17th November 2016…886 days since discharge…
World Prematurity Day 2016
I always find talking about this weird. Weirdly. It’s as if you forget, you go a few weeks or months without talking about it or even really thinking about it, and then when you do you wonder how the fuck you ever got through it.
Thats where I’m at today. How the actual f-word (I’m trying to stop swearing, I promised my friends wee boy) did I ever get through it.
For 12 weeks we lived in a bubble of 70 mile round trips, endless expressing hours, take aways, sleepless nights, tears and worry. It’s a very isolating thing to be a preemie parent. You are surrounded by other babies and parents all day every day but yet it can be the loneliest place in the world. ‘Normal’ parents don’t really understand, friends don’t really understand, and actually the only people who do understand are the very people you’re frightened to talk to in the Unit in case you are imposing.
I was lucky, I met some really nice Mums when we were in with #3. All our babies were born around the 26 week mark and although Jess is the oldest, we were all the unit around the same time, and discharged not long after each other. We don’t speak daily, but when we do discuss the babies its sort of a ‘I can say this to you guys because you get it’ sort of chat. We bonded over one of the most horrific things any of us will ever go through, its a bond that won’t easily be broken. Tragedy and grief throws people together, and its a very nice thing to have people who have been through the same.
Two and a bit years on and we are worlds away from that fateful day back in March 2014. #3 is thriving. She is a happy, funny, content little girl with a very mischievous side to her. Currently she won’t eat any hot food so we’re living on cheerios, cheese sandwiches and any fruit she can get her hands on. She is going through a phase where she has to have her trousers and sleeves rolled up to her knees and elbows, and won’t wear a coat. Or a hat. She is obsessed with Paw Patrol and Tigers. We’re still in nappies and she sleeps in my bed every night. Basically , she is a very normal 2.5 year old.
Top – Around an hour old.
Bottom – Jess now (roughly) 2.5 years old.
But its not something that ever leaves you, and sometimes I feel as though I appreciate the things she does more so than I do with the other two. I don’t love her more, but I love her differently I think, she’s the one who shouldn’t have made it so every time she says a new word, or counts to a higher number, or eats a new food, it is nothing short of a miracle.
If you are in the midst of your neonatal journey just now then all I can say is; it won’t last forever. It might feel like it some days, but it will end. There will be long days, and dark days. There will be happy days and days you never forget, and the process will alter your thinking on certain things forever, but you are tough and so is your baby. You can do this. And you will get through it, because you don’t really have a choice at the end of the day. There are also things you can expect once you do get home, you can read all about them here.
Is there really an after bit to having a premature baby though? I’m not actually sure there is.
“Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a preemie Mum…”
There are some pretty amazing Premature Baby Charities out there, links are below. I have been fundraising this year for the one based in Edinburgh and any donation that you can give would be greatly received. The link is here.
Bliss – https://www.bliss.org.uk
Tommy’s – https://www.tommys.org