• Chantelle Vischer

The NICU is a scary place to be

Hi there,


One of the things that we pride ourselves with here at Brave Development is that we strive to remain real and vulnerable with our audience at all times. So, today’s post is going to be somewhat of a vulnerable one from me. You see, just 3 months ago my little guy Zeke-Hunter managed to contract an infection on his lungs (whilst still in the womb) and ended up being born just over a month early via an emergency c-section.


Now, because of the infection on his lungs, he had to spend a week in the NICU in the midst of this terrible pandemic. Which meant that the rules surrounding visitors were extra strict, and rightfully so. As with many other NICU parents myself and my husband weren’t able to hold our dear boy directly after birth and had to wait a few days before we could do so. Breastfeeding was a challenge and bonding was difficult as he had to remain in the incubator for medical reasons. It just wasn’t AT ALL how I imagined the coming of our 2nd baby boy to turn out. I had to spend some nights at home, pumping every 2 hours to supply breast milk and lying awake worrying as I had to entrust the life of our newly born son in the hands of the NICU nurses (who were incredible with both him and myself, might I add – True heroes).


Anyway, I remember sitting in the NICU the one day, just as he was about to be discharged, surrounded by so many other mommies, some that have been in there for 90 days or longer and my heart just started to ache for them. I also realised that I was fairly equipped to handle a baby in the NICU because of my OT training, but that some of these mommies had no clue and very little external support and guidance on dealing with a NICU baby. Which brings me to today’s blog. I believe that not very many people realise that OT’s do play a role in the NICU.


You see, when a child is born prematurely, they might need extra support and assistance in order to prevent certain developmental delays or fallouts in future. Therefore, an OT offers assistance with bonding as well as laying the groundwork for achieving future developmental milestones. We play a role in positioning, sensory and visual stimulation; as well as hand functioning and muscle strengthening. All of which are critical in laying a sound foundation for the overall future functioning of the itty-bitty NICU babies.


If you find yourself sitting the a NICU unsure, overwhelmed and ill-equipped you don’t have to be… Contact you a local OT or ask your NICU nurse / Paediatrician for a referral. You can also visit these wonderful blog posts written by dear friends of mine for support and guidance:


https://www.bravedevelopment.co.za/post/parent-s-talk-the-journey-of-a-premie-parent

https://www.bravedevelopment.co.za/post/ot-talk-10-premmie-tips


You are not alone. We are here to support you.


Love,

Chans



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