Neonatal intensive care unit
Grief and loss go hand-in-hand in neonatal intensive care. Without warning, pregnancies come to an abrupt end and parents of premature babies often describe similar feelings of loss. When my own first pregnancy came to a sudden end at 30 weeks I found myself grieving for the final trimester that I never had.
Nothing can really prepare you for parenthood; but when your baby is born prematurely the time to plan and the excitement and anticipation of a new arrival is dramatically interrupted. Shocked and numb, you suddenly find yourself in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
For many mothers this means weeks, often months before they can bring their baby home. For these mothers, maternity leave is spent visiting their baby each day in neonatal intensive care, an uncertain world full of monitors, lines and breathing machines where anxious parents wait beside incubators.
The distinction in Hugo's care between 'there being no hope' and 'no further treatment' being worthwhile with 'nothing more can be done' is crucial. Nothing more could be done to save Hugo's life, but we were able to give him a good death.
You did everything you could to help us, especially as we were in a hospital far away from home. We knew you were always there for all of us. We knew you loved Hugo nearly as much as we did. We knew you wanted us to be able to take Hugo home as much as we did.
These tips include advice I was given, and things I learned the hard way while my son Hugo was being cared for. Having a baby in a neonatal unit is so stressful - I hope this helps other mummies and daddies.
A baby which died from blood poisoning after being infected by a suspected contaminated drip was being treated in the neonatal