Friday 12 November 2010

Having a premature baby - things I'd wish I'd known

I thought I'd do a bit of a lighthearted post today, being a Friday and all!

1. Just how many times people's jaws drop as they say "how heavy was he again? Oh not even a bag of sugar", hence my blog title. It used to drive me mad, but I decided to "own it"! And I like it! More so that its not true anymore, and he looks more like a very big bag of spuds!

2. That there are crazy people out there. Shortly after Joseph came home from hospital this was on television, which I hadn't seen, what new mum has time to watch tv at night? An older lady came up to me in a charity shop and said "lovely baby". I smiled, and said "thank you". The she touched my arm and said "he's not real, you know that, don't you". I'm like "sorry, what?" "I know all about women like you", she said, looking at me full of pity. "Hes's a doll, he's not real". I'm staring at Joseph willing him to fart, cry, poo, anything to get rid of this crazy lady. All of a sudden he blew a raspberry and she nearly fell over!

3. Children will go and get their Baby Annabel dolls and compare them to your baby. And the doll will be bigger. And the kids will be amazed. And you will feel hurt. Draw the line at placing your baby in the Baby Annabel pushchair.

4. People will ask "where do you get his clothes from", and you will roll your eyes as you try very hard not to shout "a shop, where do you think?"

5. People will ask if your baby will be handicapped, disabled, retarded - pick your derogatory term. I would advise you to be quick, to say, um no I don't think so, but have you had that mole checked on your neck recently?

6. Some people will find if very funny to say "well I bet you were relieved not to go to term", or "gosh you got out of that lightly didn't you?" Its up to you how you react to this, I am not condoning acts of violence, but I'm not condemning them either.

7. You will, at times, wonder if your baby will ever grow. You will wonder if your baby will every "do" the next big milestone. People will say "Oh just enjoy them being little, they won't be babies forever". And they are right. Enjoy baby hood, before long, you will be living my life, peeling your child off backs of chairs, off bookcases, and windowsills.

8. You will hear fantastical tales of  your neighbour's cousins milkman's little boy who was born 15 weeks early who is now an astrophysicist. What you do with your tales, believe or disbelieve, yawn, discard is entirely up to you.

9. You will find yourself watching shows about premature babies and worry about the calibration of CPAP taking a long time, or a baby's monitor desatting and wondering why no one is doing anything or worrying that doors of an incubator are being left open for too long whilst an interview takes place.

10. You will be on first name terms with your GP, and on the pharmacists christmas card list.

11. Embarassingly you will bump into people who never knew you were pregnant, and you have to explain. Or worse, people who think you still are!

12. You will get dirty looks as you feed your "newborn" solid food. You will feel like passing them literature on the weaning of premature babies.

I'm sure there are many more feel free to add your own!!


  1. Thanks Kylie - I needed a bit of a laugh tonight.
    As you know, we can identify with much of this.
    and I really liked your "he's not real" story :)
    Oh, and no - I don't watch those premi baby shows! I just can't.
    Listening to my son's heart stop beating in the middle of the birth still haunts me and, well - I guess I'm just a sook!

  2. Hello Kylie, I have to say that reading your posts helps me a lot. My son was born at 23 weeks and weighed 1lb. 5oz. When I saw your facebook page I started to read your blogs and its wonderful to see that other moms/dads out there who have preemies, feel the same way! I have been having a hard time lately for some reason. I think its a combination of my sister in law having a baby and my sons birthday is a month away. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your blogs. It really does help me reading these and knowing that other moms out there feel the same way! Thank you :)

  3. As you know Kylie my little boy wasn't premature but when he was 4 months old my neighbour did come up to me and ask if I had had a baby. I said he was four months old and she nearly fell over!! Just goes to show round our way the neighbours don't take much notice of what's going on.

    I love reading your blog. I was a secretary for a Consultant on a Neonatal Unit for 8 years and I absolutely loved my job. But even being that close to the situation for so long it gives me insight to read about the process from "the other side".

  4. This has given me a laugh, I must add an empathetic laugh!

    2. I said on Facebook that this would have made me very angry. I hate that programme, I watched 10 minutes and felt so sick I had to turn over. I've had three premature babies and only took two home, I can't find the words to say why it makes me so angry. I spent 1/4 of my pregnancy with my eldest LC in hospital and 1/3 of my pregnancy with my youngest in labour, I have two scars on my belly (because I had a GA I had to have a drain fitted) which I'd have happily flashed to anyone questioning whether my children were real!

    3. I found it cute to be honest. I used to forget and still do how tiny my baby is, seeing her next to a doll reminds me how small she is but it also reminds me of how far she has come. She is home and healthy and whilst it might not look like it a heck of a lot bigger than her birth weight.

    4. Where do you get yours from? Tesco, Asda... yeah, people actually make clothes for babies, we're not unique.

    5. Another one I'm glad I haven't had! My eldest hasn't done too well, she has chronic brittle asthma and takes more medication than most adults and we still have to up it when she's not well and she has chronic constipation, we were told recently if she doesn't start to clear it she will lose bowel continence because she is dangerously stretched. Bowel incontinence leads to bladder incontinence :-( My youngest was a later gestation and seems OK, she's very small but she was also IUGR, because she was so long in labour she had had the full course of steroids so she did do a lot better.

    6. I would rather be covered head to toe in stretch marks than sit in hospital with a toddler having a three day asthma attack or have to comfort her when she goes to the toilet because she's in so much pain. Just because a baby can survive at 23 weeks doesn't mean they can be safely born prematurely. Just because they pass term and go home doesn't mean they're OK. This is one I hear a lot, especially from term mums waiting for their baby to be born. I get so angry when people complain about pregnancy or do things like Castor Oil or RLT trying to push things along when they're still premature. Premature is before the baby is ready to come, whatever gestation they are!

    7 I love that I have a baby for longer, my 22 month old is just going into 6-9m clothes! Milestones seem to come slowly but I'm a very laid back parent, let them come when they're ready.

    9 LOL I love that I watch programmes and feel like the expert in prematurity, especially drama/ soap! When my eldest has had her attacks I've fixed her oximeter when she's kicked it off and other little things like that, always surprises the staff that I get on with ti.

    10 When I had my second time around it was funny how everyone remembered me, to the point that they kept calling my baby by her sister's name!

    12 Mum and I are terrible, we used to play on the girls' size, sitting them up and letting go of them, passing them between us *without* supporting the head. We'd try to keep a straight face as people around us gasped!

    13 Enjoy this time, you'll honestly never experience humanity in this way again. Don't let them get to you and try see the funny side.

  5. Superb Kylie! Good to have a giggle at these things :) I've heard your story about the doll lady on the Bliss Forum, it must have been horrific! What a loon!
    I have had two premmies go through the same unit, (my consultant said I'd be really unlucky to have preeclampsia worse, or earlier, think Ivy saw that as some kind of challenge)we knew the staff so well I can now count some of them as friends!

    Now the kids are bigger I find a lot of stuff funnier. Like do you dress them in dolls clothes? Oh lucky you, so tiny and cute! And the looks of horror when buying babyfood, on seeing them walking, feeding themselves, on finding out how old they are.
    If you didn't laugh eh? Great post :) x

  6. I just saw you pop up on Twitter and I thought I'd browse your blog. This post is wonderful. Please consider joining the BloggersUnite to Fight for Preemies event. It's Nov 17th. People all over the world will be blogging to raise awareness. I'd love to see your story there.

  7. super again Kylie and can relate to nealy all of them, When my "friend" was pregnant she was having a planed c section and said i dont want to be in hospital for my birthday!!! well i did not want to be in hospital all over xmas and new year but i was!

    As alway great post