Kate spent time in hospital with her son Cobi as a newborn as a result of a condition called vasa praevia, below is her story.
I’m Kate. Mama to Cobi, our beautiful, soulful, spirited little man (he’s almost 2). Wifey to Stewart. We live in sunny tropical north Queensland, Australia, relocating from Melbourne in June 2016 craving more family time. I am a yoga therapist, teacher, pre + postnatal specialist and one half of the brand Yoga Mamas that I share with my soulsista Andy.
When I was 20 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with a very rare and potentially deadly condition called vasa praevia. It meant my ‘perfect’ pregnancy shot to ‘high risk’ which saw me in hospital on bed rest from 28 weeks, an emergency c-section at 34 weeks, Cobi in the special care nursery and me with a decent dose of post traumatic stress. Due to Cobi’s size (he was born just 4lb) he spent the first 24 hours in a humidicrib before being transferred into an open cot where he’d spend his first few weeks of life.
What did you find most difficult at this time?
Oh my gosh, there are so many. The bond between a parent and their child is SO strong that every moment they spend in hospital feels difficult. Being that Cobi was delivered via an emergency c-section and needing to spend time in the special care nursery, I wasn’t able to be with him for more than a few minutes for his first 48 hours earth side. I had built a strong connection to him in the womb so this was possibly the most difficult, however also leaving the hospital and knowing we weren’t able to take him with us was equally as difficult. Knowing that we needed to take care of ourselves so that we could be there for him as much as possible, meant we couldn’t physically or emotionally spend every waking hour there. This was absolutely heartbreaking for us.
What would you have found helpful?
I draw a lot on my yoga knowledge and expertise as a yoga teacher to stay connected and grounded (as much as you can during these times) during this time. Daily guided meditation and breathing practices was what I could manage, as I was healing from my own surgery. Lots of fresh air, intention setting and positive affirmations.
What I would have found extra helpful was for someone (a health professional, or another mama/parent) to speak to us about the situation in its entirety. Not just Cobi’s medical condition, but about our experience. Allowing us to speak openly and reflect on what we were experiencing at that very moment and how we could process what had happened, what was happening, and what the future held for us. We felt particularly isolated.
What tips would you give?
- Trust your intuition. Reflecting back there are many things I/we would have done differently. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and keep asking them until you get the answers that satisfy your need.
- Take time out for yourself – it’s so important for you to fill your cup so that when you are with your babe you can give them all of you. It could be as simple as a 10 min coffee break and some fresh air.
- Use things like meditation, breathing practices, yoga, intention setting, positive affirmations – or whatever works for you to help you stay grounded and connected.
- Easier said than done, but ask for help if you need it. Surround yourself with a tribe of helpers to support you.
to the family and friends of parents in this situation
- For family & friends of parents in this situation I would say approach everything from a place of love. Until you have experienced a child in hospital it is difficult to understand just how difficult this time is. Be understanding and respectful.
What one piece of advice would you give to a family who is going through this right now?
Be brave. Stay connected to yourself, your partner and your babe. No one can ever take that bond you share away. Talk to each other about how you are feeling. Speaking openly and honestly.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Take the time you need to heal from the situation. Don’t feel like you need to rush this process, because it is just that, a process, whatever the outcome.
If you haven’t already, take a look at our post about yoga and meditation which was written in conjunction with Andy and Kate from Yoga Mamas. Also, for more tips and advice for caring for a child in hospital, make sure you read our Parent’s Handbook.