What’s it like having a baby born at 30 weeks? Firstly, I will tell you our preemie story then explain what it is like. My wife and I struggled through infertility and IVF for many years. It was the hardest time of our lives. Finally, Olivia fell pregnant after year our third IVF/ICSI treatment. The good news just kept getting better. Our potential childless life had now had been turned on its head. We were having twins. We never thought that we would have one child and now we were having two. You can read our IVF story in my Irish Times article. https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/parenting/when-they-told-me-i-was-infertile-i-was-consumed-by-shame-1.3180573?mode=amp
The pregnancy went well. There were a few minor hiccups but nothing too serious considering we were having twins and they were conceived through IVF. After 7 months, Olivia’s waters broke and our babies were born at 30 weeks instead of 40 weeks. This was a shock to the system that was hard for us to deal with. We had been through so much hardship and now our twins we joining us in the World a lot earlier than expected. You can read more about our preemie story in my second article in the Irish Times. https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/parenting/we-had-been-through-so-much-and-fought-so-hard-and-i-thought-my-son-might-die-1.3187350
What is it like having a baby born at 30 weeks?
Having a baby born at 30 weeks is a harrowing experience. You are never prepared for a child to be born so early. Thankfully, these days, with all the wonders of modern medicine a baby born at 30 weeks is not something to be frightened of. It is easy for me to write that now in hindsight but it is true. When Olivia called me from the hospital that day and said the twins were being born I got such a shock. It was so sudden that I didn’t make it to the hospital on time for the birth.
In the taxi to the hospital, I was so worried about them surviving. We had fought so hard and I couldn’t bear the thought of anything happening to my two little miracles. After arriving in the hospital, I was guided to a room in the maternity ward where the babies were delivered. I could hear babies screaming from all directions. This cries filled me with anxiety and uncertainty. Was that my babies? Were they okay? They sound like they are in pain, I thought. That wait was the scariest few minutes of my life.
When the doctor called me into the room to see the babies, Olivia was not there. I was worried if she was okay or had something happened during the birth. The doctor reassured me that she was recovering in another room and introduced me to my newborn twins. The anxiety subsided when the doctor again reassured me that my twins were in the best place and not to worry. The nurses told us that if a baby is born at 30 weeks or after then they will usually be okay.
We spent the next 6 weeks in the hospital with the babies and there were some complications, especially with Max. He had very worrying first few weeks and we thought we may lose him. His Lung collapsed and he needed an operation to repair it. It was touch and go at times. Mathilda, on the other hand, was a little rock star from the get go and was the queen of the NICU.
Looking back on having a baby born at 30 weeks, it was a tough time but the technology and care that the World’s tiniest patients get are amazing. The doctors and nurses in the NICU are the most important people on earth and should be recognised as real life superheroes.
Here are 4 reasons that you should not worry if you have a baby born at 30 weeks
1.A baby born at 30 weeks has a 98% survival rate
A recent Guardian newspaper headline stated, “Premature babies study shows survival rates are on the rise”. The article was based on a study that was looking at the survival rates of premature babies that are born at 22-26 weeks. This is good news for parents that have a baby born at 30 weeks. The survival rate for babies that are born at 30 weeks is 98%. This should ease your worries if your baby was born a little early.
Our babies were born at 30 weeks and 3 days. Initially, the sudden premature birth caused my wife and I a lot of worry and anguish. We did no research and had no idea just how well a baby born at 30 weeks would do. Not only can a baby born at 30 weeks survive but they can thrive. Our babies struggled at the start but now, 9 months on they are in amazing health and spirits.
If your baby came a little earlier than you wanted then try not to worry. They are in great hands and you will look back in 6 months or a years time and think how crazy it was that they were once so small.
2.NICU is the best place for a baby born at 30 weeks
The NICU is a difficult yet beautiful place. It is the place where dreams come true and babies lives are saved. It can also be a place of sorrow as not all preemies are so lucky especially if they are born extremely early. The technology in the NICU is state of the art and your babies will get the best care imaginable. For me, the NICU’s are the most important places that there are.
We live in Berlin, Germany and I would like to give a special shout out to the hospital in which our babies were born. The Virchow Clinic in Wedding. If you are having twins or multiples and live in Berlin then I cannot recommend this place highly enough. The facilities are out of this World and the staff are amazing. Without the NICU in the Virchow Klinikum we would not be blessed with our beautiful babies.
3.Neonatal Doctors give amazing care to a baby born at 30 weeks
NICU doctors are specialized pediatricians called neonatologists. These doctors are some of the most important people on the planet. They work round clock, sometimes doing 12-24 hour shifts, saving the mini members of our communities lives. There are not many jobs that are more stressful and critical for our society. About 15% of all babies will end up in the NICU. Some of these babies will weigh less than 2 pounds(1KG).
Many of the babies in the NICU have serious health conditions. These include breathing difficulties, respiratory issues, and infections. It is the Neonatalogists job to skillfully manage these ailments. It is a tough job as the babies are so small and sensitive to the tiniest doses of antibiotics. They do a wonderful job, and I am personally very grateful for them saving Max and Mathilda’s lives.
4.A baby born at 30 weeks will be well looked after by the NICU Nurses
I recently wrote an article about “why NICU NURSES are real life super heroes“. With the doctors and other NICU staff, they make up a team that does some of the most important work on the planet. NICU nurses are extremely friendly, compassionate, and caring. They are overworked and underpaid and their daily work can be very stressful. They often work unsociable hours and do it with a smile on their face.
They spend their days saving lives and caring for the neediest of patients. NICU nurses are great communicators and always helpful. When my babies lay in the neonatal ward I gained a different outlook on humanity. This new perspective came from watching the NICU nurses selflessly caring for tiny sick babies.
In most cases, if you have a baby born at 30 weeks then there is not too much reason to worry. The modern technology and level of care in the NICU is at a very high level and always improving. The chances of your baby recovering 100% from a difficult start are good. You will look back in 6 months or a year on and realise that while it was tough having a baby born at 30 weeks it all turned out well in the end.