Sienna was initially due on my 29th birthday in May, but after a 200 mile car journey returning from my mother in law’s towards the end of March I started to suffer abdominal pains. I had been rushed to the hospital twice before with the same pains but was told it wasn't anything serious. So we went home and I took a bath. Eventually the pains got too frequent so my husband called the ambulance.
They arrived at 8.30pm and I was in the labour room by 9.00pm. After just two pushes at 9.09pm Sienna was born. In the rush we had to leave our other daughter Sayuri at our neighbours because we do not have any family nearby. This affected her a lot. We spent a month in NICU but our time with Sienna was limited as we had to care and keep Sayuri's routine in place as she was just a little over two years old. Effectively we only saw Sienna between 5.30pm and 8.30pm after I was discharged, and within that we took hourly turns to be with Sayuri in the family room.
Sienna was moved a lot due to her progress, but also due to lack of space and we constantly worried about her care. Eventually, after having oxygen, jaundice, tube feeding, flaring in the brain and an infection, she started to do really well.
Soon she was fit and well and ready to go home. The whole experience happened so quickly that it's only now that it seems to be sinking in, and with the prospect of returning to work early next year it just doesn't seem like I've had much quality time with Sienna.
When I returned home with Sienna, I wrote a poem to express what I was going through:
I'm sorry for not telling you sooner, about these deep, dark feelings.
But it's been over six months and I still feel like I'm grieving.
"Why? Over what?" You may question while reading this confession.
Well, the premature birth of my baby still trips me into slight depression
At night I lie awake and cry, thinking of what should have been.
Constantly being swamped with memories of wires, feeding tubes and oxygen machines.
"She's fine now. She's home, don't worry." You say to keep my spirits high.
Regrettably, I'm sorry but that's not enough to hear and to get by.
Leaving her in NICU every night was not my plan of action.
Neither was expressing milk like a cow every three hours, what a ridiculous contraption!
The grievance I'm suffering with is that of a broken heart.
I've been feeling the pain of inadequacy of motherhood straight from the start.
Every day since her birth, I don my mask like a warrior and show the world I can cope.
Secretly thoughts of my failures eventually finds its scope.
"You’re doing great! I can't believe her progress" you assure me so confidently.
I quickly calculate her corrected age - is she? The anxiety crops up so prominently.
Constantly worrying about infections, breathing and development is not what I had imagined.
So please forgive me for not telling you this sooner, I'm still trying to understand what has happened.
If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this post and need support, please call the Bliss helpline.