Monday, November 16, 2015

World Prematurity Day

Every year, 15 million babies are born premature worldwide. More than one million of these babies die, and many more face serious, lifelong health challenges. Preterm birth is truly a problem that can happen to every one of us, irrespective of the country we live in, our culture or socioeconomic status.

Worldwide, one in ten babies are born too early – more than 25,000 each year in Australia alone. Giving birth to a child is one of the paramount, most positive experiences in life. Having a baby born too soon is a significant trauma for families. Preterm birth also represents a severe financial burden for many families and our often struggling healthcare systems.

November 17 is World Prematurity Day, a globally celebrated awareness day to increase awareness of preterm births as well as the deaths and disabilities due to prematurity and the simple, proven, cost-effective measures that could prevent them. 

I haven't slept properly in a week. My body is tired. It has been poked, prodded, scanned, monitored and finally sliced open. My arms and belly are covered in bruises and bandages where needles have been inserted for various reasons: steroids, amniotic fluid drains, magnesium sulphate, fluids. Both hands still have cannulas attached.

My hospital gown is crumpled. I don't see it, but it is blood stained. My hair is a mess. Giving away a night spent writhing through contractions on my hospital bed alone. Biting my lips to stop the moans escaping.

I have waited five hours to meet you after your birth via a c-section. Your father has stayed by my side so we could meet you together. Despite everything I am excited. While we waited in maternity we have rung family and friends to announce your arrival. We have quickly finalised your names. Finally the midwife announces the arrival of the orderlies who will wheel my bed down the corridor and into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

I am smiling. I am about to meet our daughters. Your father holds my hand as they manoeuvre the bed over to the first humidicrib.

Later I will notice the smell of the strong disinfectant and the incessant alarms that beep at each crib. But in this moment I don't smell or hear either. I see a crib, misty with condensation. A friendly nurse smiles and opens up the two little doors, so I can see you.

You are beautiful, and yet you terrify me. You are so, so small, and very red. Your tiny body is mostly covered by your nappy. There are wires and sensors attached to your chest. Your head and face are obscured by a strange hat and tubes that go up your nose.

I don't even realise at first, but hot tears are streaming down my face. I love you already, but I am so sad at what you now have to endure. The nurse encourages me to put my hand in and gently touch you. I overcome my fear and stroke your little hand. 

We nearly get the names mixed up, but once they tell us you are the first born twin, we name you Maggie. We know it suits you already.

I wish I could stay next to you for longer, but in the next crib lies your sister. The tug of two babies in the NICU has already started. They move my bed over, and despite what I've just seen, your small, fragile body shocks me again. An ache that will follow me throughout your stay in hospital crushes my chest. 

Elisabeth we name you. Your eyes are closed tightly against the bright lights. You seem a little more relaxed than your older sister. The tears keep falling. Such a surreal moment to meet our daughters and be so conflicted by love, fear, excitement and dread.

Remembering their birth day. If you have followed my blog for awhile you will know our daughters arrived at 26 weeks due to the acute onset of Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion-Syndrome. Maggie weighed 777g and Elisabeth 889g. They spent 112 days in hospital. They are about to turn three, we are incredibly lucky to have two healthy daughters.

Text at the top is from Miracle Babies Foundation

1 comment:

Violet said...

So beautiful. I'll never forget the moment I first saw Joey. He was an indescribable purple, all arms and legs. Joseph could see his heart beating through his chest wall. After we got to the hospital I didn't see him again for hours and hours. Then when Joseph took me to NICU it was like is seeing Joey for the first time all over again. This time not purple, but so calm. Coverd in wires but I didn't see the wires. I didn't realize how tiny he was until we were going back to my room and we went past the regular nursery and the babies looked enormous.

We are so so blessed that our little babies are now happy healthy kids. So much to be thankful for.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...