Giving birth 6 weeks early, NICU, getting home, fear and love - the first 3 weeks of baby Grace by @maddie_parker20

My name is Maddie Parker, I am 32 years old and I am a new mum to my gorgeous 3 week old, Grace.

Grace was a bit of a surprise for me and my husband, Rob, when she decided to come 6 weeks early. On 13th March, I was resting up at home because I had bad pelvic girdle pains, which I had suffered from throughout the second and third trimesters. On the morning of 14th March, it got worse, so Rob and I went to the hospital to pick up some dihydrocodeine, then we were told I was 4cm dilated after an internal examination and the baby was coming that day (obviously long story cut very short). After a natural, breech delivery, Grace was in NICU for 2 days and the neonatal ward for 8 days after that - I stayed with her at the hospital, being lucky enough to secure a bedroom on the neonatal ward.

I hadn’t packed a hospital bag, we hadn’t picked up the car seat or pram….we were not prepared! But this little bundle of joy got us prepared very quickly after she entered the world. I stayed at the hospital and my husband got everything else sorted at the house as well as bringing me clothes, LARGE knickers and all my everyday necessities.

The silver lining of this happening was the help we got from the NHS midwives and nurses at Gloucester Hospital, who helped me breastfeed, bathe Grace, change nappies etc - I now do not know how people can leave the hospital on the same day as delivering with their first child and be okay! You are all superhumans.

On day 10, Rob came to collect me and Grace to come home. I was so nervous, what if I can’t look after her? What if Grace doesn’t like it at home because she’s used to the nurses and hospital environment? What if, what if, what if. But we had no choice and we got home! The first night was ………awful! I stayed up with Grace until 4.30am because she didn’t settle in the crib next to me - but she slept in the hospital cots fine!! Why didn’t she sleep in the crib at home? I had read co-sleeping is dangerous so I stayed awake and this is when the ‘baby blues’ kicked in for me, I felt alone and I felt like I was failing! I have suffered from depression and anxiety and I take Sertraline, but nothing prepared me for the postpartum tiredness and hormone imbalances. I thought I was getting postpartum depression and it terrified me. 8pm is when the anxiety kicked in during the evenings, worrying about the night ahead. But I spoke to friends who just had a baby as well and slowly realised my thoughts and worries were ‘normal’ for this stage and i was continually getting reassured that IT GETS EASIER.

Day 21/22 hit and I started to understand what they meant. I started to feel myself. I started to feel like I was getting to know Grace and kept getting the waves of ‘oh my god, I’m your Mummy’ and it scares me but I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

Don’t get me wrong, every day I will probably cry at something but she’s only 25 days old and we are learning about each other every day.

Day 25 - new fears conquered:

1. I drove alone with Grace in the car (for a 5-minute journey)

2. I showered whilst it was just me and Grace (my Mum was in the bedroom so I had backup if needed but we didn’t need it)

3. We went to the supermarket yesterday

4. We met Rob for lunch in town yesterday

5. I breastfed at lunch

These things might be small but they are the things that are getting me more and more confident looking after our baby girl and I will do whatever I can for her and be the best Mum I can for her.

My new life mottos:

Trust the process

Things get easier

I can do this

Comments (1)

  • Kayleigh x on May 10, 2022

    You are smashing it Mads. You’re a fantastic mumma to baby Gracie and she loves you so much! Xxx

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