Mum’s honest account leaving bub in hospital
ARA Sunderland is a battler.
Born 11 weeks premature, the Townsville boy is so little, he could wear his dad Ben's wedding ring around his wrist.
His mum and dad Tennille and Ben, will have to wait weeks to take him home, in the meantime, Ara remains in the care of staff at the Townsville University Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
In an honest recount on social media, Mrs Sunderland penned what it felt like leaving her son behind in hospital each day.
"What you won't see from a NICU mum: the silent heartbreak everyday leaving her baby behind, the tears that roll down her face as she walks the hospital corridors, the holding back (of) her sobs as she rides the elevator filled with strangers. Holding her head in her hands as she sobs uncontrollably in her car in the hospital car park, the nursery door that remains closed so she don't see the empty crib," she wrote on Facebook.
"The guilt she feels because this is a hard journey, but she knows not all mums are lucky enough to still be able to have those limited cuddles with their angel babies."
Mrs Sunderland, owner of Ministry of Hair salon in Kirwan, told The Bulletin, she experience placental abruption, which required her to go into preterm labour. She was due to give birth on November 6.
"My placenta had stopped feeding him, so I think he was hungry so he wanted to get out," she said.
"Because he was born before 30 weeks, (doctors) were really concerned about his lungs and stomach."
Ara had to wear special headgear which helped him breath.
"He's come off that and is now on a high flow until he decides he can breath on his own," Mrs Sunderland said.
She still holds concerns for Ara's lungs, which were the last of his organs to develop.
Mrs Sunderland said Ara weighed just 1.24kg when he was born but actually lost weight afterwards.
He has since put on weight, feeding on donor breast milk, pushing the scales to 1.625kg and now fits 000000 sized clothing.
Mrs Sunderland still has weeks to wait before she can bring Ara home and introduce him to his sister, Sage, 4, who cannot visit him in hospital because she is a child.
"She's very upset. I have to drop her at different people's houses, because she can't go," Mrs Sunderland said.
She said the last four weeks have been a challenge, having to leave Ara behind in the unit while she heads home each day.
Mrs Sunderland said staff at Townsville's NICU unit were highly professional, thanking clinical director of obstetrics and gynaecology Dr Greet Hoet and the nurses on the unit.
Townsville's neonatal unit is the only level six nursery north of Brisbane and looks after the region's most complex preterm and critically unwell babies.
There was an increase in the number of babies cared in the unit with 240 looked after in the 2019-20 financial year, compared to that of 197 the year before.
Originally published as Mum's honest account leaving bub in hospital