“It broke my heart seeing the babies covered in wires and tubes” - Samantha’s story

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Samantha and her wife Alex had twins delivered early at 35+5 weeks and knew that the chances of them needing neonatal care was high. Honey and Bowie were on the unit for a week, but for Samantha and Alex, it felt like an eternity.

Mine and my wife’s NICU experience started with our twins, Bowie and Honey, having to be delivered early due to slow growth and high blood flow. So we were scheduled for a caesarean section at 35+3 weeks. We knew the chances of neonatal here were high and to be honest, it was daunting.

We had to go to Ipswich to have the twins instead of Colchester, our local hospital, due to a shortage of neonatal beds.

We panicked that we would have to leave our babies there all alone. Luckily, they told us they had a family room that we could both stay in until the twins were ready to leave NICU. We were super thankful and relieved - I cannot even begin to explain how much that meant to us and how appreciative we were.

Luckily, when they arrived they were healthy just a little on the small side at four pounds twelve and four pounds eleven. But they decided it would be best for both of them to go to NICU for observation. It was here that Honey’s temperature dropped and they suspected that Bowie had sepsis.

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An incubator was needed for Honey and they both had to have blood tests and antibiotics – it was so awful watching your tiny babies getting pricked with needles.

Because of this they both lost more than what they should have in birth weight - poor Bowie went down to three pounds and six, so feeding tubes were needed.

Honey and Bowie only had to stay in neonatal care for a week but it really felt like an eternity. The rooms are dimly lit for the babies to develop and our room had no window in it.

I’m not ashamed to say that it broke my heart seeing my babies all wired and tubed up. It was mentally so hard - I remember crying in the kitchen room thinking that we would never leave.

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The nurses were so lovely and so much more than a nurse! They truly cared for our babies and rocked them and fed them. They are truly special people! Although NICU is so hard and you are constantly worrying when a beep goes off, I couldn’t have felt like I was in more caring hands. They even gave us clothes because we didn’t have enough prem clothes for our two. We’ve now donated all of our tiny clothes back to them.

The day we were allowed to leave was amazing! My wife, Alex, had been waiting for that special, proud moment when she could carry our precious babies out to the car!

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We know that we are so blessed - some babies don’t leave the NICU and some journeys will be much harder than ours, but honestly, if we couldn’t have stayed in that room I would have been broken-hearted.

I hope my journey helps anyone else going into NICU - it’s scary but be positive that your baby or babies are in the best hands possible.

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