. Now, as a parent of preterm children, it’s a day I pay full attention to.

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NICU Awareness Month: helpful resources for parents

September is NICU Awareness Month. In this post, I’ll share some further information about this event, why it’s important, and some helpful resources for families impacted by having children in neonatal care.

NICU Awareness Month - Carl MacDonald with son in NICU
Me helping with the weekly weigh-in on the NICU ward.
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Personal stories

How does it feel to spend Father’s Day in NICU?

I never really gave much thought to what my first Father’s Day as a dad would bring.

Presumably, novelty socks, personalised pint glasses and some chocolates would feature prominently. I certainly didn’t envisage spending it in hospital – yet that’s exactly what happened. If your sons insist on making an extremely premature entrance into the world, that’s the way it goes.

This is what it’s like to spend Father’s Day on a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

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Presents for Preemies: A NICU family gift guide

Editor’s note: When a baby is born prematurely or sick, gifts are often the last thing on the parents’ minds. But what can you buy for a baby (or parents) in the NICU? I’m pleased to share this guest post from Lisa and Stacey, two NICU mums who’ve since set up a thriving community and store for gifting to neonatal families and have some great premature baby gift recommendations.

We are Lisa Norman and Stacey Matthews. In this blog we are going to cover some gifts that are ideal for a baby and their parents while they are on the neonatal unit and what is ideal for when they are finally discharged and can come home. We are two mums who have been through the neonatal journey and we know just how tough the experience can be!

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Personal stories

Why it’s important for NICU dads to take part in kangaroo care

I thought I’d taken a wrong turn and ended up in a zoo.

Man, I was confused. I thought this was a hospital for sick babies. Why were we talking about animals?

What the hell is kangaroo care?

Turns out it’s a really important part of the neonatal journey – both for parents and baby. And while it’s essential for mums to take part, it’s also something that dads can participate in… and we even bring our own benefits to the party.

Here’s how…

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What are the benefits of reading to babies in neonatal units? Experts and parents share their views

One of the best ways I found of bonding with my sons in the neonatal unit was by reading to them.

At the time, it felt almost futile. Here I was, sometimes in a room of other parents, feeling self-conscious about being overheard reading silly rhymes aloud. All while the boys slept (most of the time) through it.

Was there actually any point? As it turns out – yes, there was. Here, I dig deeper into the benefits of reading to your baby in the NICU.

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8 things you may miss out on when your baby is born preterm

Even the best laid plans can be obliterated in devastating fashion by a premature baby’s arrival.

Much of a pregnancy involves excitement and forward planning, and yet having a preterm baby can mean those plans are put on ice… or even shelved completely.

Here are some of the things that parents of a premature baby may miss out on.

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Shattered expectations and trauma: coping and processing

Editor’s note: It’s my pleasure to welcome Dr Jenna Brough BSc, DClinPsy, DipHb(KGH) to PremDad. This post is a must-read for parents who are currently going through, or have recently experienced, life in the neonatal unit. Over to Dr Brough!

As a Clinical Psychologist much of my work is about supporting people who are struggling after traumatic experiences, dealing with difficult emotions and the impact this is having on them, their relationships, and their lives.

Many parents whose babies are born prematurely and require NICU support, were not expecting it, they do not have a great deal of time to process and accept the changes from their expected pregnancy, birth and new-born experience…