Lulu came early.

Lulu came every early indeed, at 28 weeks and 5 days to be precise. She weighted a whopping 2 1/2 lbs (that really is big for a baby her gestation!) and remained in intensive care for nine weeks until finally we could take her home. It was a ‘groundhog day’ like existence; get up, get dressed, get expressed milk out of fridge, get cab to station, get train and bus to hospital, stay by her incubator for nine hours, give her medicine, feed her through a tube in her nose, rotate her sleeping position so she doesn’t get a flattened head, change her bedding, all done through two holes in the side of the incubator, it was a challenge.


My hands eventually cracked and split from the sanitizing fluid that was necessary to put on almost constantly, and I expressed milk for her every three hours, day and night. Everything was covered in breast milk! The challenges of every minute of everyday were all worth it. But goodness it was hard. I felt like I was waiting for her to die, but wishing, oh so hard, that she wouldn’t. The machines that enabled  her to breathe and grow had alarms that went off every time she stopped breathing or her heart rate dropped. I still hear those bells in my dreams. I was always waiting for the midnight phone call to say she had passed away. She did superbly well for the first five days and came off the C Pap, (breathing apparatus for prem babies as their lungs haven’t developed fully) and then a few days later she went back a step and back onto C pap she went for 48 hours (see the main photo – sob sob). Everyone in the Intensive care unit tells you this is common with prem babies, two steps forward, one step back. That was the point when she was at her most unwell and to be entirely honest neither my husband nor I expected to her to make it through those days. We got home from the hospital and he wept and wept, I was trying to focus on getting on, expressing, trying to sleep, ‘groundhog day’, so I sent him to the spare room for the night –  I felt that I couldn’t afford to unravel, I couldn’t be tired the next day when I saw Lulu, she needed me and I needed my sleep.

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Lulu is now four years old and I still can’t watch any programmes about prem babies, they make me cry and my heart leaps into my throat. I probably haven’t dealt sufficiently with Lucia’s early arrival but I don’t want to cry any more, she is here and miraculously she is completely well. There are no issues with her sight or her hearing, which is very common in prem babies due to their exposure to so much oxygen when in the incubators. However, her early arrival has played a big part in my decision not to have anymore children and I am still coming to terms with that but I simply don’t think I have the reserves of emotional energy required to deal with such a poorly baby again and for me in this situation, no matter how sad it makes me, knowledge is power.

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  1. Sam wrote:

    I’m sitting in hospital with breast cancer and my gorgeous 22yr old son is with me. He too was 28wks1day and weighed a smaller 2lb 1/2 oz. Your daughters journey is so similar to my sons 22 yrs ago.Obviously I don’t know your circumstances, but check it out. My 2nd (and final) child is my gorgeous 18 yr old who although early (32 weeks) weighed a whopping 4lb 7oz and only needed fattening up to come home. Bringing my son home was one of the most beautiful and awful experiences all rolled into one. The responsibility was overwhelming. My daughter was easy peas y in comparison. I say this hopefully to help and inspire you , should you change your mind on having a 2nd child. Nothing was similar. It’s very hard writing to s complete stranger but you look a happy family. Enjoy and I wish you well

    Posted 6.11.15 Reply
    • Duvet days wrote:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me, particularly as you are clearly dealing with big challenges. 4lb 7oz? I bet your daughter seemed simply huge to you compared to your son, when I see new borns I still think they look massive as Lulu was so tiny. I am so pleased to hear that your second baby was almost to term, it must have being a worrying time for you. I had a number of miscarriages before I had Lulu so part of me thought that as each pregnancy lasted a little longer than the last that she really wasn’t going to survive but she is resilient and prem babies are so strong aren’t they, emotionally and physically for their size? No one mentions that bit. I bet your son managed to rip his feeding tube off his face and out of his nose on a number of occasions just as Lulu did. Their tenacity is awe inspiring.

      My husband left me two years ago when Lulu was two and I am now 41. I am just getting my life back on track after feeling so devastated, I work full time, I own the house that Lulu and I live in and I am starting a Phd part time at Oxford in January, it keeps me busy and satisfied. But I still feel the want for a baby. I am also anxious about it as the Drs have no idea at all as to why Lulu came so early. Pregnancy is a complicated process for me, involving a change in routine of the meds I take for a chronic liver condition, lots of tests and that all has to be done six months before I even consider conceiving! My head tells me it would be absolutely ridiculous for me even to consider getting pregnant but I keep coming back to the fact that I really really want another baby. I worry I am pushing my luck, that lulu was a gift and should be ‘enough’. I worry if I got pregnant and lost a baby that my sadness would affect Lulu, and I have the terrible sense of time slipping away and stealing my choice from me.

      Your comment is inspiring and very welcome, I only know one other person who had another child after having had a premature baby and her son was nearly full term too.

      I wish all the very best for the future and am so pleased that your son was keeping you company today. M xxx

      Posted 6.11.15 Reply
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