Growing up premature - Isabelle's Story

Dawn And Isabelle's Story Hero

Now ten year's old, Isabelle reflects on the stories she's heard about her birth and tells us about what she's been up to since.

Hi, my name is Isabelle Holmes and I live in a large village called Littleport in Cambridgeshire. When my Mummy found out she was pregnant, her and Daddy were so happy and started planning my arrival almost immediately – as well as moving house, I was told.

Mummy purchased all the books, read them daily, and did everything they told her to do. Mummy also told me the funny things that happened. Apparently she started to love new potatoes and curry! I have to say that’s not my ideal menu – I love Sushi.

My mummy loved and enjoyed every second of being pregnant. She was still working in a big blue-chip company, commuting into Cambridge every day, until one morning (I still had over eight weeks until I was due to make an appearance) Mummy woke up with an awful backache.

Now, my mummy never missed a day of work, and on this day, 3 March 2006 to be precise, the pain was so bad she had to. Daddy came home and had to take Mummy to hospital. It was only a backache so she was sure she would be back home soon…erm, not quite. She was checked over by the amazing staff at The Rosie Maternity Hospital where she was told that she was 9cm dilated, and would be meeting me today!

Ah! No alarm bells rang, as Mummy assumed this was ok. However, within 59 minutes of entering the hospital, and 15 different medical staff rushing into the delivery suite, there I was. Mummy said that the doctor quickly showed me to her and then rushed off to resuscitate me, as I came out unable to breathe. It was touch and go as to what was happening. I started to cry, and that’s when I was whisked off and Mummy and Daddy had to come back and see me in intensive care a couple of hours later.

Mummy and Daddy went off to the ward, where Mummy was going to live for the next four weeks – she didn’t really understand what was going on. Hoorah! They were called to come and visit me all tucked up, with more wires and apparatus around me, and I was the size of my daddy’s hand, even though I weighed a hefty 4lb. Which, in the grand scheme of things, is huge considering I arrived nine weeks ahead of schedule.

However, I had a long road ahead of me. The first stop was being able to go to the toilet. There was no sign of any poo, and breathing without help was not happening either. Daddy went home - we moved house the Friday before I made an entrance on the Monday! Now that must have been stressful.

Mummy said that she found the next few weeks very tearful and cried practically every day. However, I was determined. I think it was when the consultant told Mummy that I would take longer than my peers to do anything and may need extra help, I pushed myself to the limits.

First of all I finally pooped. Mummy told me she cuddled the nurse when they told her my news!! Secondly, I pushed myself off the horrible breathing apparatus. Lots of skin-on-skin cuddling worked both with Mummy and Daddy. I was then taken to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), where I was going to finish the last two weeks of my fight before I headed home.

Mummy was lucky she got to be with me the whole time in hospital, but my poor Daddy had to go to work, visit the hospital, and then to top it all off decorate my room and get the house ready for my home coming…which was going to be very soon.

Still little and not happy with breast feeding, I finally came home with my feeding tube in. Mummy and Daddy were nervous and it wasn’t long before I was making my way back to hospital as I had stopped breathing…more stress for Mummy and Daddy.

However, I continued to fight and I knew that I was going to beat all that was said about me. As time went on I stayed very small, until I hit my first birthday, where I appeared to have started to catch up – ok, I wasn’t walking as great as my friends, but I was still walking. I started at the loveliest nursery. I found my passion for dance and drama when I started ballet at the local ballet school.

When I reached my third birthday, my little brother arrived! Toby arrived only five weeks ahead of schedule, but still we were going to share our birthdays. I’m not sure how I felt about this, as I really wanted a sister!

From then on, I went from strength to strength, thriving at school but also in Musical Theatre and Dance. From television work, to films, to being Clara in the Nutcracker, to now having just finished panto with Paul Nicholas.

Wow – what a start I had. However, I am now ten, and trust me I know what I want in life and where I want to be. Mummy and Daddy have a huge soft spot for the charity Bliss, who we donated to on my first birthday, and will always support where we can.

Keep that positive head on, as trust me, I am proof of that fight. The next stop for me is Bugsy Malone!

All my love,

Isabelle (Issy).