Friday, 12 July 2013

A Baby's Journey

Every baby is an individual, and every baby has a different journey. However, for a baby born prematurely there is a pathway they generally follow but hitting their milestones at different times.

A baby born extremely prematurely like Joseph starts life in a NICU - neonatal intensive care unit.

At this stage Joseph was a few days old, he had started off on ventilation but moved to the less invasive CPAP. Here he is having a bit of a rest from it. He has a long line giving him food, and an oral tube, but wasn't feeding orally at that stage. The lines on his chest are to monitor his vital signs. The nappy he is wearing is the absolute smallest available and only available to hospitals. He weighs less than his birth weight of 1lb 7oz in this picture.

The next step is the High Dependency Unit. Babies may still be receiving some breathing support. Here Joseph is 5 weeks old and now breathing on his own most of the time, but when he was tired received CPAP therapy still. He now has a nasal tube for feeding, the long line has gone. He still has the monitoring wires. He is not allowed in full clothes yet, but wears a vest.

Whilst in HDU still Joseph finally moved to a cot. This is the last picture taken of him in his incubator, just after his first bath, his hair all fluffy.

One of the final steps is the special care nursery. At first their cot is heated for them to get used to being in room air, this is actually a water filled mattress, very cosy. In the special care nursery they are just feeding and growing, they've sorted the breathing thing out and just getting ready to go home. Sometimes at any one of these stages, babies can have setbacks and go back to an earlier level of care. Whilst soul destroying when it happens, its fairly normal.

Before the final step to home, most parents will room in, test driving their baby and learning the ropes to make sure they are confident to go home.

The final step is that long awaited journey home. Given that its mid July in this picture I think I went a tad over the top with the wrapping, but he seems content enough.

And whilst it may seem a lifetime, before too long those hospital days are just a memory.

You have a baby.


  1. :) Lovely. That last photo is on of the most joyous things I have seen in a long, long time.

  2. Thank you for sharing these photos and for this post. The first pictures I can't imagine how hard it is to see your baby so vulnerable. The last photo made me a bit teary - that smile!!! He was a gorgeous baby :))) I can't imagine how much strength it takes to go through having a premature baby

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this story :)

  4. Sorry for blunt end to comment! Disqus does funny things on my phone. Hats off to you and the work you now do just make a real difference to so many people xxx

  5. I still get completely shocked at how tiny they are, and the wonders of modern medicine that babies this small can survive now.
    When S was born she was only in NICU for 2 days; we were in hospital for 2 weeks and i was moody and fed up and wanted to go home. One of the NICU nurses told me, "be patient, it seems like the worst thing in the world right now, but it's really only a few days at the start of the rest of your life as a parent."

  6. We had 76 nights so it was a long haul. I couldn't wait til he'd been at home longer than hed been at hospital!

  7. My favourite saying is "a woman is like a tea bag, you never know how strong she is til she's in hot water." I never thougth I could be that strong, but you just find it somewhere and carry on.

    It was a big decision to go into it as a job but I am so glad I did!

  8. I was so traumatised I don't think I enjoyed his first year as much as I could have done, pictures like that remind me that despite how awful I was feeling, he was a very happy and much loved baby