“When I left at night my heart was aching” - Georgina's story

In this blog, Georgina talks about the experience of being separated from her premature daughter Rosie.

My baby daughter Rosie was born prematurely when I was 32+3weeks pregnant. I woke up and noticed blood in the toilet and realised it was coming from me.

My instant thought was that I was losing my baby.

My pregnancy had been low risk up to this point but when I went to the hospital I was told I was in labour and that I had an infection.

I spent two days in hospital, had two rounds of steroids and things to slow down my labour and eventually it stopped. I was sent home in shock but thinking that my baby would arrive in February as planned. One day later my waters broke.

My baby arrived on a Saturday morning and I knew I had to stay calm throughout the birth to keep my baby calm. But I didn’t realise that she would be taken away from me. I got to look at her and I kept shouting her name in the hope she would hear my voice whilst her breathing tube was inserted. Then she was taken off to the NICU.

I remember being terrified to see her, would I recognise her? Would she know me? Each time I saw her I had to check she was my baby.

One of the biggest shocks to hit me was when I was asked to leave the hospital. It was three days before Christmas, I had just had a baby girl and a day later I was asked to leave her. Leave my baby on her own before Christmas.

The days were a blur, the feelings I had were of complete distress. I left the hospital each night about 9pm feeling sick. How could I be going home leaving my baby on her own? How could I go and have a shower and not be looking after my baby?

I forced myself to express milk at 3am in the morning, it was the least I could do if I was leaving my girl lying on her own in hospital at night. The guilt riddled me leaving her. It was like there was a piece of string connecting us, heart to heart, and when I left at night it was being stretched and my heart was aching. A part of me was missing. It’s the most unnatural experience to give birth to a baby and not have her with you.

It was like there was a piece of string connecting us, heart to heart, and when I left at night it was being stretched and my heart was aching.

It broke my heart to imagine my baby daughter waking for a feed in the night looking up and seeing no one there. But mostly not seeing me, her mum, and not getting a loving hold from the person who made her.

The nurses were amazing but knowing they had three babies each to look after, and knowing Rosie possibly had to wait for one of the babies to be fed before she could be, broke my heart.

Each morning I would wake and rush to the hospital with anxiety in my heart hoping she was still there. I felt my baby was vulnerable and not safe when the night-time came and I wasn’t there.

The only reason I got though the 26 days and nights was because of the amazing nurses who showed me they cared for my baby, and they cared for me too.

Parents who are in the same situation my advice is to be there when you can, get involved in all the cares (nappy changes/tube feeding), have skin to skin as often as possible (it is medicine and the only time I felt calm), take it one day at a time but also go home and rest.

Try to forget the guilt of leaving and think of it as recharging your batteries so you are in top condition for your baby. I was given hearts made out of cotton to put in my bra, they absorb your scent so you can leave one with your baby and at least overnight they can smell you and feel close.

Finally the time in NICU will not last forever. It may be long but you will look back on it as a distant memory. I would talk to others about your experience as a sort of therapy because being in NICU is stressful and talking about it can help you move on.

When Rosie was born she weighed just 4lb6 but today she’s a healthy 23lb.