World Prematurity Day
Today celebrates those tiny humans who were born early, for whatever reason they arrived before their 40-week eviction date.
If you’ve followed Melody’s story, then you’ll know this day is somewhat close to my heart.
Our premature story didn’t begin with Melody, it began with my first born 2005.
She was born at 37 weeks after a 40-hour induction, due to pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition which affects far too many women. But was later discovered in my notes she was 35 weeks, she was also an IUGR baby. (Intrauterine Growth Restriction).
Born weighing in at 4lb 8oz, she was whisked off the SCBU, where I didn’t see her until the next morning.
Having a baby who unexpectedly goes into SCBU, has an awful effect on bonding, they’re everyone else’s babies before they are your own, or at least it is what it feels like.
Although not massively premature, we stayed in the unit for a week, whilst she gained a bit more weight and controlled her body temperature and sugars. She was lucky enough to never need oxygen or breathing apparatus.
It was only a week journey, but long enough to know that having an earlier baby isn’t an easy route to a shorter pregnancy. It pains me when people still wish their babies early. Because at any gestation, there’s no telling if your baby isn’t ready, they may need help.
We were the lucky parents to walk out of the unit, with a car seat filled with a baby.
She’s now the same height as me, stroppy pre-teen lovable young lady, who by looking at you’d never guess she was born at 4lb 8oz…
She made me a mum.
Our crazy lady.
The other side of the coin.
Did you know around the world a premature baby dies every 30 seconds? And a huge 75 (75!!) % are preventable.
Melody is one of those babies, she hit the wrong 30 seconds, she was one of the 75%.
Almost seven years after my eldest was born, we met Melody prematurely. Born at 26 plus 6 weeks.
She was born because I became seriously ill with HELLP syndrome, a rare form of pre-eclampsia, can cause organ failure. I was minutes from seizing.
IUGR take two
Born at 1lb 8oz…670g, she was the size of a 23 weeker, which made sense as she had IUGR too.
She was a whole 9 inches long.
When she died she had just reached 2lb 2oz.
She went through up to 12 feeding tubes a day because she pulled them out, one time she caused herself to faint by doing so.
She was on CPAP for 24 hours after the ventilation. Vapotherm up until 2 hours before she died.
She was nicknamed Miss Fidgety Pants.
When she burped, milk erupted through her syringe like a volcano.
This feisty little girl kicked the Doctor who brought her into the world and smacked the cardiologist who dared to put jelly on her chest.
“She isn’t going to survive.”
Melody had an eye test called ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) that made her poorly, she never recovered.
We were told she had an 80% chance of survival when she was born but
Sepsis similar to Meningitis stole our little girl.
She should have come home.
When we walked into the unit on 1st April 2012, we never expected to hear the words
“She’s not going to survive.”
We left the hospital unable to fill her car seat.
There are so many what ifs with Melody’s story, not one I can change.
Everything should have been different, but everything changed.
Know your body.
If I could tell anyone to not wish your pregnancy away I would.
If your baby is born early, please trust your instincts, ask questions, do not let anyone let you feel your baby isn’t yours.
There is so much I could change about her final hours.
One being I would have held her longer.
She made me a bereaved mum.
Forever 5 weeks.