So much happens when you have a premature baby. I decided to this A-Z series as a way of helping others understand some of the preemie terminology.

Medical terms

Bagging

Filling the lungs with air or oxygen by squeezing a bag which is connected to an endotracheal tube or attached to a mask fitted over the face. If you watch Holby City, Casualty or Grey’s Anatomy this will be something you will have seen. Seeing it happen to your loved one is not easy. Babies only need little breaths as they only have little lungs but this method allows staff to breathe for baby when their own breaths are not enough.

Bililights (phototherapy)

Bililights are special lights used in the treatment of jaundice.

Bilirubin

A breakdown product of red blood cells

Blood gases

The amounts of oxygen, carbon dioxide and degree of acidity in the blood. A small amount of blood is taken from the heel (by heel stick), umbilical catheter or from the artery near the wrist where a pulse is felt to test for these levels.

Blood pressure (BP)

The pressure of the blood in the arteries with each pulsation of the heart

Bradycardia

An abnormally slow heart rate

Emotional awareness

Boredom

Something that is rarely experienced on the NICU but very much craved! Don’t get us wrong towards the end of your NICU stay it might get a little monotonous. Your baby is doing really well however they are just not quite ready for home yet. If you’ve reached this point then you could very well be on the last stretch of your stay. If you need some extra time to prepare for baby coming home now is the time to take it. During this time me and my husband did a deep clean of the house and sorted the nursery.

Baffled

The dictionary definition says that to be baffled is to be very confused or puzzled. I would say this is pretty accurate especially in the first few days. Trying to process what has happened and why it has happened is really confusing. The nurses and doctors don’t always have the answers either. This can be frustrating, as you think ‘how can you not know, you’re supposed to be the expert!’. Or sometimes it’s not that the doctors don’t know but that there are many possibilities that could happen.

Bemused

Looking up emotions this one made me think. Then I came across this phrase in the definition and thought it actually really does fit. The definition included – mildly amused, especially in a detached way. There is very little that is amusing about having a baby prematurely. I do think you have that you have that moment of hysteria though where you wonder how this is happening to you mixed with the feeling of amazement that your baby is here and fighting. This is where I think you might get that moment where everything feels surreal and you experience amusement in detached way. The emphasis being that you feel detached.

Bewildered

This emotion goes hand in hand with feeling baffled. Confusion and puzzlement i think are a part of any NICU journey.

Betrayed

Many mothers describe feeling betrayed by their own bodies. The fact that their body hasn’t carried their baby to term makes them feel like it has betrayed them. The nurses and doctors will assure you that it is not your fault and there will have been nothing you could have done. It’s hard to process and even harder to accept but they are right. For me I logically knew that it wasn’t my fault but it took therapy for me to accept it.

Brave

You won’t realise how brave you are. Having a premature baby is a huge ordeal and no one can prepare you for it. Antenatal classes don’t really cover the topic (they don’t want to scare new mums after all, but it would be nice for those us that do go through it to be armed with a little bit of information though in my opinion). You won’t feel brave especially in comparison to your baby. Let me assure you that you are brave and you’ve got this!

We are not medical professionals and have used the NHS and Public Health England websites when looking up definitions.

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