After being a NICU mum

It’s the first night at home after being discharged from the hospital. I haven’t slept a wink.

I keep thinking I won’t hear her if she cries for food. I literally just watched her sleep. I would sometimes check for a rise and fall in her chest so I was sure she was still breathing .

Imagine doing manual observations on your own baby ‘lol’ ! ( perks of being a paediatric nurse)

Every time I go to pick her up i’m careful of her arm. Sometimes I forget and pick her up as I would a normal baby and she would cry out in pain. I would apologise to her a thousand times.

Anytime someone wanted to hold her or touch her- I was there – her personal bodyguard- I was like a lioness protecting her cub, I was ready to pounce on anyone that would so much as make my baby girl frown.

It got to a point where I didn’t want to go out , to family functions especially . The thought of an aunty coming to pick her up carelessly and throwing her up like a doll sent shudders down my spine.

I was tired of explaining why my baby needed to be handled with care. Maybe I should wrap her in a white and red ‘FRAGILE’ tape or better still a black and yellow ‘DO NOT TOUCH’one!

We’ve gone to the see the orthopaedic specialists about her arm. They confirmed the nerves in her shoulders andcneck are severly damaged and it will take alot of physio to help them heal.

I was hoping her arm was fractured to be honest. At least that way the bones can heal fast.

But nerve damage is alot more complicated.

Days , weeks , months went by… she was developing a firm grip and more movement in her arm… I was getting hopeful .

I was also checking developmental milestones every month- I had to make sure she was meeting them. Her meeting them would give me the hint that maybe her brain was free from injury after her traumatic birth.

Her first smile was everything! Not because of wind, not by chance but a genuine smile . – my baby might be ok after all.

Despite all the birth complications I had to also come to terms with being a new mum. To the outside world I was confident Zainab, maternal Zainab, strong Zainab but within myself I was frail Zainab… people would assume I was the perfect mum who had everything under control.

oh you’re fine you’re a neontal nurse’ you look after baby’s all the time’

Well! first of all … I look after sick babies… my baby is well (Alhamdulillah) . With 100+ collegues. In a secure hospital. With break time (sometimes).

And secondly, I give the babies back after a shift but I cant with my own!

Mentally I felt like a dandelion and its seeds… if someone had blown on me gently I would fall apart… part of it was to do with my uncontrollable hormones… I would cry at the slightest most irrelevant thing – a far cry from the bulldozer on a rugby pitch on a Sunday .

Having a child was like someone pressed the reset button. I was starting to lose my identity- who is this new person I’ve become? ( ooh that’s a nice idea for a blog post- anyway back to the story!)

My daughters next appointment came and I was excited to show the consultant what she could now do with her once limp arm.

He examined her arm and did a few stretches, which she found visibly uncomfortable . He handed her back to me and I wasn’t prepared to hear what he was about to say…

‘Im sorry mum but she’s going to need surgery on her arm’

Whattt!!! Surgery!!? But my baby is only 5 months and I thought she was doing well.- it turns out she should have made more progress and her arm was worse than they thought. Something not just physio was able to fix.

Everything the doctor was saying… wasn’t registering. It was going into one ear and out the other. The only thing I took away from that appointment was that my baby girl was going to have surgery in a months time.

I didn’t want that day to come but eventally it did…

Watch out for my next blog post to find out what happened.

Zee x

4 thoughts on “After being a NICU mum

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