By Ally Filinski
Once all the monitors are off and the alarms go silent, you pinch yourself that the time is finally here. Your baby is now a baby in new clothes and swaddled up tight in your arms. We have been waiting for weeks for this moment and it's finally here, then I get this overwhelming sensation come over me, Fear. How do I know if my baby is having a brady? How am I going to know if they have a desat? Why is it that after weeks of wanting them to come off the monitors that I am all of a sudden petrified. Can I take a stats monitor home with me to do random checks? How do we know if the time is right for them to come off monitors? Why ? Because we know no other way? This is what we are used to, a machine telling us if our daughter is breathing and if her heart is beating.
Being a first time mum with a NICU baby, you learn so much that you forget that at the end of the road you will get to take your baby home with no monitors, no nurses and no alarms. When we brought Isabelle home, she had apnoea. There where times when I would just sit there and watch to make sure she was breathing, in actual fact I still do. We had 2 blue episodes with her, both times when I was breastfeeding.
The whole time we where in NICU with Penelope and she was needing oxygen we were scared, we didn't want to bring her home on oxygen. Why? because we never had to with Isabelle and we didn't want to with Penelope. Selfish? No I don't think so. You never want there to be anything wrong with your children and if there is, you have to deal with it as best you can and make them feel as though they are no different to anyone else. Just the other day, I was told by the nurses who where with Penelope when she was born, that we are very lucky she is still here.
One thing though I never bought was one of those Angel Mat sleeping monitor things, and so many people asked me why I didn't have them with both kids being in NICU ? Because to me, they would only add fuel to my fear of losing them. I have had enough of alarms in hospital that I didn't want to bring that home with me. You learn a lot as a NICU mum, and one thing I know is true is a mothers intuition. Deep down, you know when something isn't right and I haven't been wrong yet.