Finally at home! The discharge – everybody has the right to holiday!

Premature birth differs from any other kind of birth – this often applies also to the day of discharge of the mother and the baby. In contrast to other parents, with premature children the mother and the baby often leave the hospital at different times because of the need for prolonged hospital stay of the baby. Although this might seem insignificant at first glance, mothers often take it to heart and say that they are overwhelmed with the feeling that they have abandoned their child, and accuse themselves of this.

This can be very hard when the family is from a smaller town whereas the child remains for observation in a hospital in a bigger district centre. The difficulty of experiencing the period of separation makes some mothers very worried and the lack of a system of timely feedback and the complicated communication with the hospital staff in relation to the child’s condition is experienced very intensively. Many parents postpone in time the receiving of guests or congratulations on the appearance of the new family member, because they find it difficult to accept the event as something jolly. In some cases they even miss to mark the discharge from the hospital as something special, because they experience very mixed and different feelings with regard to what happened. This is supplemented also by some parents’ difficulty to determine the exact birthday of their children – one is the day of their premature coming into the world, the other one is the day of their planned birth. This tendency of double calculation of the age – the calendar and the corrected one – is preserved over the years and unnoticeably creates a more specific attitude to the child. Not infrequently, the parent associates his/her birthday with bad memories for many long years; it even darkens the joy of celebration.

It is important for the parents to achieve reconciliation with what happened within themselves – their child is here now and has the right to be accepted in the world as any other child, regardless of when and how he/she appeared. For this purpose, the work with a psychologist or a psychotherapist is sometimes very useful.

Най-после у дома

The baby is at home – now where to?

The baby’s discharge may also lead to actual worries in premature children’s parents – will you cope, especially in the cases of physical complications. The increased risk of rehospitalisation often leaves the parents with the feeling of frustration and failure in their role of carers of the baby and does not allow them to relax with relief for a long time that everything has finished and they can look ahead without worry.

It is important to know that each case is individual and it is difficult to foresee with perfect precision how your life will run after your child’s discharge. In this period, it is good to have somebody by your side to help you, without burdening you emotionally (all anxious grandmothers, aunts and neighbours can wait in the background until you feel more confident in your own powers to take care of the baby). Internet groups often help with this. You can see all kinds of stories and your positive experience on the Internet, or issues related to the raising of premature children, as well as emotional support and mutual assistance groups.

However, information that is too varied and accessible is a double-edged sword for the young family. It can undermine your assurance about what is best for your child, make you have doubts about whether the doctor in charge is doing the best for you and whether, instead of helping you, often throws you in confusion. You had better find proven specialists you believe in and try to filter out the huge information flow and advice. The peace at home in this period is an irreplaceable source of supporting environment for the baby.

In their attempt to do the best for their children, some families fuss over and create a mini hospital at home, equipped with any type of equipment, measuring instruments, medicines and medical indices of growth. Although it is true that some health states and the complicated health system in this country require from parents to be aware of their children’s physical needs or to be able to perform some elementary medical procedures, this should not become an end in itself. Preoccupied with observation of whether everything about the child develops ‘by the book’; you should not forget that children would be children and need your love, a song or a story, games and fun. The difficulties associated with health are the medical specialists’ concern, whereas the parent cannot and should not be a specialist in everything at the price of the family’s emotional peace. Sometimes a rehabilitation procedure is less important than smiling at your child today. It is less important than whether you can really listen to him/her indeed. A good parent does not mean a perfect parent or a super hero, but a parent who loves his/her child and does what is within his/her powers.

Welcome to  "All About Premature Babies" website.
This is a project of "Our premature babies" Foundation based in Bulgaria. The book is a result of a team’s hardwork that includes doctors, psychologists, breastfeeding consultants and premature babies parents. The common information about premature babies which you can find here will help you understand better the situation you've been facing.
Please keep in mind that some of the information related to the neonatal intensive care units is prevalent only in Bulgaria.

We hope that this website and the book are going to help you to be more informed, calm and confident. We wish you and your baby best of luck and health.

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