Having a premature baby: 10 things you need to know.

Diane and Alexandre were born at week 35, almost 36. For those of you who are not familiar with this, babies are due on week 41. Twins are normally due 3 weeks before that. I was scheduled to give birth mid march.
As I’ve mentioned, my twins decided to show up on February 23rd, so three weeks before their due-date.

I’ve been told that past week 34, there’s rarely a vital risk and that at week 36, they can adapt to the outside world. I had gotten there. I was happy. They’re safe now.

What I didn’t know is that even though they’re more or less on the safe side, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to have them and take them home the next day.

Here’s a list of things I’ve learned from having my twins in special care for three weeks after their birth before being able to take them home:

1- If you’re in this situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s very serious. Sometimes it’s just a phase they have to get through, especially when they’re twins.

2- You’re still their mom. They haven’t picked a nurse to be their mom instead of you. The connection, even if it doesn’t really look like it sometimes, is still there between you and your baby.

3- Remember that towards the nurses, doctors and everyone who’s taking care of them, you are the mother (and father). Do not let them tell you what to do. Obviously, do listen to what they have to say, but remember that you have a saying in everything related to your newborn.

4- Demand explanations. The staff may have a tendency to ignore giving you some information and/or explanations since to them, it’s standard procedure. Remind them that you do not know what’s happening and they have to explain step-by-step what’s going on.

5- Talk about it. It’s a hard phase, very hard even. It’s a huge psychological burden. Talk about it, a lot, with your partner. It is definitely not easy to not have your babies with you all the time. It is difficult to go back home after your maternity stay without your baby. I definitely didn’t imagine I’d be back « empty handed ».

6- Know exactly why your babies are still at the hospital. The reason can also change without you knowing. For example, what can start as « your baby isn’t breathing properly » can become a « we’re just waiting till your baby can finish all his bottles of milk« .

7- Be present. For your baby of course, but also towards the staff. Ask questions, talk to everyone.

8- Take it easy. Do not be too hard on yourself. You’re not being a bad mother because they have to stay for a while. You didn’t do anything wrong.

9- Do not worry about looking like an idiot to others. Sing to your newborns, talk baby to them, do whatever you would have done alone. The other parents in the same room would definitely understand and might even feel more comfortable to do so as well. If you want to breastfeed, do it. It’s not extremely convenient to have people around, but it shouldn’t stop you from doing it.

10- Finally, do not worry about people asking you about how wonderful life is with your newborns when you’re not even being able to be with them as much as you want. Just smile and nod, but definitely don’t feel bad about it.

Your feedback and experiences are more than welcome!


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