Luke and I were very excited about expecting our first child. I was enjoying my pregnancy and everything seemed to be going as it should be, but little did we know that things would suddenly change and we would be thrown into a world we never knew existed.
I went into early labour at 24 weeks’ gestation and gave birth to a little boy called Joseph at 25 weeks, weighing 1lb 11oz. To this day I get a lump in my throat and have to hold back the tears when I think about Joseph's journey. That's why I wrote this poem. I felt it was a good way to put my thoughts and feelings down on paper.
Stronger Than We Thought
Your daddy told me to get checked out as I felt very unwell one day,
We didn’t know what was before us, but knew things would not be the same.
“Your baby is on the way” the doctor told us and I yelped out with a cry,
“This can’t happen now, it’s too early” I said, I was in shock and didn’t understand why.
I remember crying in my mum’s arms and praying that you my baby would survive,
At just 24 weeks pregnant it was too early for you to arrive.
So many doctors and consultants visited your daddy and I that night and told us all the facts,
You only had a 50 per cent chance of survival and if you did you had a long road ahead of you, we weren’t sure what hope to have after hearing all the stats.
Steroids, antibiotics and numerous other drugs were given to me to stop you on your way,
“We need to transfer you to another hospital” they said “We need to keep that baby inside of you, as its chances of survival increases with any extra day.”
We were transferred to John Radcliffe Oxford hospital, which was such an answer to prayer as you arrived a day later,
The only thing we could do was put your life and ours in the hands we could trust – our Creator.
I will never forget the day I gave birth to you my little boy, your daddy and Nuna J were there, I can still picture it so clear,
Weighing only 1lb 11oz you were so tiny, but so perfectly formed it made me shed a tear.
Hours passed before we could see you again, the doctors and nurses had so many jobs to do,
All three of us visited you that night and it was the beginning of our journey in NICU.
“He has had a good start” they told us “He is fighting strong,” but all we could see were wires, tubes and machines,
Alarms went off, nurses had everything under control, while I sat helpless crying and watching you through glass screens.
So our life in NICU began, we learnt very quickly it was an emotional rollercoaster and to take each day at a time,
There wasn’t much time that your daddy and I didn’t sit with you, when we did have to leave you it felt like we were committing a crime.
After one week I was eventually allowed to hold you for the first time, our bond was finally made,
This only made things harder afterwards, as the thought of losing you now made me so afraid.
Your bloods were taken more than once a day, you fought infections, had so many antibiotics, eye tests, scans on your heart and your brain,
You always kept pulling out your ventilation tubes and I am sure you knew what you were doing, but just enjoyed playing games.
You were six weeks old when an infection was too hard for you to fight, you went very quiet and your kidneys started to fail, we thought this was the end, the future looked so bleak,
But then you suddenly turned a corner and started to fight back, we couldn’t believe how things quickly changed and you were transferred to our home hospital in Gloucester the following week!
Your life in hospital was 13 weeks long and then the day arrived we never thought we would see, you were discharged and allowed to come home,
You still needed to have oxygen and we hadn’t completely mastered feeding, but they were just obstacles we knew we could overcome.
It was hard to adapt to life at home, no doctors, no nurses and no machines telling us what your oxygen saturations were doing,
But after a while we started to relax and just enjoy you, especially when you were so cute and started cooing.
Hand sanitiser, consultants, health visitors, respiratory nurses, physiotherapists all become your best friend,
You think the weekly list of visits and appointments will never come to an end.
But two years has passed and you have exceeded all our expectations,
You are such a happy, loving, healthy little boy who has such a crazy imagination!
Thinking how far you have come always brings a lump to my throat and I have to hold back the tears, even though our journey was hard and tough in places,
I can honestly say it was such an amazing journey to experience for so many reasons and God deserves all our praises.
We will always be grateful to all the doctors and nurses who worked every minute of every day to keep you alive,
They work such long hours and the mix of emotions they must have especially when they can’t help every baby survive.
Every premmie parent will understand this, the beeps from all the machines, the smell of the unit, hand wash and disinfectant wipes never leave you,
When you hear or smell them again it doesn’t matter where you are it takes you straight back to those moments in NICU.
Joseph, one day your daddy and I will be able to tell you the story of how your life began,
But for now we will love you with all our hearts and cherish each day we have with you as much as we possibly can.
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