I think the friends and aquaintances who read this will fall into two groups. Those that have already experienced what I’m talking about, and those who will glaze over when parents start talking about their little ones.
Our son is just about 10 months old. He was 7 weeks early, and spent his first four weeks in a special care unit. He is reportedly doing well, even though he is small. At his 8 months check he was said to as well developed as any 8 month old, sitting up and smiling and reacting as the nursery nurse expected.
He’s just reached 18 pounds. That’s 8.18kg in today’s money. That’s between the 9th and the 25th percentile on the graph, relative to his due date), so nothing to worry about. We rarely now get comments about how small he is, indeed we often get people saying things like, “he doesn’t look like he was premature.”
He’s just started crawling, but is not racing around as many predicted. Everyone who sees him comments on his smile and how happy he seems.
He loves his toys and indeed any object can provide endless fascination. He’s really good with stacking cups, preferring to try and dismantle a tower of cups, rather than knock it over. He also has a shape sorter and seems to, more often than not, chose the right shapes for the side uppermost. This may be his loving parents over interpreting, or skewing things unconsciously by the way we place the shapes on the floor. He learned how to use a toy where you feed a giraffe plastic blocks in a couple of minutes.
And this is the thing. He seems a bright boy, who is happy much of the time, but is this just his proud parents seeing what they want to see?
Matthew is still doing well, although still in a cot in the special care unit. He’s now in room 2, having been promoted from room 3 early last week.
Yesterday Matthew was 2.08kg. We weighed him ourselves after we noticed the regular reading was a bit out. He’s putting on about 45g every day, there’s no worries about his weight, and is 100% being fed on his mother’s milk. We are just waiting on him feeding well enough to demand feeding at every mealtime, and to not need feeding by tube.
We are in a routine, Sarah goes in in the morning for the 10am feed, and we both go in of the evening, then back home for supper. The routine is a bit of a drudge, backwards and forwards twice a day. Normally one of you could look after the baby, while the other whipped them up a light meal, or popped out to the shops. While the SCBU is only 10 minutes walk, and we can pop in when we like, the security measures mean it’s not practical to do that.
One of the things that is most frustrating is the advice you are given. Take the advice of any two healthcare professionals, and their opinions will appear to contradict each other to the lay person. Books say the latest research says contact between parent and child is beneficial to their development, whereas nurses say they should be left in their cots as long as possible because the grow while asleep. These two statements might not be contradictory but they feel like it to two worn out parents.
But he is improving. It’s like being on a long tiring walk where the end is out of sight, over the horizon. We know we’re getting closer all the time; but can’t say when that end point will be. He feeds better and puts on more weight every day, so we know we’re getting somewhere.
It will be a wonderful day when he is home with us. In the meantime, on with the routine.
Matthew is doing well. He has been putting on weight steadily, and is only being fed milk- the drip was removed a couple of days back.
He has been visited by both sets of very proud grandparents.
Today he is 1770g (3lb14oz)- and has been moved from the incubator to room number 2 and a cot!
A quick update… Matthew Robert Jerram was born by emergency c-section at 04:56 yesterday morning, 7 weeks early. Sarah went into labour at about 4am, so it was all very quick. He’s 1.52kg (3lb6), very small as he is 7 weeks premature.
He’s in the special care unit at Airedale General while Sarah is in the nearby maternity ward, but up and about. I’ve done the ten minute walk between the maternity ward and here loads of times in the past 8 days.
We got to hold him today, twice.
I haven’t commented much on Sarah’s pregnancy, fearing being too
self-centred. But, I’m telling myself, making a blog posting doesn’t
mean I’m forcing people to read this…
We had a great week planned. I’d booked Wednesday off to drive Sarah to a work’s away-day. Being of a smaller build pregnancy prevents her from driving as when the driver’s seat is far enough back to be comfortable, she can’t control the car. I was going to drive into Hull and spend the day in various coffee shops on Newland Avenue, reading my OU course books. But that’s not how it happened.
At 5am Wednesday morning, I was woken by Sarah telling me her waters had broken. This didn’t seem real- we were so focused on the due date of 17th March, and being told that the actual date may be as late as the 27th. We rang the labour ward at Airedale, and half an hour later were on our way.
The car parking spaces near the ward entrance proved easy to find, and we were in.
It was a worrying morning, we were told that they may have had to deliver early by c-section. Sarah was given steroids to hold off any chance of labour, scanned, and the heart rate measured and transferred to the maternity ward to be monitored. We were told that Sarah would
have to stay there until baby was born- this could have been any time between hours and weeks later.
If bean is distressed, or there is signs of infection, or labour starts, they will whisk Sarah off for an emergency cesarean. But hopefully s/he should be allowed to stay in for a while yet, until 36 or 37 weeks.
We saw the special care baby unit yesterday, and spoken to the staff there. We are more encouraged and prepared for bean to arrive sooner than we’d like.
We are getting used to the idea that the baby may be along sooner than expected. A friend of Sarah’s brother is sending us a bundle of premature baby clothes, and our parents are buying some stuff we were hoping to get out to the shops for.
This morning Sarah had a scan. Baby is only 4lbs but this isn’t a problem right now. It’s still breach, and this is unlikely to change due to loss of fluid.
All being well she may be let home in a few days, but this is still very much a “maybe”. She would prefer to be sitting round at home where she has access to all her books and the Internet and can keep an eye on things (on me?!?).
In the mean time she is well and being monitored in Airedale.
It is good that Airedale is only ten minutes walk from home, as I leave the car there and walk. Actually I can tell you that the labour ward is only 8 minutes walk away, a mere 840 yards from our front door, and the entrance nearest to the maternity ward not much further. It is looking more and more likely that this knowledge will be useful this year.
We’re getting closer to the arrival of “Bean”. Tuesday saw our first parentcraft class, and this morning we bought a car seat from our local independent baby shop.
We still have to sort out a cot and pram, but we have plenty of clothes!
Tomorrow we go for a ‘Stork walk’ – aka a tour of the maternity ward. Gas and air anyone?
Just waiting now for baby to decide to turn upside down.