I recently read an interview by The Telegraph with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, sharing an insight into how she felt having 2 premature babies. I often read lots of articles like this on social media and online because I too am a preemie mummy and like to hear about other parents stories and experiences. With anything, a lot of people feel reassurance knowing somebody else felt the same way as you when going through the same experience you did, and this was exactly how I felt reading Sophie’s interview.
In the interview with The Telegraph, Sophie said: “I didn’t hold either of my babies straight away. There’s no point me dressing it up: you definitely haven’t had the baby in the way you wanted, and they’re not supposed to be born that early. So, the first week is pretty scary.”
If like me your a mummy to a premature baby you’ll know just how traumatic the whole experience is, I was never given a reason as to why my Connor (now 5) was born at 31 weeks and 4 days. I too was told like Sophie the likelihood of it happening again is very slim, but the couple’s second baby, Kit, was born at 31 weeks.
Kit’s entrance into the world, in particular, was difficult; after giving birth at 31 weeks, she couldn’t hold her baby for the first few weeks of his life. He weighed a tiny 2lbs 8oz at the time.
“I know so well how isolating it is. When they’re in intensive care, your role as a parent is quite limited,” she admitted.
“I remember being wheeled down to see him, having only seen pictures all day, and being totally overwhelmed. I didn’t really see the box and the machines – I just saw this baby and felt the love for this little person who was now part of our lives, and you just know, don’t you, in that second everything’s changed.”
My experience was very similar in the fact that I don’t think I noticed the serverity straight away, when I first saw Connor I too didn’t take notice of the machines, the incubator or the tubes feeding into him- but I saw the tiny little baby and felt this instant urge to protect him and keep him safe from the world.
60,000 babies are born premature in the UK each year, representing 1 in 10 pregnancies. Yet premature births, defined as babies born at 37 weeks or less, barely make a footnote in the pregnancy manuals.
Sophie goes on to say how She remembers going in one day to find her baby dressed for the first time. “I’d never seen him with clothes on. And I was a bit, ‘Oh, I would have quite liked to do that…’ But they have to be efficient because it’s a hospital. That’s just how it is.
The same thing happened to me. When Connor was moved from NICU into the NICU nursery and he’d had his first full (ish) tube of milk but nobody had told me. This was a huge step for him because it meant the doctors thought he was well enough to be away from machines and immediate care and had improved feeding finally. I went in one day to his spot empty, I panicked for a split second but a nurse found me and told me that he was feeding ok and even though it was such amazing news for my little man, I was devastated i wasn’t there to see. It would have been nice for a call prior to going in that morning though with such important brilliant news. A few days later it happened again but this time Connor had gone back. I just remember sobbing on my own with a cold drink in my hand on the phone to my parents.
When I read these interviews especially from celebrities, I feel this unity and connection being able to relate to someone else who was in my boat. Someone like me who isn’t heard by millions of people can’t always spread the word that you were not alone feeling those feelings of being useless, a mum that couldn’t help her baby straight away and had to watch while other doctors and nurses took care of him, something i knew too well. But it’s ok to feel that way and it does get easier as the time in there goes on. I’ve learnt over time reading articles like this that I’m not the only person that felt like that! It’s so reassuring to read something so familiar from a person who’s known by so many people has felt just like you did when they went through the same thing. The proud feeling I get every time I look at Connor knowing how tough his start in life was and that he pulled through is more than I can describe and I’m sure so many other prem mummies know exactly what I’m talking about!
Sophie is also an ambassador for pampers preemie protection range of nappies, when I used them 5 years ago they were quite hard to get hold of and I had to go to places like boots and buy the smaller packets which was exhausting. Unfortunately i couldn’t nip to the closest supermarket because it was highly unlikely they were stocked there. I’m so glad they are an awful lot easier to get hold of now and they’ve gone even smaller starting from as little as 1.8lbs! has anyone seen the new advert?? It takes me straight back to those few weeks we were in neonatal and I have to keep it together every time I watch it!
If like me you can relate to Sophie’s story, you can read the full article here Sophie’s full story with the telegraph.
You can also read all about Connors dramatic start to life here My miracle Connor.