This week is Prematurity Awareness Week. The Walk for Prems held last Sunday was to raise awareness for the cause of premature birth. Sadly too many babies are being born too soon.
Eva was born at 25 weeks gestation after 4 days of trying to halt my preterm labour.
She needed help to breathe,help with her immature lungs. That meant intubation, a synthetic form of surfactant pushed into her lungs and CPAP from 12 hours old until 9 weeks old.
Our hospital stay meant infections, nasogastric tubes, lines, blood transfusions, monitors and wires, learning about apnoeas, bradycardias and breathes per minute, medications, fortifiers, and lots of tests. It also meant not having a baby to hug when you got home, pumping and stress and worry and lots of tears. It meant feeling like a failure when she had a bad day and triumphant when things went well.
Kangaroo Care cuddles were just the best time of the day for Mummy and Daddy.
Measuring progress in milestones like weight gain, Eva wearing clothes for the first time, leaving the incubator behind, her first breastfeed and her first bath.
It was 105 days in hospital and it was a typical, run of the mill, premature baby course and we all made it to the other side. Thank goodness.
Prematurity awareness is about making women aware of the signs of premature labour. Making people aware of the support that is offered for families surviving the long hospital stays. Also raising awareness of the fact that prematurity doesn’t stop when babies leave the hospital and that it can have lifelong impacts.