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World Prematurity Day - Ruben's Story

17 Nov 2020 13:34:57
Ruben

Ruben was born on 20 September 2016, an astounding 10 weeks early, and weighing a tiny 2lb 1oz.

Here mum Lucy tells us Ruben’s story: “We knew from around 26 weeks that it was very likely Ruben would come early as he wasn’t growing. At a check-up at 30 weeks we were told he’d need to be delivered immediately. When he was born he needed a high level of care due to chronic lung disease; he was unable to keep his oxygen levels without support.

“We’d had a tour of the Special Care Baby Unit at around 26 weeks so already had our minds put at ease as the team in SCBU were all amazing and so reassuring. I was able to visit him a few hours after he was born once he had been properly assessed and I felt well enough. My husband went to see him as soon as we heard it was ok.

“It is a shock when you first see your baby and they have a large number of wires and breathing apparatus attached to them. We had everything explained to us at every stage including what all the beeps meant. The nurses were incredible and would often sit with us for long periods to help us work through our worries and to put our minds at rest with what we were seeing and experiencing. They all have such a wealth of experience that it was great to hear previous success stories from families they’d treated that had faced similar problems, this always gave us some much needed hope. 

“As we always knew Ruben would be on SCBU for so long. He was on SCBU for 12 weeks and three days. I had been back home since he was two days old and travelling in to see him. It was tricky juggling a baby in SCBU and two other children but it was always made easier by the team in SCBU. They would always happily take my calls during the time I wasn’t there and would answer all my questions. Ruben was there so long that he’d become the favourite of a couple of the nursing team and it was a great feeling to know he was being looked after by people who had made such a strong connection with both Ruben and us as a family. My birthday was two months into Ruben’s stay in hospital and the team had made me a Birthday card with Ruben’s feet printed onto it and had decorated his incubator for my arrival. They also encouraged my husband and I to go out for a meal to celebrate and did everything they could to make it so we could do that guilt free knowing he was having cuddles with one of them.  

We asked Lucy what she would say to another parent facing the prospect of having a baby on SCBU, she said: “It’s scary, there’s no way around that. But if your baby is in SCBU it’s because they need the expert care that they will absolutely receive. Ask questions, all the questions. They will be answered and you will feel reassured. Talk to the other parents in there too, you all have something in common and it’s important to share your feelings with others as it helps. 

“And lastly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, it’s so hard having a baby staying in the hospital while you’re at home but you can’t be in 2 places at once and you have to look after yourself so you’re ready for when your baby comes home.”

Lucy added: “Now Ruben is an absolute Rockstar! He has just turned 4 and is full of enthusiasm and joy for life. You wouldn’t know he had such a rocky start to his life. I look back on my time on SCBU fondly, I haven’t got a bad word to say about the team or the time we spent in SCBU.

“We didn’t even know World Prematurity Day was a thing until we celebrated our first one in SCBU in 2016 and we have celebrated every year since. I had no appreciation for how difficult it is for parents of premature children until I went though it myself. It’s important that there is a greater understanding that we as parents of premature babies feel that we have had time stolen from us due to their prolonged stay in hospitals.”