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When labour comes too soon

SHOCK!   Your heart skips a few beats!  What has happened?

“Has this happened to me? “

“Is this real or just a dream?”

A whirlwind of emotions, thoughts and questions run wild in the first few days of having a premature or sick baby.  “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be!”   “Where’s my big healthy baby?”

Most of us will have sailed through our pregnancy not expecting anything to go wrong.   We put our focus into being healthy and dream of what our baby will look like, we choose names, and decorate the nursery.

When the shock initially hits after hearing the words “you’re baby will be born today” our immediate thought is “It’s too soon, babies aren’t born until their due date!”

Coming to terms with the sudden situation of having a premature baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can be very difficult and confronting, says Kylie Pussell, co-founder of the Miracle Babies Foundation.

“A range of complex emotions are swirling around and it’s hard to grab hold of any one thing to process as there is so much happening,” says Kylie.

“We all have our unique way of dealing with a crisis, however it is very common for the first few days of having a baby early or sick to feel fear, love guilt, elation, anxiety, joy, isolation, pride, sadness, confusion, numbness and disappointment.”

It is important to remember that it takes time to adjust to new experiences and new environments and there is no right or wrong way to cope.

“It is very normal to grieve the loss of your dream of a normal pregnancy and your beautiful baby being placed on your chest – just like you saw in the movies and believed it would be.

“You now have to adjust to your new normal and you can’t see beyond the next 60 minutes which feels like forever – until the next medical update, time to express milk for your baby or the next lot of cares when you might get to touch your baby!”

As you come to terms with your emotions which are probably changing by the hour, it’s good to know what is available in your NICU that may be able to help you during the coming days, weeks and months.

Miracle Babies Foundation support parents through the NICU journey and beyond.

Graduate parents of NICU babies are those who once sat in the chair you now find yourself in, feeling the emotions you juggle daily and clinging to any bit of hope that everything will be alright one day.

“The connection you can have with other parents can help validate your feelings and talking with someone who can understand your reality is a good start to the processing of your situation and the trauma you are going through.”

I’m extremely proud to be an ambassador for the Miracle Babies Foundation which offers support to the 25,000 plus families impacted by premature birth and an additional 20,000 families caring for sick newborns.

To connect with a Miracle Babies graduate parent in your area please visit our website at www.miraclebabies.org.au or call our 24 hour family support helpline on 1300 MBABIES (1300 622 243).

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