I haven’t really spoken about Jasper’s prematurity much on here but since today is world prematurity day I wanted to join in on Bliss’ campaign & share what I wish I’d known about having a preemie. It’s not an easy subject to talk about but it is important to talk about. Its one of those things that you don’t understand or know about till it happens to you. Then you’re thrown in the deep end of a pretty scary experience.
Anyway lets get cracking shall we…
I wish I’d known that it’s normal not to be prepared. There’s just no way of knowing that your baby will arrive early until it happens. Even though we were told at 29 weeks that Jasper would arrive early there still wasn’t time to really get prepared. Yes we panic bought all the nursery furniture & then spent a few days preparing it all but that’s not prepared. No matter if you’re got the nursery sorted, your hospital bag prepped or your birth plan in order having a premature baby throws it out the window.
I wish I’d known it wasn’t my fault. Mum guilt is real & its horrible. You can’t help but worry that you did something to kick start your babies birth but in reality these things just happen. Yes there are circumstances where you are more likely to have a premature baby but that still isn’t your fault. In my case I had a weak cervix so I dilated early but if it wasn’t for that we would never have known & he wouldn’t have had the treatments that could have potentially saved his life.
I wish I’d known there’s premature & then there’s really premature. Prematurity is a blanket term & well it covers a lot of scenarios. Jasper was born at 32+5 so his chances of survival were higher than a lot of babies on the ward. In terms of size he looked huge compared to the others & he was only 4lbs. We were truly blessed that he lasted another 4 weeks in the womb after having steroids because it gave him such a boos. Jasper was accompanied by babies born at 20-36 weeks so the differences were huge between each baby.
I wish I’d known comparison is deadly. Having a premature baby is stressful & worrisome. You can’t help but compare their progress in the NICU & out to other babies but it is deadly. Your baby will develop at their own pace just like an other full term baby but because they are premature you feel like they are falling behind. The reality is they probably aren’t & if their development is worrying you then you should definitely contact your health visitor just to check. Comparing to other babies will not help or reassure you in any way.
I wish I’d known the nurses aren’t judging you. Actually no one is judging you! They are there to help & remember this is their job & they are good at it. We’re new parents trying to work out how to hold ourselves together & look after a fragile baby. They are pros at handling tiny babies & are there to keep them healthy. The nurses are also there to support you & teach you how to become confident looking after your baby. It can be hard to feel like you’re being watched but there’s a reason they are watching & it’s not to judge you!
I wish I’d known NICU parenting & at home parenting is very different. The NICU is on a particular schedule with its own sounds, controlled temperature & lighting which is perfect for your newborn. It’s built so your baby can thrive & during that time you baby just seems to sleep & eat. When they get home they seem to blossom very quickly & you suddenly have a baby who actually wants to be awake. Adjusting to your own routine is difficult but you will get there.
I wish I’d known how wonderful it is to be a preemie parent. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone but I don’t know any different so this is just parenting to me. Its amazing to see him grow from this adorable tiny baby into a bouncy baby with his own personality. Having a premature baby taught me how tough I really am & gave me extra time in the newborn bubble. I got endless days of newborn snuggles & now I have a healthy baby who is growing everyday.
There’s so much more I could say but I’m going to stop it there. I never thought I’d be joining in on world prematurity day but here we are with a 5 month old happy chappy.
If you want to support fellow preemie parents then you can wear purple today (world prematurity day is represented by a purple bow), donate clothes/nappies/blankets to your local neonatal unit or fundraise for your local unit. Bliss has lots more information on their website & you can contact your local neonatal unit to see if there’s anything they are in need of.
I’d like to end this by saying a huge thankful to all the staff at Singleton hospital for all their support & guidance during those early days with Jasper.
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