What is it like... to have a premature baby?

I remember sitting in the hospital and being told that my baby needed to come, my first reaction was not one of excitement about the idea of meeting the baby that I had been growing in my tummy for the last few months, but one of fear that he wouldn't survive. One of the first things my husband and I did was google the survival rate for a baby born at his gestation. I cannot stress enough, how just that one act is in itself is traumatising, being faced with the idea that the baby you have been growing may not make it.

You are given medication to help develop his lungs and brain, you know that this is what your job is supposed to be and you hold a guilt for not being able to do it yourself.

You give birth and you’re filled to the brim with fear of what your baby will be like when they leave your body. The first question passing your lips when they enter the world being “are they OK?”, wishing that they are going to make it. They are taken from you and you are not able to see them or hold them for hours, days or weeks.  

Sitting with that baby every day in NICU, wondering what is going to happen to them, worrying the doctors will tell you something is wrong, the scans came back badly, the results you were waiting for aren’t right. You don't come up for air..
You’re on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next thing to go wrong. Feeling as if it is somehow your fault, that you somehow had a part to play in the fact that your baby was born early.

We hold sadness that things aren't how we imagined and we grieve what we lost and what we didn't get to experience. We are angry. We are still in shock. We are physically exhausted, we are mentally drained, but we keep on going, for our tiny babies.

By the time that Mum is home from the NICU, the person that you once knew, is now different. Having a premature baby changes you.. So when you find that a Mum has had a premature baby instead of saying “they just couldn't wait to meet you”, think about this and know that in front of you stands a warrior, who has been broken and is slowly putting themselves back together again.

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