NICU Awareness Month 2018
September is NICU Awareness Month!
Hellooooo, mummies & daddies! This month is NICU Awareness Month; in this post, I’ll discuss the aims of this awareness campaign, the importance of NICU units and their staff, and showcase the beautiful NICU babies of the Bump, Baby & You Community!
What IS NICU?
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a hospital department designated for poorly newborns in need of often lifesaving medical attention.
This month is aimed at celebrating the families who go through the experience of having a baby in the NICU, and the medics who work wonders caring for these poorly babies.
Babies who need NICU care aren’t always premature – a common misconception that I’ve seen when discussing poorly babies born at term or later. Neonatal refers to the first 28 days of life (this parameter may vary between countries), so whilst NICU babies often go straight into the unit at birth if needed, it is also possible for a newborn to appear healthy but need a later admission within the neonatal period.
What is the aim of NICU Awareness Month?
Project Sweet Peas, the international non-profit organisation behind this awareness month, has told us;
“In 2014, Project Sweet Peas created NICU Awareness Month as an initiative to support and honor all those affected by life in the NICU. We recognized that months like Prematurity Awareness Month were instrumental in leveraging resources and awareness toward specific NICU causes and research. We wanted to take that concept and apply it to the work that we do every day for all NICU families.Over the past four years, we have seen families, health professionals, hospitals, and organizations share and inspire hope during September. Countless times I have heard how much the month means to families affected by a NICU stay. The month has provided a platform for families to share their story, and give back. As an organization, we have supported thousands of families during the month of September. This September, we plan to deliver care packages to over 1,000 families.We truly appreciate the involvement and support over the past four years, and look forward to sharing NICU Awareness Month for many years to come!”
Here are the fabulous team over at Project Sweetpeas showing us their campaign goodies!
Stories from the NICU mummies in our private Facebook group
These inspirational parents have shared their experiences and photos of their beautiful NICU warriors with us to help raise awareness of how it feels to be a NICU parent, remove misconceptions, and highlight the absolute wonders the marvellous NICU staff do for these poorly babies.
My beautiful little man. He was born at 34+4 due to me having undiagnosed pre eclampsia. It was diagnosed at a scan I had booked for 34 weeks. I had to be transferred to another hospital and he had to be delivered by emergency ceserean. He had to spend just over 3 weeks in Scbu and nice due to his size and gestation. He was 3lb 14oz and couldn’t suckle. These weeks were the worst time of my life. Going home without my baby every night was absolute torture. I hated it. I used to spend every mi ute of my day with him until I was told to go and get some rest.
And here he is now. He started year one at school yesterday! My gorgeous little boy. X
This is Robyn, she spent 5 weeks in NICU after having a life changing surgery at 1 day old, she was brought at 34 weeks due to poor fetal growth. We found out shortly after birth that she had a rare condition called TOF. The first few days in NICU are a little bit of a blur and I don’t remember much other than feeling helpless, miserable and wondering why us. You try your hardest through pregnancy to keep your baby healthy and things go wrong you feel to blame. As time went on it got a little easier. I made so many friends whilst there and I’m still very close to some of them now. At times like that you need your family and friends around you, unfortunately we were in a different hospital 40 miles from home so my friends and family weren’t a stone throw away. It’s a very lonely time. All you want is to bring that little bundle of joy home but you can’t. It’s a unique type of hell, all the machines beeping, the noise but yet it’s deathly quiet. There’s babies around but not much noise from them. Each day your getting closer to that day you get to bring your baby home. And then when you finally do. It’s amazing xx
Now this is my little fighter, 18 months old x
My beautiful nephew lincoln (link).
Born by emergency cessation at 33 weeks after they realised he was measuring small due to restricted blood flow weighing a tiny 3lb 5oz. Hes now 2 weeks old weighing 4lb 6oz 😍 hes done amazing and so has my sister by expressing feeds for him
Ava, born at 41+5 weighing 5lb 8oz. Born by emergency c section showing no signs of life, had to be resuscitated. Had to be transferred to another hospital and she had HIE (brain injury) at level 3 which is the highest level. Also meconium aspiration and suspected sepsis. She was sedated and cooled for 3 days to protect her brain. Later an MRI also showed a bleed on the brain. We spent 1 week in neonatal as once she started getting better she came on very quickly. We don’t know if there is any lasting impact on her but she is monitored by a consultant on a regular basis.
Now 16 months old and meeting all of her milestones and more! Doing extremely well ❤
This is my princess she is 8 weeks now and doing well, I hated the fact after I gave birth they took her away cause she was born at 35 weeks, but she is a fighting warrior now xx
This is her now
My twins were in hospital for three weeks born at 34 weeks ❤️.. Hayes not having them beside me or home with me they are now two in October.
This is them now
This is Lilly-Rae born at 30+6 due to me becoming extremely unwell and getting worse and pre eclampsia (no obvious signs of it aswell) she spent 4 weeks in nicu, 1 day on ventilator and 5 days on cpap the rest time she was doing it all 😃 no health problems of what we no off. She is now 5 months (on the 18th) nearly 3 months corrected. Born At 3lb9
And now she weighs 10lb2
Vicky Day Lightowler
My perfect little Hobbit, born at 40+2 I thought everything was going to be perfect, he was born after an horrendous labour, weighing 8lb 4oz, all I wanted was to hold him, and hear him cry, but he didn’t cry, for nearly 5 minutes the doctors where trying to resuscitate him, when he eventually starting to breath again, I was allowed a quick cuddle with my baby and then he was taken from me to go to NICU, I couldn’t bring myself to see him, it took my partner hours to persuade me that he wasn’t all that bad, I didn’t want to see him in there, covered in wires, but eventually I brought myself to him, all I kept thinking was that I must be an awful mum to have failed my son like this, he was in NICU for 2 days before being brought up to me in the ward, he had to be taken down every 3 hours for antibiotics, we were only I’m the hospital for a week but it felt like the longest time, I appreciate that my story isn’t as serious as some others, but it’s still my story, Alex is 4 years old now, starting school next week, and he wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for the amazing doctors and nurses in the NICU department ❤❤
This is my beauty Rosie!
She was spontaneously born at 35 weeks after 11 hours in labour weighing 6lb 4oz.. there was no other reason for her birth except she wanted out.
All pregnancy was fine and normal.
She has to spend around 4 weeks in NICU due to her weight suddenly dropping majorly.
She also had abit jaundice and couldn’t suckle on me or a bottle so was tube fed.
The first week of her life was the worst for me because I couldn’t actually be with her.. I was bed bound on the ward upstairs due to suffering dizziness and blackouts.
I was unable to walk without falling over.
Doctors did every test and narrowed it down to the epidural I had was done too close to my spine but also the person performing it was terrible. Hurt me and caused me lose alot of unnecessary blood. (Thankfully my partner kicked him out and got me a new one)
My partner was also so amazing through beginning Rosie life He spent day and night in the hospital NICU taking care of our little girl but also making sure I received the best care.
He took photos of our little girl to show me whilst I couldn’t get to her.
After my own 1 week stay in hospital I finally got better enough to go home
Unfortunately I had to leave my little girl behind. She wasn’t yet well enough to come home
I hated it going home at night but not able to hear her cry.. just stared at her empty basket.
Eventually Rosie got better enough to come home with me.
The few day before I cannot fault the NICU team.
They was amazing with me and my partner.
Because our daughter was coming home with her feeding tube they gave us a room to stay in with her.
Taught us how to do the tube feeding.
Check for respiratory to make sure tube was still in correct place before feeding.
She now a happy healthy 3.5 year old
Had my son Theo born 35 weeks due to abruption of the placenta he was unwell and had sepsis and collapse lungs. He was on cpap and antibiotics for a week then went onto aptiflow and after 3 weeks came home but had 2 day weighing he’s now 13 weeks but 8 weeks corrected he’s my little warrior 💕
Born full term but was very poorly. Had low blood sugar and low body temperature (1.9 and 34.4) got tested for all kinds of infections had lumbar puncture etc. Spent 11 days in nicu. Now nearly 17 months happy and healthy.
Theo was born at 34+4 weeks due to me being diagnosed with preeclampsia which progressed into full blown eclampsia very quick and needing an emergency caesarean. He was born wheezing, had a minor infection and had jaundice due to the medication I was given to stabilise my blood pressure. He spent 10 days in NICU and is now 7 weeks old.
Born 30+6 2lbs 7oz. She is now 7lbs 13oz! 😍
My Markus born on 14th July 2018, due date 24th October 2018. 15 weeks early, 25+4, weighing 805 grams. Nearly 8 weeks old, still in nicu but doing amazing, slowly getting him into a cot and starting to practice feeding. Only needing a little bit of oxygen support but doing amazing, no known problems. My little super star. (Picture one when born, picture 2 now)
Ruby-may was born full term but swallowed her poo in the womb so had an emergency c-section to get her out , when she was born she was floppy and unresponsive but started breathing after 9 minutes she was rushed up to nicu and put on a cooling mat to minimise brain damage she was on the Mat for 3 days til she could be warmed up , she had her brain scan and came back all clear the only damage she had was to her ear follicles which has left her deaf . She is now 1 and has hearing aids and does everything she should be doing 💗💗💗
Lilly born at 35+2 weighing 4lbs2 through emergency induction due to iugr and episodes of absent blood flow, we had a horrific birth and she was taken to nicu and was on high flow oxygen and being treated for sepsis, all her feeds were through her ng tube. We were only kept in for 4 days and then 3 days in tcu but it was heart breaking. Lilly is now 16 weeks and 9lbs3 were still in and out of hospital, but these little nicu babies really are very strong!💓
My son was born at 37+4 via emergency section and was immediately taken to NICU as he was born in poor condition. Following delivery he had multiple bleeds on the brain and 3 different kinds of strokes. He was in NICU / special care for 9 days and was on a feeding tube during this time (came off feeding tube day before discharge). He’s got permanent brain damage and will have life long consequences but he’s doing amazing and meeting milestones (finally after a delay in development at the start) and can say everything in the book, can tell you shapes, colours, animals and their sounds etc the difference between vehicles (he’s obsessed with airplanes). He’s a very special boy!!!!💙
Becky P Raspberry
My son was born at 35 weeks but he was 9lb 6.5oz.
He had a rare genetic condition called hyperinsulinism which means he has way too much insulin and can cause babies to be large when born, he was c sectioned after going in for reduced movement so it was a shock.
He was unwell and was taken from me after 20 minutes, I didn’t see him till the next day, my local couldnt get his blood sugars up so he was transferred to great ormond Street at 3 days old and stayed there for 5 months, 2 of which were spent in the Nicu/Picu.
He became soo fluid overloaded from requiring high volumes of glucose that he blew up. Like a balloon and couldnt breathe, nor could you even see his eyes.
He had a pancreatectomy at 2 months old and his sugar levels were alot more managable, and he came off ventilation just 5 days after his op and did so well the doctors wernt expecting him to do that well as he’d been on the highest form of ventilation for over a month.
He spent a further 3 months on the ward sorting out his feeding and medications, and I finally bought him home at 5 months old.
He’s now 3.5 years, and it’s a constant battle to keep his sugar levels safe. X
My NICU baby – he will be 2 in October!
My beautiful boy was on 1st March 2016 with two critical heart conditions that we knew nothing about until he rapidly start to deteriorate when he was only four hours old. He spent the first three days of his life in the NICU at out local hospital and then was transferred to Birmingham children’s hospital at 3 days old and was taken straight to intensive care. He had open heart surgery at 4 days old and then again at ten days old where he had a valve transplant. We were told he would 100% die without the surgeries but there was still a high percentage chance we could lose him anyway because of how critical he was and how poorly his heart was. He’s now two and such an amazing little boy! 💙💙 Picture 2 is his first day of nursery!
Jenna Kitty Kitson
This is my little 28+4 weeker via emergency c section weighed 830g, born due to her placenter not working and the blood flow to her cord I was taking away rather than giving back to her , she had countless blood transfusions while in there , she was on oxygen for a while untill the last few days of her been in nicu after a very long 9 weeks of one step forward 6 back , she’s now one year old , very stubborn 😂 when she wants to be , she’s got development delay , and has cerebal palasy but I wouldn’t have her any other way love the bones of her she my little premmie warrior 💗💗xx
Now my angel baby. Full term & VERY unexpected 😢❤️
No problems during pregnancy, birth however is a different story.. born at 42 weeks wasn’t breathing at birth, collapsed lung and infection and was taken straight away to NICU didn’t get to hold him until the next day
My 26weeker hugo now 13months, PPROMed at 21+5 and went into spontaneous labour at 26 weeks,he weighed 880g born, had a hole in his lung when born, had ecoli meningitis, suspected NEC twice, bloody transfusions, platelets, many cannulas (13 in a week at one point) spent 12 weeks in NICU, hes my little superman, now hes a happy chunky boy with no long term health problems xxx
This is my Nathan now 19 months old.. he was born at 32 weeks! Weighing a good 4lb 6.5oz. I was in pain for a few days… got checked out and sent away with braxon hicks.. 2 days later I couldn’t bare the pain.. went back in and waited in a hallway for about a hour and someone said ‘you really are in pain aren’t you?’ I said yes and they got me a bed to asses me, around 2 hours later my little one was born! No explanation nothing.. my waters came out in a ball that popped onto my sister 😂 but my little tiny baby was okay! The staff in NICU are the most lovely people I have ever met… they supported my baby’s need & helped me with the best advice for my emotional needs too as I couldn’t stay with my baby I had to go home each night without him 💕
Caidan Christopher Canning
4lb4 born 8 weeks to early!!! 31/0716 so he’s 2 now and doing so well!! Nicu staff were amazing, so kind and helpful the scariest experience of my life having him so early but they were all there to help all the way
Look at him now!
Arabella Wren, 5lb 7oz. Waters went at 34 weeks, they kept her in for 2 weeks and she was born at 36 weeks. All the scans had suggested she would be fine, but she had respiratory distress syndrome when she was born and suspected sepsis and was taken straight to neonatal. She was stabilised for 12 hours before we could see her. She had immature lungs (despite two lots of steroids), RDS, prolonged jaundice and still managed to come home in less than 2 weeks ❤️❤️
Look at her now!
Born 2 weeks over due by c section born unresponsive and with sepsis. Nicu staff are amazing ❤️
And finally, our very own colleague Bethany Collings!
My son Marcus was born via section. I was induced due to an unknown illness at the time, which later turned into Herpes Virus Simplex (coldsore virus) and it took 6 days to show in my son.
On the sixth day he was transferred to Arrowe Park where he was diagnosed with the same virus, as well as meningitis.
He spent 4 weeks in neonatal and he’s on his medication for 6 months now to prevent him getting poorly again.
I’m extremely lucky for him to be alive today!
How amazing are all these babies & their parents?! I’m in awe at the strength and tenacity they’ve all shown during what must be one of the hardest times possible. Do YOU have a NICU baby? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
Are you a parent blogger with a post about NICU awareness that you’d like us to guest feature? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Love from Katie. Xx