On 6 February 2016, my waters broke at my friend’s house. I was 23+5 weeks pregnant with my first daughter Lydia. I was rushed to hospital where they did blood and other tests, confirming my waters had broken and that I would need to be transferred to another hospital because our local hospital don't have the facilities to look after babies born before 30 weeks.
The next day, I was rushed to St. Thomas' Hospital in London. I was so scared. It felt like I was in a dream, but at least I was with my best friend, which helped me a lot - she was so supportive.
By midnight Lydia still hadn't been born and her heart rate was dropping. So was mine, my infection mark was also very high and I was told that if they didn't get the baby out we would both die. I was given so many different drugs that I didn't really understand what was happening. I remember thinking if my baby is born now she's not going to make it, I wanted to keep her inside but I couldn't and that was the scariest feeling.
Straight away, I was rushed off to theatre for an emergency c-section. My little girl was born at 4.00am on the 8th weighing just 660g.
I wasn't able to see her for eight hours, I had to wake up from surgery and they had to make sure she was stable. But when I did finally see her I couldn't believe my eyes. There were more wires than baby, and she could fit perfectly in my hand. But she was beautiful.
Lydia had sepsis three times, necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), retinopathy of prematurity, three brain bleeds, meningitis, a cold, and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). We spent six months in hospital but it was so worth it, because she's now a healthy, happy little girl. She can't roll or anything yet, but she giggles and smiles all of the time, and she's learned how to shake her head whenever we say the word ‘no’ to her. And she's now having meals and finger foods, which is a bonus for her, as she never really liked milk and had trouble with gaining weight.
Thanks to Bliss I got through everything better than I expected. We had a lady called Liz at our local hospital - she would bring gifts and food for all the parents, and she would be there for a chat whenever we needed. It was lovely to talk to someone who knows what you’re going through, so I want to thank each and every one who was involved with us and Lydia’s neonatal care.
My message to parents of babies born premature would be that no matter how hard it gets, never think the worst and always be positive, do kangaroo care as much as possible and always make sure to have a little bit of time for yourself every so often.
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