“She lay utterly motionless save for the ventilator’s rhythmic, almost robotic, inflation and deflation of her lungs. I wondered if she had any awareness of my presence at all. Or indeed any awareness of anything.” Excerpt from Chapter 21 of my upcoming memoir Today, 17th November, is World Prematurity Day, which is a global movementContinue reading “A memoir in the making”
September is Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month #NICUAwarenessMonth when people from around the world come together to show their support for families with babies in the neonatal unit. The aim is to honour families experiencing a stay in neonatal care, and those in the medical profession who care for them. My daughter spent 3 monthsContinue reading “Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month”
Families with babies in neonatal care can struggle with their mental health. Parents with a premature baby are 50% more likely to experience psychological distress compared with parents who do not spend time on a neonatal unit.
My niece, Rosie, is only 22 and has written some beautiful and powerful poetry in the last few years. She’s kindly allowed me to post the following two poems on my blog because they are meaningful in the context of prematurity.
Today, 17th November, is World Prematurity Day, raising awareness of the challenges of premature birth. I wanted to explore what prematurity means to different people so I posed the question, ‘What does prematurity mean to you?’, on social media. The answers I received emphasise the impact that a premature birth can have on a family. They give us a rare and poignant window into parents’ most traumatic memories of neonatal intensive care. They provide a snapshot of daily life in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). And they highlight the love, care and dedication of parents and other family members towards their babies.
Last week, September 13th-19th, was Neonatal Nurses Week. A few nurses stand out for me from our own NICU journey across 4 different hospitals. Firstly, Rebecca, whose emotional intelligence and insight was invaluable more than once during the first 6 weeks of our daughter’s life.
Today is a day of celebration in our household, for after 2 long years our daughter has finally been discharged from neonatal care. Born at just 24 weeks, she spent 150 days in 4 different hospitals before coming home in November 2019. She battled metabolic bone disease, chronic lung disease, sepsis and meningitis.
There’s been so much focus on Covid-19 for so long that it’s easy to forget how a common cold can be just as tough for a preemie to deal with. What amounts to a snotty nose and a bit of a cough for most of us can be enough to land a preemie back in hospital on oxygen, antibiotics, nebulisers, steroids and worse.
Last Wednesday we attended a reunion of the preemie babies who were in hospital at the same time as our little girl. The last time these children were in the same room, they were all in incubators attached to sats machines. Now they are strapping 2 year olds, strutting their stuff and fighting over the Tiny Tots cars.
How much do childhood crises like prematurity, illnesses and serious accidents influence the way we parent our children? It’s an interesting question and one that I’m thinking more and more about as my baby becomes a little girl.