Preemies

Curious

Hi ladies, just popping in for reassurance and advice.  A friend of mine just had an emergency c-section at 31 weeks last night.  We're headed to the hospital today to give support and hear the details.  I guess I don't really have a specific question per se, but I was looking to hear from anyone who's been in that situation.  Any suggestions about how to support them and/or perhaps things that people do/say that are annoying (to avoid).  I don't know any details yet, other than they have a 2 1/2 year old daughter at home and they were admitted to the hospital on Tuesday night because she was leaking amniotic fluid and had a tear.  Apparently the c-section was successful and their baby boy was born weighing in at 4 lbs 1 oz.  Any tips or suggestions about how to best support them would be greatly appreciated.  TIA 

Re: Curious

  • Congratulate them on the birth of their son. Offer to bring meals to her DH and DD if that is possible. Clean the house, pick up the mail, run errands, anything that makes life a little easier for them. Their LO will likely have a couple weeks of NICU time. Just offer your support and let them know you are there if/when they need you. It is comforting to know there are people who are willing to help, but can be overwhelming  if people are calling and/or stopping by all the time. That is something to be aware of also. Good luck to your friend. I hope they are all home soon!

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  • One of the things I really needed in the first two weeks were rides to the hospital. I couldn't drive right away after my c and dh went back to work, a few hours in the evening was not enough time for me. Heat and eat foods were also welcome as were receiving blankets, my nicu let's us bring in our own and we had none since my shower hadn't happened. Good luck to your friend and her family, my thoughts are with them and I hope they have an uneventful stay.
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  • I like what pp mentioned.  I would also add that if you are willing to help, offer specific suggestions on how you are willing to help.  While it was nice to hear from people "Let us know if we can help in any way."  DH and I have been so engrossed with what's happening in the NICU, that really we couldn't think of any way people could help (it's not like they can put DD back inside of me).  But, when people offered to bring meals, or clean our house, we found that those services were really helpfull.

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  • I agree, and 4lbs1oz is a great weight at 31w! My daughter was born at 31w1d and was 3lbs14oz and has done amazingly well. She lost a bit of weight (completely normal) and is back up to her birthweight now plus a few ozs. She is going on 16 days in the NICU so far, and has just started BFing. Not all babies will be similar at the same gestation of course, but hopefully her baby will not have any major issues and will just need to grow. For me, the food offerings were absolutely the best. Gift cards to fast food places even came in handy when my DH was needing to quick grab something for himself while I was getting hospital food. We had friends offer to watch our house and check on/feed/walk our dog, also. So nice not having to worry about those types of things. Good luck!
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    Baby Elise was born @ 31w on 1/12/11 weighing 3lbs 14oz, 18in - she came home from the NICU on Valentine's day :)
  •  I agee with all the suggestions on ways to help, so I am going to add things that drove me crazy.

      When people looked at me like I was about to lose it. 

    When people told me that it wasn't that long of a time in the hospital, and it would be over in no time, because when your baby is there and you aren't it seems like an eternity.

    There are so many aspects to consider with a preemie, but a lot of people just focus on weight. They think if the baby is a good weight, they are fine, but that is not always the case.

    Finally, and this might just be me. When I had him, and people congratulated me, they would sometimes add comments about being happy he was here and whatnot.  Well, I wasn't "happy" he was here, he wasn't supposed to be here, and I wish he was where he was supposed to be.  i was happy that he was doing well after all that happened, but that is where the happy and excited ended for me.

     

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  • Thank you so much ladies!  We're headed over shortly and I really just want to be as supportive as possible!  I know that as much as I can imagine what they are going through that I don't truly understand without having experienced it.  Thanks for your help!
  • Congratulate them!  And honestly, you just being there and visiting will mean a lot to them.  When I was admitted, I thought for sure that only my parents and DH would be there to see me, but so many people from my churches (both pastors included) came to see me before and after the birth of my DD.  Your friends are embarking on the NICU roller coaster, and you being a good ear for them to share their joys, frustrations, anger, and sadness will be super helpful.  You mentioned that they have a 2 1/2 YO daughter at home - would you be able to help watch her so they can get to the NICU to see their DS?  My DD is my first child, but DH & I have 2 dogs, and having people available to help out with them (mainly my parents, but still counts!) when we need it is a huge help.
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  • Hi there!  My LO was born last year at 31w, too, and weighed 4lbs 4 oz at birth (a wonderful weight for that gestation)!  He lost a bit in the NICU, but fought hard, and was home in 3 weeks!  Like PPs have said - offering to help is very appreciated - even if they don't accept it right away (trust me - they're very preoccupied with NICU life).  

    My friends and neighbors meant well, but I found that their dropping in announced caused me undue stress.  The few times I was at home in that time frame, I was really stressed b/c I wanted to be back with the baby, and then I felt like I was expected to entertain.  (Not only that, it made it very difficult to pump...)  I finally had to put a sign on the door that advised when I was pumping, and that I would not be answering. 

    Things to avoid saying......well, I had a person tell me that "all the babies in the NICU seemed to look alike".  Not cool...our babies are special, and we can pick them out of a crowd, if necessary! :)

    If she gets to hotel at the hospital, she's going to get bored in between her NICU visits - she may appreciate books, movies or needlecrafts...something to keep her busy (not to mention snacks - at the hospital I was hoteled in, they provided meals, but not snacks, and the machines are expensive).  If she's up to it, offer to get her out of the hospital for a little while. 

    Trust your gut, and be a good friend...this is a trying time for them, but an extremely rewarding one in the end.

     HTH!

  • I had my DS at 32 weeks and it was a HUGE surprise. The best things that people did for me were:

    Make food and bring it to the house (This was the best one! I was so tired after running home and to the hospital multiple times a day. The last thing I wanted to do was cook!)

    Give us money-for gas and parking (DS was in the NICU for awhile)

    Visit with me in the NICU

    Call to see how I was doing and to ask about the baby

    Fix up the nursery

     

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