Should we know more about premature births?

So you are pregnant—congratulations. In the meantime you are decorating rooms, buying baby clothes or stocking up on nappies, waiting for the little precious bundle to be born.

So you are pregnant—congratulations. In the meantime you are decorating rooms, buying baby clothes or stocking up on nappies, waiting for the little precious bundle to be born. No parent ever imagines giving birth to an extremely premature baby—it can be one of the most fearful and daunting experiences to ever go through.

I was 21 weeks pregnant when I was told I had Placenta Previa (the placenta had come off the wall and laid above my cervix).  

By the time I was 26 weeks I had lost a large amount of blood and had six blood transfusions. Eventually it came to a point that I had lost so much blood, the pregnancy was risking both our lives. I had no option but to give birth. I had a caesarean.

As soon as my boy arrived they had to put him on ventilation. I heard a small cry, well a squeak actually, he sounded like a mouse. Relieved that he had survived the birth, but then the nightmare began. Like other mothers they bond naturally by cuddling, singing, rocking…

I couldn’t hold my son, not because I didn’t want to. I wasn’t allowed to.

He was placed in heated incubator that acted like an artificial womb. He was so small and weighted 2lb 1oz, his tiny body was covered in wires that were huge compared to him. I could do his cares—wipe his mouth with a cotton bud if he became dry and change his nappy, but the only thing I wanted to do was hold him.

A nightmare from hell

Having a baby that was so premature was disturbing and emotional. My little boy was not developed properly, and His head was bigger than his body. His skin was translucent enough to see his veins and watching him breathe, I was worried he might not survive.

For four month we went through hell. Denn’s lungs had collapsed twice, and twice I was told that he wouldn’t last 24 hours, but he carried on fighting.  Denn had to be taken off the Ventilator and transferred to an oscillator, a high frequency ventilator known as a lung injury preventer. He was on this for least three months.

They weaned him off this and eventually went on to CPAP ‘continuous positive airway pressure’ this allowed him to use his lungs normally and it was the first time I got to hold him. I cried so much, I cried with happiness but he still wasn’t out of the woods, he was on 100 percent oxygen.

His valves in his heart were open and he couldn’t get the gases out of his body naturally. These minor problems were sorted, but the major problem was breathing he needed oxygen and large amounts of it.  

They had given him steroids which had hardened his heart muscle. His oxygen levels weren’t lowering and it became clear they had tried everything they possibly could. The last resort was to give Denn another set of steroids but they had told me if they didn’t work nothing else could be done. Deep down I knew he would be ok, but the some days the doubt would creep in.

No warning

Going back and forth to hospital every day was also costly. I sold my valuables to make sure I spent every day with him. But I also felt guilty—I felt I was pulled in all different directions, one way for my eldest child, another way for my partner and the other way for Denn. Everyone needed me and I was exhausted.

The doctors worked their magic and Denn grew and became stronger. It was 4 months of struggling, fearing, and happiness, sadness, hoping and praying he finally came home.

Not once was I ever told by a professional this could happen, I was not prepared for when it went wrong, I was not prepared for guilt, arguments in my relationships, I was not prepared for the pressure and pulled in all sorts of directions, and the worst was watching mothers whom didn’t have the opportunity to watch their children grow, I heard their screams of pain for their babies who couldn’t fight any more I wasn’t prepared for that. 

However, my boy is now seven and has a chronic lung disease, but his lungs are getting better with age, and he’s stronger by the day. If I had the knowledge and understanding it wouldn’t have been so frightening.

The doctors and nurses were fantastic with care. As for awareness, pregnant women will never know until they experience it. However, if women could be educated to what could happen, what they could experience and learn about the emotional rollercoaster to hell, then maybe they could deal with the daunting pressure of reality because it isn’t a nice place to be.


To learn more about a high-risk pregnancy and premature birth, Kettle recommends this web site. And have your say in the comments section below.