It’s World Prematurity Day today and I decided a few months back that I’d like to raise some awareness, especially as I’ve been in that rocky boat too when I had my daughter two years ago. I found some lovely families who were willing to wear their heart on the sleeve and share their stories with me and I popped over to their homes to photograph the children who were now over 6 months old.
Written by Lucy, Harrison’s mum.
Harrison, 07/12/17, birthweight 2lb 2 ounces, 29 weeks and 3 days
We’d been trying for three years and given up the hope that we could get pregnant, so when the test came back positive we both broke down into tears and it was one of the most happiest moments of our lives.
The pregnancy was horrendous, I had severe morning sickness from 7 weeks up until 22 weeks, where I couldn’t eat anything without being sick. I then developed early on-set preeclampsia at 24 weeks and was in and out of hospital until Harrison was born. The last three weeks in hospital I was completely bedbound in hospital in Southampton. I also had to inject myself with blood thinners every day for about four weeks until Harrison was born.
This was our first pregnancy and I don’t think my husband and I were quite prepared for just how premature he would be born or how scary it would be. The fear and uncertainty really set in when we were taken for a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Southampton and saw the babies in their incubators.
I had an emergency C-section and was heavily sedated and put to sleep again once he was born. I did see him for a few seconds when he was born and the first time I went to NICU to see him, I was wheeled in on a hospital bed, a few hours after I was out of surgery, so my memory of seeing him is hazy. I do, however, remember how red his skin was and not being able to see his face because of the C-PAP facemask he was wearing to help him breathe.
The days after the birth were extremely difficult as I couldn’t do anything for myself for three or four days. To add to this, when I was discharged from hospital we moved to the Ronald McDonald House (Read more about the house here) which was a very stressful time as my husband’s work was not extremely helpful and he had to go back to work 6 days after Harrison was born. This made everything harder for me as I was in Nicu every day on my own, just watching our son, hoping that every day he would get stronger and that every test they did would come back ok and that they would tell me he was fine. Harrison was diagnosed with anemia just before he went home, but fingers crossed, with the help of medication, this seems to have passed.
We spent a total of 73 days in NICU. We were in Southampton NICU for 10 days and were then transferred to Poole NICU where we stayed until February 18th, one day before his due date.
Our advice to anyone who may be going through the experience of having a premature baby would be to not listen to outside voices, unless someone has been through the experience, they will never really understand it.
Listen to doctors and what they are saying, but don’t be afraid to speak out if you think something is wrong. The doctor only comes to see your baby maybe twice a day, so you will know your baby better than anyone.
Lucy, Harrison’s mum
Here is Harrison when I photographed him in his home, he was full of beans and personality and eyes so inquisitive! Such a cutie!
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