A Funny Time of Year

Esther and William were born on 24th July 2010

After I fell ill during the second trimester of my pregnancy with them

I spent 10 days in hospital fighting for my life and theirs

Only because of the skilled surgeon and medical team who cared for me

Are any of us here today

I left hospital after emergency surgery and a blood transfusion

On the 20th July

On the morning of the 24th I went into hospital

Already in active labour

And in just a few hours

Our babies came

27 weeks gestation

13 weeks too soon

Nothing can prepare you for giving birth so early

Having your babies whisked away

Seeing them for the first time in a plastic box

Wires, tubes and machines

Keeping them alive, helping them breathe

Esther

Esther

Nothing can prepare you

For motherhood

Let alone starting your life as a mother in this way

Unable to do what is natural and needed

Relying on medical experts to care for your baby

Knowing that they are doing all that can be done

To keep a heart beating

To allow the tiny newborn bodies to function and grow

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Nothing can prepare you for the waiting

The hoping

The praying

The fear

The pain

Baby Bottom

Baby Bottom

Esther and William spent 59 days in NICU

By the time they were ready to leave

We were terrified of bringing them home

Perhaps like a term in prison

We felt institutionalised

All the parenting we knew

Had been learnt in a special care unit

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Now we were taking two tiny 4lb babies home

Prematurity does not end at the Neonatal Unit door

It stays with you and the children born too soon

All their lives

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Esther and William were born in July

It was the end of September before we were allowed to take them home

At 36 weeks gestation we took our babies home

grow into your dreams

Just as the cold, flu and RSV season got underway

RSV, not sure you would ever hear of it if you did not have or know a premature babe

We kept them safe and illness free throughout the winter

By not letting many people in our house

By alienating family and friends

By doing what we had to do to ensure that they were not readmitted to hospital

There were no baby groups for us

No parties or classes

Not until the winter was over

And the season of infectious illness had passed

Not until Esther and William

Had the size and strength of an average newborn baby

When they were nearly one year old

First Birthday

Esther and William on their First Birthday

Once we started getting out and about

So the questions began

Parenting premature twins can be a lonely job

Nothing is ever straight forward

Milestones are not reached at usual times

There are always worries about sickness and health

You always wonder what the long term effects might be

Prematurity does not just effect the child

But the family

Relationships change

Can be strained

Even four years on

Decisions are difficult

When to wean

How to wean

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Starting nursery

Starting school

Potty training

What is age and size appropriate for a premature child does not always correlate

Age and ability are not always matched

Prematurity does not end at the NICU door

It is still there when the children are four

It is a part of us, of them

Forever more

Esther and William were born in July

It was the end of September before we were allowed to take them home

It was the end of October when they were due

tough times 3

This is a funny time of year

A limbo time of year

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When you realise just how early our babies were born

How long the weeks are between birth date and due date

A gaping gap of time that will always be there

And I know that we are lucky to have our twins alive

More than most I know

But it does not stop the pain, the guilt, the questioning

During this curious limbo time

Prematurity does not end at the Neonatal Unit Door

This

This is a funny time of year

twins together

2 thoughts on “A Funny Time of Year

  1. How very true this is. My little boy was born at 27 weeks, weighing just 2lb 1oz. He spent 79 days in NICU (I had already been in hospital for 7 weeks) and I already had a 2 and a half year old and a 10 month old so it was an incredibly difficult time. He was born on Boxing Day and I always find it really bizarre celebrating his birthday in the depths of winter, knowing he shouldn’t have been born ’til the Spring days are in full flow. He is small for his age and although articulate, I do feel like he is less mature emotionally than his peers. He has just started reception too, and is extremely tired – getting up times and bedtimes are hard as he resists both due to being shattered!! xx

  2. Wow one of the truest accounts of a prem mum I’ve come across. I too am a mum of twin boys born at 24 weeks. 252 days we spent in nicu and I remember every one. Was lovely to read this and know that it’s normal to feel like this x thank you x

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