“The journey feels like the hardest thing in the world” - Emelia’s story

Emelia's baby Caleb, sitting up

As Caleb celebrates his first birthday, Emelia reflects on their neonatal journey and how far they have come since he was born on 10 September 2021.

In November 2016, me and my partner were given the news that the chance of us having children of our own is highly unlikely and if we chose IVF, I would need egg donation as I suffered with a diminished ovarian reserve. My world shattered into a million pieces as I felt my only dream in life was to be someone’s mummy.

Fast forward six years, on 29 March 2021 I attended a scan for an ovarian cyst which needed a close eye kept on. When my radiographer said, “you’re pregnant”, I couldn’t believe her. I told her there’s no way - I’m infertile. I have never conceived in five years." She replied, “my dear, there is a baby and there is their heartbeat.”

I was overcome with all kinds of emotions but mainly pure joy.

As my pregnancy progressed, I was bleeding a lot but our baby was always fine. Then early in the morning of Saturday 4 September when I was 29 weeks pregnant, my waters broke.

We attended our local maternity unit who confirmed it and gave me the steroids for his lungs. They admitted me but as we waited for labour to start, it didn’t. I was sent home to rest with pre-made appointments and scans to go back to check for an infection until 37 weeks.

Five days later I went into labour and Caleb was born on 10 September 2021, at 4:51 am weighing 3lb 5oz, at 30 weeks and two days. Our NICU journey started and I am very fortunate to say it was pretty much a smooth ride throughout even though it felt like the hardest thing in the world.

Caleb spent three weeks and five days in NICU, and then we were home with our tiny 4lb 3oz baby, ready to start our lives together. The staff at Ward 22, the NICU at Leighton Hospital were absolutely amazing to both Caleb and me. I genuinely would not have gotten through it without them!

Caleb has no known lasting effects from his premature birth and has brought an unimaginable, indescribable amount of joy to our life. He is an actual definition of a miracle, defying odds from conception.

The journey feels the hardest thing in the world but premature babies and parents of preemies are warriors. Just remember that no matter how many times you doubt yourself and your strength, and despite dreading what the next minute, hour, or day will bring – you will get through it.

The memories will always be there, too. A year later, I can still smell the smell of their bedding, I can hear the beeps of the machines - but it’s a reminder of how far these amazing tiny warriors have come and that their amazing mummies and daddies did it with them!

All my love,
Emelia, Caleb’s mummy x