No amount of words can describe how hard it is as a mum when you have a child in the neonatal unit. As a mother, you feel like you have let your child down before they have even had a chance to live their life.
Ten years before Ayrton was born, Neil and I went through all the fertility treatment available. It all failed. I was then told there was only a 1.8 per cent chance of me ever falling pregnant naturally.
After all the heartache of not being able to have a family, we went through counselling and decided to try and be the best auntie and uncle we could to our nieces and nephews.
Early in 2013 I missed a period. As I was suffering from endometriosis, my cycle was abnormal so missing a period was normal. Then, the day before Mother’s Day 2013, Neil and I found out we were having a baby.
My pregnancy progressed fantastically until August, when I had the most horrendous pain ever. When we got to the hospital the doctor said my waters were leaking and that I would have to stay in hospital until the baby was born.
We were told that with special injections, they would keep my pregnancy going until I was at least 32 weeks, a whole six weeks away. Our life was crashing down around us.
One week later, on 11 August 2013 at 5.45 pm, I gave birth to our beautiful son at 27 weeks gestation. He weighed just 2 lb 8oz.
The staff in NICU were amazing and even though we knew our son was fighting for his little life, we made a pact. All negativity was to stay at the door – only positivity was allowed in.
As the weeks went by, Ayrton got stronger and stronger. At five weeks old we had a phone call we never expected. At 4.00am, NICU called to say our little miracle had been ventilated, and that we should come in. By 9.00am, Ayrton was rushed to another hospital, where he underwent a four hour operation. With only a one in five chance of surviving, Ayrton had contracted necrotising enterocolitis (a condition where the intestinal tissue starts to become inflamed and die) and had to have 15cm of bowel removed. Ayrton beat the odds and after spending two weeks on morphine, he was transferred back to the original hospital until it was time to go home.
Finally, after spending 13 weeks in hospital, on 8 November 2013, four days after his due date, we were allowed to take our son home.
He had to have a further operation in May 2014 but is now doing fantastically well.
If it wasn’t for the NICU and the surgeons at the hospital, our outcome could have been so different. We owe our son’s life to all the doctors and nurses who spent all their time and love keeping him alive.
If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this post, you can call our helpline on 0500 618 140 or visit our 'we're here to help' pages.