Friday, 16 November 2012

Bliss and World Prematurity Day

Tomorrow is World Prematurity Day. Bliss and I will be holding a Twitter party from 1pm until 2pm and would love you to join us. Look out for the hashtags #Blisswpd and #worldprematurityday. Join in to chat about the support our tiny babies and their families need from Bliss and how Bliss achieves this. I would love to see lots of you there, and we will be sharing stories and pictures. If you have a few minutes spare please watch this lovely video.

Also today, over on The Independent is a piece from me called Motherhood Interrupted which I would love you to read. 

I am also featuring over at Mummypinkwellies today and would love you to visit me there too.  

Perhaps unusually I knew about Bliss before I had Joseph. I used to subscribe to a magazine called Candis, and at the time it was a charity partner with Bliss. I learnt about the vital work they do providing information and support to families with premature or poorly infants. I would donate a little bit of money where I could. I never thought in a million years that one day I would directly benefit from Bliss.

What I have noticed in my journey is that units vary wildly throughout the country as to how well they support families. I know units are really keen to get better at family support, but with so many demands on resources, it is not always possible for units to support families in the way that they would like. Bliss fill this gap with staff, with volunteers, with information written in plain English, that not only covers the baby's time in hospital, but beyond into their early years. Bliss also helps fund research projects, and campaigns to ensure babies are on the politicial and NHS agendas.

My first contact with Bliss was when Joseph was just born, and I was given the Patient Information Guide, which outlined everything I needed to know about Joseph's stay, and the possible complications we encountered. The booklet was reassuring and helpful and I felt that Bliss was there alongside me.

Both my husband and I phoned Bliss on a number of occasions, to have things explained or just to have a cry with people who understood just what stress we were under. And importantly, to get some hope. Bliss gives hope. Bliss have paid staff but also have a huge team of volunteers who have sat where you are sitting, by the side of an incubator with hope in their hearts, fear sitting alongside, and tears stinging their eyes. Not one of us will experience the same NICU stay but we do have a bond and understanding that when times are tough, you can use as a really powerful resource. Speaking to parents who had been there was amazing for me. It gave me hope that one day, this would all be over and I would get to be a proper mummy.

When you have a baby so early, or poorly, your head gets filled with statistics, information, medical jargon. Sometimes the fact you have actually had a baby gets totally lost. Speaking to a parent with similar experiences helped me to get my baby back, to really learn what life might be like after the unit, and get some tips for getting through each day.

Now, I am in that position to give someone else that support and that strength, and that is such a powerful thing. I give thanks everyday for Joseph, and the experiences we've had, that whilst I wouldn't wish them upon anyone, I am a stronger, more compassionate person as a result of everything we have been through together as a family.

Thank you to everyone of you who have offered to tweet, share on Facebook, blog and help raise the profile of our cause, our special babies. 


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