June 25th, 2015
From: Ashton Taylor
[Mother of a Preterm Baby Boy]
My name is Ashton Taylor, I am a new (ish) mom to a wonderful little boy, David. David was born at the Royal Alexander Hospital on June 20th, 2014, and weighed in at a whopping 1 pound 12 oz, and was 11 inches long. He was also 16 weeks premature, and we spent the first 5 months of his life in the NICU at the Royal Alex as well as a short stay in the Stollery. While my personal stay in the hospital was short, 7 days prior to his birth and 3 days after, the experience was eye opening and I am hoping that by reaching out to you we can work on making something positive in a way from such a sad and scary situation.
In the 2013/2014 birth statistics 56,582 babies were born in Alberta, and research has shown that 1 in 10 babies is born premature. That means from that 56,582 babies born roughly 5,658 babies were premature. When a mother gives birth she is then moved to the postpartum wing of a hospital, and what I experienced there was eye opening not only as a preterm mother, but as first time mother. The Nursing staff and doctors were incredible, and were nothing but supportive during my stay in the postpartum wing, but there were some things that I feel should be taken into consideration for mothers in delicate situations. I was housed in a shared room with a mother who had, had a full term infant who could come and go as she pleased, had visitors come hold and see her baby. I spent nights in tears, because while my roommate was feeding and soothing her baby, mine was in another far part of the hospital fighting for his life and I could not hold him for fear it would do more harm than good at that point in his short life.
I had met a few moms in the NICU, as well as some on online message boards that have had similar views in hoping that there is some way that we can have mothers or preterm or sick babies not roomed with mothers of full term babies. We are just hoping for that small victory at this time, but our long term goal is that level three preemie mothers or mothers of gravely ill babies, requiring extended stay in the NICU get housed in a completely different place, away from the full term, healthy baby mothers. The reasoning behind that is, this is a very stressful and emotional situation that I would not wish on my worst enemy, and it is exacerbated by the fact that at night you hear the baby of your roommate or the babies down the hall, crying and then being soothed by their mothers and you are left wishing that was you. You are left crying yourself to sleep because you are unsure your child’s fate or when you will be able to hold your child.
The nurses also, no matter how well meaning they are, should not be expected to remember which mothers are preterm or full term when they are listed out so many during a shift. I have talked to many a mother who would call the nurses station for medicines, or even help to go to the other end of the hospital to see their child, and be greeted with, “Do you need something for your baby?” or “Do you need me to go and get your baby?” That is something that I feel would be eliminated, by simply housing the mothers of NICU babies separately. No one know what you are feeling more than another NICU mommy at that point. Those bonds forged early gave me the strength during our worst days, and the voice to speak out for those mother going through this pain right now.
I hope that you can help point me in a direction to make this possible, and help save those mother and families a little less pain. Thank you for your time.
Ashton M. Taylor