Our son took us completely by surprise by arriving 6 and a half weeks early. It had never entered our heads that he might decide to make a super early appearance into this world, but on the 19th June, he was delivered by emergency C Section and taken down to SCBU to be cared for. Having your baby in Special Care is not something that many parents anticipate and it is definitely not the start to your baby's life, and yours as parents, that you will hear about on your NCT course! It can be a bewildering, frightening and anxiety filled time, but please be assured your baby is in the best possible hands and is being cared for by the most dedicated and loving team. Your first visit to see your baby in SCBU might feel very scary and emotional. Seeing your tiny baby attached to monitors, cables and all kinds of medical instruments is incredibly daunting. Initially we both felt helpless, worried and totally disconnected from our son, but within a few minutes of being besides his incubator the nurses helped us to get him out and to have our first wonderful cuddles with our precious boy. We were given lots of information, reassurance and support and immediately felt more at ease. The staff are always on hand to support you and your baby day and night - no question was ever too stupid, and no request ever too much. They went out of their way to make sure that as parents we felt empowered and involved in our sons care from the very beginning. Don't be afraid to ask questions. The nurses and Doctors know this is a new scary experience for you, and I guarantee you won't be the first parent who had asked them that question. Although SCBU initially felt like a daunting place, during our sons 3 week stay we came to think of it as our second home and it provided us with the most amazing crash course in parenting! The staff were incredible - we were shown all aspects of caring for our son; how to change him, dress him, bath him, all of which we would have been totally clueless about without their help. They gently encouraged us and guided us to get involved with all aspects of his care, from temperature taking to tube feeding, which really helped us to bond with him and give us back some element of control over a situation, which can at times, feel very much out of your control. If you want to get involved with any aspect of your child's care and routine, just ask, the nurses are always happy to guide you and help you to be as hands on as possible. I desperately wanted to breastfeed and found it very challenging, but I had lots of support from all of the SCBU staff which encouraged me to persevere. I think that if I had been at home with my son and struggling without that level of care, I would not still be breastfeeding him 12 months on. You will be offered lots of support in however you choose to feed your baby- there is always someone there to help you if you're struggling, which I found invaluable. SCBU, as well as being the best place for your baby to be nurtured, is also a place where you as parents get nurtured! I think I probably cried on every nurse at some point during the 3 weeks. I felt overwhelmed, tired, anxious and sore after my C Section and was always met with kindness, empathy, a cuddle and reassurance. As well as the nurses becoming like our second family during our 3 week stay, we also made friends with other families in the same situation and have maintained those friendships to this day. The days in SCBU can be long, and at times it might feel like you cannot see an end to the hospital visits and can't envisage bringing your baby home. I promise you it does pass and the moment you take your baby home is both wonderful and terrifying equal measure. You might even find you miss the security, familiarity of SCBU and SCBU team, just like we did!
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