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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…

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World Prematurity Day 2020: 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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This is how premature births and neonatal care can affect dads

When my sons were born – 13 weeks ahead of schedule – I had no idea what the hell was going on.

All I knew was that this wasn’t normal… and that was soon proven to me. After nine weeks on the neonatal units at two different hospitals, this is what I learned about how dads can be affected.

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8 ways for dads to bond with their baby in neonatal care

There’s no doubt about it: bonding with your baby when they’re in an incubator is hard.

Of course, the mother’s role is imperative. She can provide the all-important breast milk to help your child on its road to recovery.

However, dads shouldn’t feel as though they have to play second fiddle all the time. There are plenty of ways you can help out and bond with your baby, even if they are in a neonatal ward.

In this post I’ll cover eight ways that dads can get involved in the NICU experience and start building a relationship with their newborns.

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6 things we learned from Bliss charity’s #NeonatalDadTakeover

When I heard that the leading prematurity charity, Bliss, was hosting a Father’s Day Twitter event for dads of neonatal babies, I had to check it out.

The event was hosted by Ricky Boleto, a journalist who had a child in neonatal care and a baby born during the COVID-19 lockdown. Ricky took over the Bliss Twitter account for an hour to share his experience and get the conversation started for the Neonatal Dad Takeover.

Following an enjoyable Father’s Day – wildly different from the Father’s Day I spent in NICU last year, I settled down to join in the conversation.

Having shared some of my own experiences and connected with some other dads, here are six things I learned.

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What’s it like in NICU? A first-hand account

The neonatal intensive care unit. A place you may never know about, and certainly one you hope to never go as a parent.

But once you’ve spent time in NICU, it stays with you forever.

In this article, I’ll recount some of my experiences as a new dad watching my twin sons fight for their lives on two different NICU wards, and answer some of the questions I’m asked most often.