Today I want to share a Christmas story written by a friend of mine Sarah, following the story of her son born at 32 weeks, in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2007
On 3rd December 2007 my husband and I went out for a lovely meal to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, we could never imagine that only 3 days later we would be parents to a precious little boy.
The 4th December was a usual busy day at work, and then we had a midwife appointment at the hospital on the 5th. My pregnancy hadn’t been great, I’d been very sick but then, at around 22 weeks, I started to feel better and started to enjoy it. There had been some debates about Luke’s growth at 20 weeks so we had an extra scan at 22 weeks. It had then been decided that everything was OK and so here we were at 32 weeks for a “routine” appointment.
We knew something was wrong…they don’t usually offer you free scan pictures! The consultant was called and told us “this baby is very, very small and to give it the best chance we need to get it out”. Our friends had recently had a baby of around 4lb so that is what our concept of “very small” was, we froze when she said “no, I mean around 1lb”, we’d never heard of babies of that size before. So that was that, an emergency section followed and this is how we came to be in hospital at Christmas. Luke was born at 32 +1 on 6th December, weighing 1lb 10. They put his chances at 40%.
The first 2 weeks were spent by Luke’s side and in the wonderful Ronald McDonald parent accommodation. Then we got the bittersweet news that Luke would be transferred. Great, because this meant that Luke didn’t need the intensive care of our original hospital, terrifying because it meant a 45-minute drive and to somewhere we’d have to leave him. I’d been organised and bought and wrapped the presents in late November. I remember arriving home without him for the first time and madly scribbling “and Luke” on all the gift tags.
On Christmas Day we arrived at the hospital and our first surprise was an envelope to “Mummy and Daddy” – the nurses had taken his picture and made us a Christmas card from Luke. Then we also noticed he only had a feeding tube and apnoea monitor in – as a surprise for us the nurses had said that Santa had taken away all his other wires and tubes! Father Christmas has also left him presents of a snowman and a Christmas bib. We had bought him a Christmas card and stood it up by his incubator. One of the frustrating things was that there are no premature “first Christmas” clothes. My sister had bought a little Christmas mouse and one of our neighbours had found a little blue “Babys First Christmas” stocking- I think it was meant to put on the tree, but it was ideal to stick on his incubator.
Apart from that it was business as usual on the unit. One couple had twins in different hospitals so they just grabbed a beans on toast in between visits. We went to the In Laws for Christmas dinner and all had a toast to Luke and hoped he would join us next Christmas. Tears were shed and although he had never been there before there was a noticeable gap at the table. We then returned to the hospital and spent the evening with him.
And here we are in 2010 and Luke has just turned 3. Each Christmas we visit the Unit and give chocolates to the staff. Luke is a happy, confident little boy and is so excited this year – everything he sees he tells us how he wants it for Christmas! Someday he will understand that all we wanted for Christmas was him.