"Without a shadow of doubt, Harry is my 'miracle' son" - Emma's story

When Emma Flatman’s son Harry was born 11 weeks premature in March 2014, she had no idea if he would survive, but this “miracle baby” proved everyone wrong. Now her close friend Jennifer Sharpe, the founder of hugely popular cleaning brand Fabulosa, has launched a new partnership to help Bliss reach families like them.

A routine midwife appointment proved to be the catalyst that would change my life forever. At approximately 25 weeks gestation it was noted my blood pressure was elevated. The worrying thing was I had absolutely no idea and felt fine. The dynamic nature of my condition meant I had to be monitored very closely from that point onwards with my medication altered on a frequent basis to allow me to further progress the pregnancy.

Had the pre-eclampsia not been picked up, and had it not been for the excellent care that I received at Leighton Hospital in Crewe, I would not have my fabulous son. We managed to get to exactly 29 weeks before Harry was determined to make a very early entrance to the world.

In the delivery room I remember being absolutely petrified. I had already had something of a bizarre and worrying day and there was a moment when Harry’s heartbeat had ‘gone’ again and the room was quickly filled with consultants, doctors, additional midwives and scanning machines of all types. As I was wheeled into theatre, I was physically and uncontrollably shaking and trying my best not to show it. I wanted to continue to be strong and positive for Harry, but I was so frightened. We had gone so far together and I was praying that he would survive the birth. My precious little boy. My fighter. My little angel and hero. I was already so proud of him and what he had been able to achieve.

When Harry was born he weighed just 2lbs 4oz. He was approximately a third underweight for his gestation after experiencing enormous difficulties inside the womb due to my placenta disintegrating and the added complication of the pre-eclampsia. The future looked bleak. But I remember there was a moment earlier in the delivery room when everyone was quiet and I could hear the sound of the radio. It was Pharrell Williams singing ‘Happy!’ A wave of emotion passed over me and hearing that song gave me a sense of hope and confidence that everything would be okay. This was Harry’s song.

We spent a total of 145 days together in hospital and Harry also needed heart surgery at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool. The experience in NICU certainly is like no other and it’s almost impossible to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. It takes a while to get used to all the machines, tubes and alarms. There were many occasions when the staff in NICU did not expect Harry to survive, and I was fully aware of what a perilous path we were embarking upon together.

One day the nurses suggested to me I should write my thoughts down in a book as I had quite a unique story to tell. At the time I thought my frankness may actually assist other parents to deal with their fears, thoughts and experiences, and importantly not lose hope. I named the book ‘Without A Shadow Of Doubt’ and it was subsequently published in 2018. It’s an honest heartfelt account of the journey Harry has endured, essentially his story experienced by me and witnessed through my eyes.

Harry is a product of everybody’s professionalism, care and attention to detail. The staff in NICU described him as a “miracle baby” and now he is my miracle son. I believe the support Bliss provides to families who have gone through a similar journey is so vital. Having someone like a Bliss Champion to talk to could have helped me during my first few days in NICU when it was hard for me to process this scary new environment. I am so glad my good friend Jennifer has launched this new partnership with Fabulosa and Bliss. I hope Fabulosa’s wonderful customers can raise funds for this amazing charity.

'Without A Shadow Of Doubt’ can be purchased at the discounted price of £10 by contacting: corporate@bliss.org.uk