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Can you even prepare for an 'early' birth?


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#1 gemgirl

Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:35 PM

I'm trying to be optimistic, and I feel great, but the midwife and doctors are concerned about my BP and acknowledge that pre-e may be a possibility. "It may be quite an early baby" I was told. I  still have months til the due date, and am no where near 'early baby' stage at this point - nothing is imminent, or feared, but I'm wondering if there's a way to control the uncontrollable.

While I'm feeling well - is there anything I should be preparing? I don't want to pre-empt anything, or seem overly dramatic, because there's just as big a chance nothing will happen. I spoke to my boss about the possibility, we have some small clothes.... anything else?

Edited by gemgirl, 21 February 2018 - 07:36 PM.


#2 AdelTwins

Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:43 PM

Work out where you can buy/hire a good breast pump from. Preferably a double electric pump. You can only use the hospital's pump while you are there so for the first 5 days/nights then only while visiting bubs in the NICU/SCN. No need to buy yet, just write it down for your DH.

My 35w twins went home on EBM, only one ever managed to breast feed.

Pack your hospital bag now and leave it in your car. I was admitted at 28w and had nothing. Went straight from the ultrasound to hospital.

#3 .Jerry.

Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:48 PM

I had preeclampsia, diagnosed at 23 weeks suddenly and hospitalised.  Baby born 27 weeks.

I went to hospital for a midwife check of my BP at suggestion of OB.  I never left until had baby.

When they refused to let me leave due to high BP, Dp went home to "pack my bag".  LOL.  When my sister arrived at my place she found DP randomly chucking stuff in a garbage bag!
She then helped to pack.  But I had to depend on what they sent.  For four weeks.

So.... Pack your bag early.  Very early!!

Check out pump hire.  I hired a hospital grade pump and was reimbursed by my Private Health insurance.

#4 4lilchicks

Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:50 PM

I havent been in this situation but maybe make some meals for DH and yourself? Im sure if bub is early you will be at the hospital a lot and not eating right.

I really hope your baby isnt born until much closer to your due date.

#5 gemgirl

Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:55 PM

Some really good ideas :) Thank you!

#6 Lallalla

Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:56 PM

I don’t think there is a way to control the uncontrollable. But you can be prepared, maybe make and freeze lots of meals really early etc. And you can arm yourself with knowledge (without Dr Google). I would be asking my doctors a lot of questions about babies born at the 23-25 week mark as I understand there are lots of big decisions to be made quickly if that happens. Also talk to parents who have had children in the NICU and/or special care about their experiences, find support groups for premmie baby parents etc.

When pregnant with my twins I went to a multiple births info night for expectant parents - because 50% of twins are born before 37 weeks they talked quite a bit about it. The best thing I learnt there was to demand to see my babies. You can see them sooner than when they think to offer usually.

My girls didn’t end up coming until 38 weeks but it was still useful as I was very sick I was under a GA and then in recovery for about 3 hours, meanwhile before I came out DH and the babies had been sent to the ward to wait for me (at that point i don’t think they realised how sick I was). As I had kept asking where my babies were and when I could see them they eventually brought them and DH back to me, about 2 hours after the birth (I have no idea how long I’d been asking as very foggy).

Good luck I hope your bp stays down and Bub gets to stay in there as long as possible

#7 Cheesy Sanga

Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:58 PM

Also look into buying or hiring a capsule with a prem setting. Or at least knowing which capsule you want and where to get it. The Britax unity isofix is the only one (currently) that has the prem setting.

#8 gemgirl

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:04 PM

View PostCheesy Sanga, on 21 February 2018 - 07:58 PM, said:

Also look into buying or hiring a capsule with a prem setting. Or at least knowing which capsule you want and where to get it. The Britax unity isofix is the only one (currently) that has the prem setting.

Ah, thank you - amazingly that's the one we have :)

I have a DP/ DW, not a DH, and she's really organised with the baby stuff. I might need to pack a bag for me though, and cook some meals to freeze. I have a hospital grade pump from last time. Very hopeful that I'll set all this up and the baby will come at 37 weeks or something :)

Edited by gemgirl, 21 February 2018 - 08:05 PM.


#9 No Drama Please

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:07 PM

I ended up being a month early. It was very unexpected so we had nothing at all ready! We ended up hiring heaps of stuff that day (basinette etc) they had brochures in the waiting room, so you can hire quite a few things if you get really stuck.

But don’t forget a car seat! Me and the midwives were racing around trying to sort something out when I was being discharged and we realised had no way to get the baby home!

#10 *Andi*

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:10 PM

Being mentally prepared will be one of the biggest hurdles, but you sound like you're getting your head around that, which is good. I went to an OB appointment at 32 weeks and was sent to the hospital due to my BP,
which was the start of PE (although he did allow me to quickly go home and throw some things in a bag, as DH had to drive the 40 minutes home to get me). I was then sent to a capital city hospital 2 hours away the next morning, so had to rely on other people bringing me things. Being blindsided and unprepared was the hardest part. Good luck with it all.

#11 Riotproof

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:32 PM

Not really. Packing bag is not even that important, ime.

#12 Bearynice

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:45 PM

You could ask if u could do a tour of special care. Can be good to find out about how they do things ( eg. Rooming in before u go home )
Maybe just familiarise yourself with services available at hospital ( lactation consultant, social worker etc)


#13 Jingleflea

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:46 PM

Make sure there are childcare arrangements for older kids maybe, in case your partner needs to be with you earlier than expected.

Bills paid if due soon so you don't have to worry about late bills.


I'd think if you're pretty early bub will be in hospital long enough to get stuff sorted anyway.


Fingers crossed everything goes to plan!

#14 FretfulMum

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:47 PM

I guess you can do some practical things like have some clothes packed/toiletries etc. I think cooking and freezing meals is very helpful if you can find the energy (or even better outsource this to family!!!) Maybe look into breast pumps but you really don’t need to commit to anything at this stage. Otherwise, I don’t think there is too much more you can do.

Having a very premmie baby is not something you can even mentally prepare for. I found myself reading a lot of blogs/birth stories when I knew DS would be arriving early (I had high BP from 18wks). This helped a little bit but every journey is different. I experienced a huge amount of grief over the abrupt end to my pregnancy, the early arrival & emergency CS, having a baby who I wasn’t sure would survive, having a baby with a brain injury & what that meant for his future, having a baby who wasn’t physically with me for 10wks & yet the world kept turning as if nothing had changed, having so, so many feeding issues. Nothing was how I imagined it to be. It changed me.

#15 gemgirl

Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:56 PM

FretfulMum - how early was your baby born? Did you end up with pre-e? I sound like I have a similar story in terms of timing etc. I had pre-e last time.

#16 FretfulMum

Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:05 PM

View Postgemgirl, on 21 February 2018 - 08:56 PM, said:

FretfulMum - how early was your baby born? Did you end up with pre-e? I sound like I have a similar story in terms of timing etc. I had pre-e last time.

Yes, I ended up with PE/HELLP. DS1 was born at 30wks but his growth had really slowed down/stopped at around 27/28wks. He was 1.1kg & not in good shape when he arrived. Despite having highblood pressure for most of my second trimester onwards I felt completely fine. Until the day before his arrival when I suddenly felt very, very unwell & I knew to get to my Ob quickly.

#17 EmmDasher

Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:14 PM

Don't miss out on the fun stuff! If you're planning a baby shower or get togethers with people, have them earlier rather than later. Likewise maternity shoots.

If you have things you want to do like using vouchers for pregnancy massages, manicures, personal grooming then get in there. You can always use them afterwards I guess but it's not the same.

Fill out the boring Centrelink paperwork and applications so you don't have to worry about it later.

It's basically just doing everything earlier because you may not get that chunk of time on leave at the end to fluff about the house and watch Netflix and play with baby clothes.

Oh, and check with your insurance company that you're covered if bub is early (if you have private health). Ask them what the procedure is to get cover if bub arrives before the expected due date. We had to email a letter from the ob confirming that DD was due on x date but born early on y and then our cover was all sorted.

#18 gemgirl

Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:20 PM

View PostFretfulMum, on 21 February 2018 - 09:05 PM, said:

Yes, I ended up with PE/HELLP. DS1 was born at 30wks but his growth had really slowed down/stopped at around 27/28wks. He was 1.1kg & not in good shape when he arrived. Despite having highblood pressure for most of my second trimester onwards I felt completely fine. Until the day before his arrival when I suddenly felt very, very unwell & I knew to get to my Ob quickly.

Oh gosh :( Is he doing well now?

#19 EmmDasher

Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:24 PM

View PostJenflea, on 21 February 2018 - 08:46 PM, said:


I'd think if you're pretty early bub will be in hospital long enough to get stuff sorted anyway.


This was really not the case for me. I don't think I've ever been busier or worked harder than the time that DD was in special care.

DH went back to work because it was senseless having him wasting his leave while she was in hospital.

I was back and forth constantly from the hospital like a yoyo trying to establish breastfeeding and spending time with her. Pumping was so hard at the start and so time consuming. It was much easier to pump with her. I'd feed her and then spend half an hour pumping, each session could take an hour or more. I was pumping 8-9 times a day and round the clock. Feeding early babies is hard too because they constantly fall asleep and need to be woken. Sitting at Centrelink to deal with PPL paperwork (because I hadn't pre-sorted online access <-- do that ) or having to wait in a queue at Medicare to to set up records and such was the pits. The emotional toll that leaving hospital without your baby takes on you is something that's hard to predict also.

While she was in special care my life was pretty much driving, feeding/pumping, eating and trying to get some sleep. Maybe it's different though if they're very early and not ready to try breastfeeding.

Edited by EmmDasher, 21 February 2018 - 09:24 PM.


#20 FretfulMum

Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:19 PM

View Postgemgirl, on 21 February 2018 - 09:20 PM, said:



Oh gosh :( Is he doing well now?

He is doing amazingly thank you. He has cerebral palsy but we have worked so hard with physiotherapy & occupational therapy that his function is now great. He needs a leg brace to help with walking but other than that it’s hard for a stranger to see anything different about him. It’s been a long, tough road but it makes me ever so greatful that he is here.

I hope you can make it further in your pregnancy & that all the worry of a (potential) early arrival is for nothing 🙂

#21 got my tinsel on

Posted 21 February 2018 - 11:39 PM

I'm another who suggests having your bag packed.

I went to my antenatal appointment at the hospital (33 weeks) and was told to go home, get my bag and come back. (DH was working a couple of hours away).  

I was so shocked as I was feeling so well (nausea and vomiting had finally stopped at 31 weeks) and had no headaches, dizziness, flashing lights.  

I was a mess, and couldn't concentrate, I couldn't think what to pack (even essentials) - still don't know why I packed a huge book of Jane Austen's works.

DD was born by emergency caesarean at 35 weeks when my BP went through the roof due to the pre-eclampsia even though I was being given meds 4 times a day in hospital.

Never too early to have a bag packed, I say.  Just one less thing to have to concern yourself with when things have to happen in a hurry.

Edited by fancie shmancie, 24 February 2018 - 10:39 PM.


#22 Deb999

Posted 22 February 2018 - 03:54 AM

Baby arrived a couple of weeks early for me, due to high BP. I had done most things, such as get baby room ready, have a change station, pack hospital bag. I wadn’t prepared for how small premmie babies are though. So everything I had was far too big. Get a packet of premmie nappies, 00000 clothes are too big for my baby, but that is the smallest size hubby could find in a pinch. Get a premmie beanie and mittens set. My DS was born weighing at less than 2.2kg and it’s hard to imagine just how small that is until you see them in NICU with other small babies.

Edited by Deb01979, 22 February 2018 - 03:55 AM.


#23 AdelTwins

Posted 22 February 2018 - 08:18 AM

View Postgemgirl, on 21 February 2018 - 08:04 PM, said:

I have a DP/ DW, not a DH

That's awesome! DH said he couldn't figure out which maternity pads/breast shields to buy as there were so many choices! So you have a head start there. ;)

#24 4lilchicks

Posted 22 February 2018 - 11:08 AM

View Postgemgirl, on 21 February 2018 - 08:04 PM, said:



Ah, thank you - amazingly that's the one we have :)

I have a DP/ DW, not a DH, and she's really organised with the baby stuff. I might need to pack a bag for me though, and cook some meals to freeze. I have a hospital grade pump from last time. Very hopeful that I'll set all this up and the baby will come at 37 weeks or something :)

Im so sorry I wrote DH, I didnt even think! Sounds like you have a lovely lady who will take care of you.

#25 Wango

Posted 22 February 2018 - 08:17 PM

I had a 36 weeker.   Car seat not installed, no clothes small enough, hospital bag about 85% packed.

To be honest we just made do.   DP brought up anything we needed next day.  

In SCN (humidicribs) the bubs didn’t wear clothes at my hospital just a nappy.   We were private so also everything was provided while in special care which gave us time to get nappies etc.  when DS was discharged from SCN and in room with me for a night before we left the hospital provided baby singlets and smocks we only needed an outfit to go home.

We did buy a steriliser, dummies, bottles and formula on the way home from hospital though!




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