The Spoons team were a friendly face during a difficult time.

In particular, one volunteer, Janine went out of her way to speak to me and make me feel comfortable during the coffee evening and a few times at Lucie’s bedside. We had several helpful conversations and shared experiences. I also feel comfortable knowing there is some counselling available if I need this down the line, as explained by Shahnaz on the Spoons team. I’m looking forward to attending the groups such as sensory sessions and weaning, which gives me a sense of normality to look forward to in the midst of Lucie’s many medical appointments now we’re home. Thank you!

There are many challenges that neonatal families face, like learning to care for a baby with the additional pressures of their medical needs/progress and sometimes equipment making that a bit more difficult. Having to leave your baby at the unit, especially as they begin to have more awake periods. It’s an emotionally difficult time and this can be exacerbated for some parents if the mother has been unwell adding a physical difficulty to things too. Not having the time to process what’s happened to you and the baby to focus on what they need to get them home (when they’re ready!). Learning to navigate people’s questions and how they might make you feel.

If I was to offer any advice it would be to ask questions, and ask them repeatedly if you forget in the haze of stress and baby brain! Everyone is there to support you and your baby. I was conscious of forgetting things that were important for our daughter/wanted to update my husband when he got to the unit after work.

I kept a NICU journal that I could fill in a daily entry to keep track of everything that was happening, it gave me some time for some thinking space when our daughter was resting in her incubator/cot and it will be a memory to revisit down the line.

I particularly liked it had a ‘something to be grateful for’ section to fill in each day, to remember the positives, a friend bought it for.

I’d also say to look after yourself as you can’t be there for your baby if you’re not well yourself! It’s a tricky mindset to have but necessary.

We wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ to Sarah for raising vital funds to support Spoons through her sponsored hair cut recently. 

Baby Lucie in NICU Lucie Sarah and family