Friday, 25 October 2013

The Impossible Hug

It's 7.30, we drive to the school and I walk to Joseph's side of the car and open the door. "Mummy I want a hug and a kiss". We hug, and I walk him to his before school club. "Mummy, before you go, I want another hug". We hug again. "Mummy whenever I feel sad I will remember our hugs." I go to work.

I am at the school gate by 3.30, out comes Joseph and straight into my arms for a hug. We get half way down the road "Mummy can I have a hug?" We get home, after a bit Joseph says "Mummy can we hug on the sofa and watch telly?"

Before we know it, it's bed time, we snuggle for stories. "Oh mummy lets have a hug before I go to sleep."

It wasn't always this way.

Arrive at unit at 9.30 am. Put milk in fridge. Go to nurse on duty "Hi I'm Joseph's mum, I'm here to do his cares, can I have a cuddle today?" Nurse looks blank "I'm really sorry I've only cared for Joseph a few times and I'm not confident maybe ask tonight?"

Fighting back tears, I sit by the incubator and talk to Joseph through the port holes. Evening seems a long time away. 

 For someone who hasn't been through it, I think this is the hardest thing to understand. For far too many parents don't hold their babies, for days, weeks even months. You have to ask permission for a hug. Imagine. "Excuse me, may I hold my baby today?" A basic mother's instinct is to hold their baby. Yes there are often very good reasons why a hug is not possible. It doesn't stop it hurting.

What if you don't get a hug because that staff member hasn't been trained? Or has had the training but hasn't had practice moving a 2lb baby connected to wires and machines? Imagine the heartbreak of being told "sorry you cannot hold your baby today".

That is reality. Many times I couldn't hold Joseph, not because he was too poorly but because we had staff members who were new to handing very early babies. Luckily my dream team of 4 nurses realised what was happening and made sure that I was trained so I could do it myself. But sometimes I had to fight.

Family centred care sounds obvious, sensible and reasonable. But the practice isn't always easy. Bliss understands the pressures that units are under and is committed to helping everyone, parents, nurses, doctors and allied health professionals understand how to put family centred care into practice and how to ensure all the complex needs of babies are met.

But we need your help. World Prematurity Day is coming up on November 17th. There are loads of ways you can get involved. A simple way is to share our video. Share it on your Facebook, your Google +, pin it, tweet it, email it! It's a simple message, but a powerful one

You can visit Bliss to find out other ways you can help.

I am raising funds for Bliss to help more parents like me get those Impossible Hugs.

If you can, please sponsor me to dye my hair purple and I am also conducting a 24 hour social media marathon too on World Prematurity Day November 17th.

Thank you as ever for your support.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous post. I never realised how much I took hugs for granted but your face in that pic shows me how much! So important to cherish every step. This week my son has been kissing me with "mummy - I kiss you because I love you" and every time he says it, I store it safely in my memory bank x