Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Third Trimester - If Only I'd Known

I thought long and hard about entering this competition for Aptaclub's new 'Preparing for Birth' app. I love new technology, and during pregnancy, although not an owner of a smartphone at the time, I would have loved this. I devoured pregnancy magazines and books, I was so excited to be finally pregnant at the age of 35, and carrying beyond 12 weeks was a huge milestone, having lost at least 2 babies before.

This is week 3 of my Third Trimester

But nobody really told me. No one told me that 1 in 13 babies are born prematurely. Nobody told me that 1 in 9 babies are taken to special care baby units. That's a massive figure. And as a population of mothers, to be honest, we are largely ignored by the big companies, the magazine editors, the app developers.

No one told me that I may not get a third trimester, much less tried to prepare me. My third trimester wasn't spent getting bigger, struggling to find clothes that fit, dealing with all the annoying pregnancy symptoms, heartburn, trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. I didn't have to spend another 3 months watching everything I ate, being careful to avoid listeria, salmonella and all the other nasty bugs that can hurt the life growing within.

No my third trimester was different. A whole new set of worries. Would my baby live? When my baby had severe growth problems agonising over the decision as to how to proceed with feeding, trying to put a 3lb baby with the tiniest mouth on to the breast, after he had already been feeding intravenously for 5 weeks. Making decisions about whether to allow broad spectrum antibiotics knowing they could affect my babies hearing, worrying about whether oxygen therapy would affect his eyesight? No one could have prepared me for huge decisions I had to make as a mother, when really, I should still be pregnant.

It's hard not to feel jealous of mothers who spend their third trimester in, yes, an uncomfortable and sometimes scary place, but at least it is well chartered. There are apps and magazines. When you have a premature baby about from amazing charities like Bliss, there is precious little else. Nurses and doctors are often very busy, and explanations sometimes are delivered in a way that leaves you more confused than you were when you started listening. There are no apps to guide you, you have to use your instinct, and that's really hard.

Having a premature baby brings with it a set of worries and concerns that are so intense, but not unique. Now having a huge community of premature parents I know that a lot of our worries are shared, the same. Is there an app for that? No, not yet, but maybe there should be.

I welcome this app, however, because of course, the vast majority of women do go full term, thankfully, and I for one celebrate that. These sort of apps are invaluable and important.

Don't forget those of us who do deliver early, our specific concerns and worries, and our amazing, resilient special babies.

“This post is Not Even A Bag of Sugar's entry into the Aptaclub ‘If Only I’d Known…’ competition”


  1. As ever, this is such a moving post. I am jsut finishing my own entry and it is completely different, seeing as I am one of the many mothers who went over my due date. But there are a whole host of things I wish I had known too. Ultimately I wish I'd known how strong motherhood would make me, it would've given me such comfort when I needed it most. Lovely post. Good luck xxxx

  2. Your blogs have me in tears so often, because everything you say rings so true xx