Friday 13 January 2012

I Wasn't There - One Born Every Minute

I am addicted to One Born Every Minute, and have seen every episode of every series, this being the third one. Having done a Facebook status about it on Wednesday night, I can see that many mothers of premature babies avoid it, and quite sensibly so. I find it interesting, and fascinating, they show a variety of different mums and their experiences, including life inside the Special Care Baby Unit, usually at the end of the series.

This week took me by surprise. I had just finished an hours exercise so maybe my adrenalin was all over the place, and I'd missed the first ten minutes, but as soon as I started watching it I was in floods of tears.

It suddenly hit me how different my experience was to those women. I never had a contraction, no one every looked at my lambing end to check out my cervix, I didn't labour. My baby didn't come out my vagina, and I didn't get to hold him.

And that's it, that's what ultimately had grabbed me. My baby was born, and he was taken away. And I was not there. I was not there as they worked on him, ventilated him, checked him over. I was not there as they took him away to special care, I was not there when they trialled him without ventilation. I saw him for 5 minutes in his first 24 hours of life. And nothing can take away that sadness. Nothing. Not the millions of kisses and cuddles I have had since, I was not there.

Unfortunately, these feelings have had a knock on effect. Since Christmas Joseph has been incredibly unsettled, and I have found it really hard to deal with him, particularly at bed time, as cries "mummy I need you, mummy come back" the old feelings come back and I want to just hold him forever and never let him go, which isn't healthy.

Yesterday something happened that put it all in perspective. I ran into an old friend I used to live next door to when I first arrived in the UK. I can't go into too much detail but this friend lived in supported housing as she has a mild learning disability. We lost contact when we both moved house, but are back in touch now. She had a baby six months ago, a girl, she was 8lb + and she delivered her on gas and air, and I am so proud of her. But, due to her disability the baby was taken away and is subject to a guardianship order.

I missed my baby's first days, but I can hold him forever, my friend can see her baby one day a week.

It puts it all into perspective.


  1. I cannot begin to imagine how you felt when you didn't even get to see or hold your little boy, it must have been awful - it's something that we all take for granted. It must have been heartbreaking. For your friend, that is just so sad, and yes it certainly does put things into perspective xxx

  2. A very well written, thought provoking and moving post. My pipsqueak is also a 27-but-so-very-nearly-a-28 weeker and I had a natural birth, although down to unfortunate circumstances rather than mine or medical choice as she was born very spontaneously at home before any medical professions/transport could arrive to get us to hospital. Due to the obvious lack of ventilators etc I had to attempt CPR before she was whisked away as soon as the ambulance arrived and for hours I did not know if she had survived. My physical contact was very limited for the first 24-48 hours and that really hurts and like you I will never forget that. The first photograph I have was taken by NICU staff not me or a family member and though I am very glad to have it, it is bittersweet. I don't know how my feelings would differ with a caesarean. I certainly would have preferred a much lower risk environment and whatever that would have entailed. Hindsight, eh!
    But as you say when looking at your friend, it puts everything into perspective and suddenly birth details seem far less important.

  3. Thank you so much for reading and sharing. I think preterm birth must be just terrifying, I know many who just went into spontaneous labour, I do very much count myself lucky in premmie terms, as we had 24 hours to prepare mentally, and to get Joseph ready with the steroids etc, I just can't imagine what you went through.

    But we have our babies, my heart aches for my friend.

  4. Thank you for reading, it was hard, I didn't even know what I had! We wanted to find out at our emergency scan, but Joseph wouldn't let us, then when he was delivered it was a rush to treat him, everyone thought someone else had checked! The anaethetist said "I think its a boy but can't be sure", bless him. It was a huge wake up call yesterday, I was still feeling sorry for myself, and it was the kick in the butt I needed.

  5. How sad for your friend kylie, and you're right it does put it into perspective. Everyone has emotions that they struggle with, it's what makes us human. xx