At 33 weeks you stopped counting and wondered what was happening
Your pregnancy went so well, you almost didn’t believe it could be this easy. And that’s when life decided to make it tough.
You’d heard of premature babies, but you didn’t understand what becoming a first time mum to one was really like.
You were well prepared, early actually! You were counting down the weeks on the board hung on the back of the door to baby’s room.
But at 33 weeks, you stopped counting and wondered what was happening. You thought you were overreacting, you thought going to the antenatal classes that evening had got into your head. Your husband told you to relax, not to worry.
But worry was all you could do. It all happened so fast. You remember the doctors’ words when you first went to get checked at the hospital. You weren’t ‘grossly’ early, that gave you confidence.
You didn’t know what was going to happen, you didn’t have to wait long. 11 minutes in the delivery room, in fact! Your bundle of joy was passed to you in one brief moment before being whisked away to be put in an incubator. You felt happy, delighted, of course, but there was so much uncertainty.
When you walked into the neo-natal unit for the first time, so many emotions hit you. All the wires, all the machines and this tiny, little thing inside. At 4lb 6oz, they told you what a healthy weight she was, she’s doing so well. But inside you just didn’t know what to think. You felt guilty for feeling like this, every day she did so well but you barely felt like a mum. You felt guilty for all the other mums and dads living through their own battles in the same room. And she did so well, so well.
The first time she was given a bath, you almost ran out in tears because you felt so de-skilled as a mother. Amazing, wonderful, caring people were looking after your precious baby, but it wasn’t you. You weren’t giving your baby her first bath, you weren’t holding her when she needed comforting, you felt clumsy around all the wires and this tiny fragile life.
You cried when they had to keep putting the feeding tube down her nose because she kept pulling it out. It tore you apart, when they had to take another blood sample to check her jaundice levels. You couldn’t help but feel helpless and watch on as others around you took care of your baby girl.
But you got there, you got to take her home. You got to be a mum, you got to be a family. It took 3 long weeks, but you made it.
This wasn’t how you imagined it, this wasn’t what you planned. But you handled it, and it’s made you a stronger person, and a better mum.
You still worry, after all this time, whether that experience has affected your bond. But I can tell you mama, you have such a special bond, knowing how strong you both are, you know now that you can get through anything together.
Just look at her now, growing so big and strong. And look at you, you’re handling new battles, you’re handling sleepless nights, you’re handling a tired, grumpy toddler.
You had a rocky start, and although it may have looked like an easy ride to some, only you know the true strength it took to get through it. I’m so proud of you.