“I remember seeing Adam for the first time and almost falling to my knees” - Iram’s story

Iram's baby Adam in an incubator on the neonatal unit

Iram's baby boy Adam was born at 32 weeks. In her story, she recalls their 18-day NICU stay, and how feeding was their main obstacle.

My son Adam was born at 32 weeks.

Adam is our fourth baby and first premature baby. My waters broke at 31 weeks unexpectedly along with bleeding, which was worrying.

The amazing midwives, doctors, anaesthetists and many other professionals at Northwick Park hospital did everything they could to help keep Adam put. We were told every extra day makes a difference. After a week of avoiding early delivery I went into full blown labour and nothing would stop Adam making an appearance into the world.

I was put onto a magnesium drip for four hours while suffering excruciating contractions! The doctors prepared to take me for an emergency c-section as Adam was laying transverse too which was dangerous!

The NICU team at the hospital were called down to theatre and ready on standby to take Adam to NICU. I remember seeing the little incubator being rolled in and feeling heartbroken and shattered that I wasn’t able to keep him safe inside me anymore.

The doctors and anaesthetists were amazing at keeping me and my husband informed about what would happen after he was born. It was a lengthy procedure and we hadn't heard him cry, something we knew was important from our older three children’s births.

Adam needed help breathing. Once the doctor had stabilised him my husband was able to go over and have a look at him for the first time. I remember being lucky enough to get a little glimpse of him before he was taken to NICU. He was wearing a little red knitted hat.

Once I got to the recovery room my heart completely broke and the tears started knowing Adam wouldn’t be with me and worry took over my mind. My husband had accompanied him to NICU and I was in recovery anxiously waiting for news and updates.

When my husband arrived back to me he updated me on Adam’s condition - he was doing well but needed breathing support. He was on CPAP for a few hours before normal oxygen in his incubator. They also thought Adam may have sepsis which the test thankfully came back negative for.

I remember seeing Adam for the first time and almost falling to my knees, he was so tiny at 2lbs and had a lot of wires and a mask on to help him breathe. I’m not sure why but I wasn’t expecting so many wires. That’s when it first dawned on me of the seriousness of him being born prematurely.

I remember the nurses sending me back to my room to rest but instead I was on bliss reading stories about babies born at 32 weeks and going on forums asking questions about what a typical stay would look like and walking back and forth from my room to the NICU to give him my expressed milk and of course just to get a glimpse of him.

The nurses urged me to do skin-to-skin and I remember feeling so scared about his tubes and wires but one thing no one tells you is that no matter how scary it seems you gain the strength from somewhere to deal with it. At first I thought no way would I be able to check the ph. acid balance of his stomach and check if it’s safe to be able to feed, but somehow I mastered it all and I am so thankful for the NICU nurses who were patient and taught me and were always at hand for any questions or worries I had.

At week two Adam moved to an open cot which was another milestone and we were excited!

Slowly I started to gain more strength to sit with him for hours and do his care like changing and feeding him via a tube. I also loved our skin-to-skin time. Adam would always greet me with being awake and alert when I would sit with him which made it so special!

I would rush around and get my older children ready for school so I could get back to Adam and do my cares for him. I would cry the entire way home when I would leave him in the evening and then put a brave face on for my older three children.

Feeding was our main obstacle, which is normal for premature babies, but I remember feeling so glum and anxious when he would be too tired to take a full feed (which is normal for a premature baby) and I would have to feed him via a tube but I knew this setback would lead to more days in the NICU.

The scariest time was when I was feeding him and his stats became quite low and monitors were beeping as he couldn’t take the pace of the bottle and breathing at the same time. The sinking stats made lots of doctors run in and check on him and try and stabilise him. Thinking of that moment still gives me shivers.

We spent an entire 18 days in NICU which felt like an eternity!

When I think back to these moments my heart feels heavy that I didn’t have the birth I was expecting and was lucky enough to have had with my other three - but I am so thankful Adam is here and is healthy.

The hardest thing I found was feeling guilty and being torn between my children at home and my baby in NICU (and this was something I constantly faced). One thing that kept me going was thinking that this too shall pass and that it’s just another hiccup until we are all home together. Of course, having the support system in place really helped - I will forever be indebted to our families who came together to look after our older children and me when I came home from hospital.

I hope my story can help someone else. When you are spending your days at NICU you can’t stand back and see the trauma that is being created and how strong you have become.

Northwick Park offered a counselling session - I only ever had one but it really helped! I would urge all parents to try it as I was sceptical at first but was surprised how useful I found it!

Adam is now almost a year old and I feel I can finally submit our story, it’s something I wanted to do when I read the other stories on Bliss giving me hope in a bleak hospital room during the hardest times of my life.

Thank you to Bliss for giving us the ‘Your Stories’ page and to the parents who submitted stories which gave me hope (something much needed whilst at NICU)!