Much to our surprise, not only did our son come out breathing, but he was even crying! I remember feeling so relieved in the moment. We enjoyed a couple of minutes of skin-to-skin before he was put in the cot and the midwives checked him over.
It wasn’t long until the NICU team arrived to take him to the Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) – something we knew would be happening regardless. My husband and I had decided before our son was born that he would go wherever the baby went, so the baby was never alone. So all of a sudden, I went from a full room of midwives, doctors, my husband and baby, to being totally alone. My midwife kept popping in to check on me, of course, and provided me with the famous post-delivery toast. But for the most of this time post-delivery, I was alone.
My husband came back about 90 minutes later with the NICU doctor, who told me that not all was well. Our son wasn’t able to breathe unaided, and they would need to perform further tests and scans in order to find out the true extent of the lesions. It was around 4 hours after giving birth that I was able to cast my eyes on my boy again, and a long 24 hours before I was able to hold him properly. This is the case for many NICU parents. Some wait for hours, days, or weeks to hold their babies.