I’ve discovered this weekend that blog posts are a bit like buses. You wait ages for an idea to come along and then suddenly you get 2 or 3 at once. Having dipped into a mild panic that I had nothing useful, or interesting, or witty, or, indeed, anything at all to write about this week, suddenly I was overwhelmed with a plethora of possibilities all at the same time. Despite the temptation to write manically today, I’ve decided to pace myself and keep them as separate pieces and feel confident that I can keep myself, and hopefully you, entertained for a little while longer.
Unbeknown to me, yesterday, November 17th, was World Prematurity Day. This day seeks to raise awareness of the 60,000 babies who will be born prematurely in the UK this year. Every premature arrival is fraught with panic and anxiety, no matter what the outcome. The new parents are left in a state of panic as they prepare for the arrival of a much loved child and wonder what new challenges they will face in the days, weeks, months and even years to come.
Both of our children were born prematurely.
G is our “technical” preemie. She arrived just over 3 weeks ahead of her time, evidently anxious to celebrate Christmas as soon as she could. thereby just about falling into the premature category. She was a healthy 8lbs and was born after a relatively easy c-section – oh and 2 days of induced labour, which was not so relaxed. She was able to stay with me in the recovery room for about an hour after birth before her blood sugar levels dropped and she was carted off to SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) for monitoring. Two days later, she was stable enough to be back on the maternity ward with me and within a week, we were back home as a new family of 3. As I’ve said before, my pregnancy with G was relatively smooth, my T1D (diabetes) was well-managed and we had no real concerns about her health whilst she was on SCBU. Despite the sudden decision to deliver her ahead of schedule due to some possible problems with my placenta, G was a healthy and happy baby.
In comparison, M came crashing into our world after 7 very tempestuous months and with an accompanying birth story that still causes shivers to gallop down my spine. He was not dangerously small, an extremely healthy 5lbs 12.5oz at 7 weeks premature, but he wasn’t breathing when born and was whisked off almost immediately to NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care). I have no clear memories of M’s birth other than the fear that pierced my wandering consciousness as the doctors resuscitated him and the look on Mike’s face as he rushed off to NICU with M, trusting my recovery to the medical staff in theatre.
In both cases, it is thanks to the hard work and support of the dedicated staff in SCBU and NICU that we came home confident that we could care for our preemies. Against the odds, M was discharged just 3 weeks after his birth and a full month ahead of what everyone had expected. We spent time on ward with parents whose children had arrived even earlier, were born even smaller and were struggling even more. Of course there were moments of extreme heartache, but the staff were relentless in their determination to give our preemies the best start in life they could have and made every moment of a difficult time, just a little more bearable.
So, I’m proud to be Mum to 2 preemies who are growing up fast and to be marking their safe arrival into our family’s world. This blog post may be a day late in celebrating tiny lives, but let’s face it, it’s about the only thing that’s come late when you think about our terrible two.