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A Day in the Life of Emily 5 - The Special Care Nursery and Babies with Special Needs

Updated on May 29, 2016

After the first 24 hours in the Intensive Care Unit, our baby was brought to the Special Care Nursery. She had been born severely underweight, a mere 1800 grams. With a very real chance of her having a chromosome abnormality and a heart defect, the doctors were doing everything in their power to monitor her condition and keep her stable.

Learning the Rules of the Special Care Nursery

Before anyone was allowed to enter the Special Care nursery, there was a set of rules set up with hygiene in mind. The protection of newborns with special needs, was uppermost in everyone's minds. Whether babies were premature or beset with a myriad of other life threatening conditions, everyone followed the rules - without fail.

It was amazing to see ordinary people following extraordinary procedures for the sake of keeping germs outside this sterile area. Among the things to consider was removing jewellery that could easily scratch baby's delicate skin. We soon learned that rings, watches and bracelets were better left at home. Anyone showing signs of a cold, flu or stomach bug are asked not to visit. The risks are simply not worth it. For some babies, depending on their condition, it is imperative to wear a mask. All clothing must be covered with sterile gowns.

Preparing for the Special Care Nursery

We had known before our baby was born she may well have to spend some time in the Special Care Nursery and had been given the guided tour a month earlier and again two weeks later. But nothing truly prepared us for those first moments. Seeing so many babies with special needs, totally reliant on machines and the people who work tirelessly to monitor their every breath was at once wonderful and shocking. There were tiny babes born prematurely, others with heart defects or perhaps a bout of jaundice, and all were fighting for their lives.

Tucked away in the back corner of the room was our little girl. I could see her chest rise and fall as she lay spread out in her humidi-crib. Wires and tubes led from her body to machines at the side of her crib. But she looked peaceful. Her breathing was laboured but constant and her skin had that healthy glow of all newborn babes.

She's No Turnip - For Emily

For Emily

Emily's story is now in book form available at Amazon. I am so pleased to see her smiling face across the internet and around the world. Thank you to all who have supported me in telling her story. Karen Wilton

Finding the Right Name

Even though we had made some tough decisions through the course of the pregnancy, now our baby daughter was born, it would seem the hardest decision was giving her a name. We had picked out a name for each gender but now she was here, Georgina didn't seem to fit. No-one remembers who thought of the name Emily but everyone agreed the name suited her perfectly.

The nurse on duty that morning took great delight in writing up the card with Emily's name and setting it up at the end of her crib. Now the world would know this tiny bundle of joy was Emily, my beautiful baby girl. She had a place in our hearts as 'our baby' for eight months throughout the pregnancy. Now she would have a place in everyone's mind as friends and family could call her by name. It was a wonderful feeling to present Emily to the world.

Having a baby in the Special Care Nursery could have been a frightening and intimidating experience. Thanks to the expertise of the staff the days were filled with warmth and caring, not only for Emily but for us as parents, family members and friends. I will be eternally grateful for their dedication.

© 2011 Karen Wilton


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    • milemassey profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story Karen. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own pitty, we forget that there are others going, or has gone through the same thing. Your story resonates with me. You are blessed in that you were given the opportunity to make a choice beforehand. Yes my dear, you made the right choice. You were chosen, as was I. I feel blessed as well. As your beautiful baby girl grows, you will know exactly what I mean. She will grow, and you will grow right along with her. Embrace it, cuddle it, live in it, enjoy it...and continue to live life to its fullest. We are the chosen few!

    • ThussaysNanaMarie profile image


      7 years ago from In my oyster

      You write beautifully.

      My mother was in a coma and in ICU for three months so it was touch and go.

      I can not imagine it with small babies. God bless all those in the medical profession.

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 

      8 years ago from Australia

      I am always so touched and inspired by your family's love whenever I read more of your story. thank you for sharing it with all of us

    • profile image

      Daydreamer Too 

      8 years ago

      Have tears in my eyes as I read this. Your writing has the ability to make it reader 'feel' the words Karen.

      I've never been in a Special Care Nursery for new borns but, spent a great deal of time in ICU when my partner was intubated and on life support. The care they take of their patients is second to none, to protect them from outside germs being bought in.

      Your nurses obviously love their babies and their care is uppermost in all their minds.

      Your story is unfolding exactly as Emily would wish it too Karen. It's detailed and so full of love, it's such a blessing for us to read it.

      As you write, I'm sure, 'we' will continue to read.

      *Waves hello to Emily* :):)


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