#IWishIdKnown that I could reach out – Matthew’s story

Matthew's twins were born at 28 weeks. He describes what he wished he had known about prematurity, support and the strength of reaching out to others.

I wish I’d known about all the potential things that could go wrong directly relating to prematurity.

Before my twins Cerys and Emily were born at 28 weeks, I didn’t have an understanding of issues such as potential bleeds on the brain, bradycardia heart rhythms, retinopathy of prematurity. It can all seem pretty overwhelming to process. The delicate balance that the doctors and nurses have to weave between each process of delivering care in particular is both amazing and extremely complex. For example, giving oxygen needs to be done but too much can lead to issues. I feel for me a better understanding of diagnoses, levels of care and the medical processes would have helped me be able to tailor the support I was trying to give my spouse and my children.

You do become very aware of these intricate medical issues quickly because they are so essential to the care of your child. I was (and never have been) afraid to show my emotions, I think that what makes a man is his love for those who matter to him, his kindness to all people and his ability to admit when he’s made a mistake or that he needs extra help.

I wish I’d known and been able to understand in such a high stress environment that anything you do that’s positive as a husband or father is the right thing, and we are all in the same boat.

My smallest twin was severely ill and we were sat down three times and told it was unlikely she would survive, we are incredibly lucky in that she did and we owe everything to the fantastic team of doctors and nurses on the neonatal ward.

At the time I dealt with the pain of that alone so as not to burden my wife, I would say that I suffered more because I didn’t speak to anyone. In hindsight, I would have benefited from Bliss and the resources that were available to me at the time. Speaking to others is not a weakness. It takes more strength to not be afraid to say you need help.

Admitting and acting on this will make the most difficult of situations better for yourself and those around you.