I was 32 weeks pregnant and everything was going smoothly. I just loved being pregnant. As usual I woke up at 3am to go to the loo. I noticed that my underwear was a bit wet, but in my half asleep state I just cursed the incontinence that I had been warned may come with pregnancy. After all, I had been doing my Kegels religiously!
I went back to bed and woke to my alarm clock at 5:30am. More trickles… Oh dear. The next thing I knew, I was in the hospital, monitors were beeping madly, and the nurses looked panicked as the doctors literally ran to push my gurney into theatre. My dreams of a drug-free natural birth to a voluptuous Anne Geddes baby was crushed as the doctors quickly ripped out a tiny, skinny grey thing that they called my daughter. In a flash, she was wisped away to NICU. What on earth just happened?!
- Having your baby prematurely is not something you would expect, and certainly not something you would have ever been able to prepare yourself for. The world just goes on around you as if nothing has happened! “Don’t they know! Don’t they realise the trauma that I have just been through? That my baby is still going through? Don’t they realise what is happening? My world is falling apart and you just walk down the street like everything is fine!!!”
- You hear moms of full term babies complain about seemingly feeble things like how their baby has had to go up another nappy size, while you are hanging on to every 15 grams your tiny angel gains. “Don’t you know how lucky you are” is all I could think.
- Well, I understand. I know the fears, the feelings of failure, the anxiety. But I also know that having a premmie is actually a very special privilege. Yes, a privilege! Because with our premmies, there are so many more opportunities to celebrate. Every gram gained, every time another tube, pipe or wire is removed, every movement towards a less intensive care section of the NICU, every breath, every suck, every smile, every milestone achieved. Our precious angels are just so extra special. Nothing is taken for granted. Every little step, every little achievement – each one is worth celebrating.
- There is such excitement when it is time to bring your angel home, but taking care of a premmie often comes with its challenges. You just can’t seem to relate to the baby books and may feel so very isolated.
I am an Occupational Therapist, a Munchkins Parenting Coach, and a mother of 3 premmies (singleton born at 32 weeks and twins born at 30 weeks). I understand. I’ve been there! I am using my experience, my specialised training, and my heart for parents of young babies – especially premmies, to make a difference – to support, guide and educate; and above all, to empower. There is light at the end of the tunnel. A bright and incredibly beautiful light. And I just love helping parents to find it.
BIG LESSONS IN LITTLE THINGS
The biggest lessons of my journey with my babies were in humility – learning to admit that I need help – and empathy! I realised that you cannot compare your challenges to those of others, and you can never judge others until you’ve walked in their shoes. Things don’t always work out “by the book” because our precious babies aren’t robots. But there are very helpful tools that can help us to get through the challenges with confidence and a smile.