Summer holidays are nearly here, but unfortunately the weather left much to ask for at the start of the day. Rain, rain go away must have been the song to sing when looking outside and deciding what to do on this Saturday. Fortunately, we had already decided to go to the local swimming pool, so no change of plans was needed. Unfortunately though, everybody with kids seemed to have come to that same decision and the pool was heaving….
After our big swim, we thought a cheeky lunch at McDonald’s would be easiest. While ordering this elderly lady came up to me and asked; ‘So, when is this baby supposed to be due?’ pointing at my belly, that seems to be bigger as it has ever been. Slightly odd way of asking I felt, especially for a stranger, but nevertheless I replied with ‘Mid September supposedly’. ‘Well’, she said, ‘that is never going to happen, is it? I can tell you know, that baby will be there way before September. Way before’. ‘Hmmm’, I replied, ‘I do tend to do my babies a bit early, but we will see and let this little man decide for himself as well’. She shook her head while I walked off.
As a mum of two premature boys that was not exactly what I was enjoying somebody to say to me. I really found it a bit rude. She probably did not mean it that way, but for a stranger to approach you like that…. Well… not the best way to have small talk with an expecting mum I would say.
With my eldest my waters broke at 29.5 weeks and he was born a week later. As first time parents that was quite an emotional shock on itself. Having most of my closest friends and family abroad at the time did not help much either. My husband was in the middle of his busiest time of the year and was racing back and forward to the RVI (Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle) daily, which is well over an hour away. I stayed in hospital, close to our tiny boy; first on the ward where also the mums with their newborn (healthy) kids were, which was heart-breaking on itself as I did not have my very premature baby by my side. Later, I was allowed to move to Crawford House, a charity home-from-home run by The Sick Children’s Trust on hospital premises, an amazing initiative. Even though we could access the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) 24/7, it was emotionally draining. There are lots of ups and downs and usually downs can go quite deep before it becomes an up again.
We thought we had ‘planned’ it all so well, for as far as something can be planned, but my PRoM (premature rupture of membranes) decided differently. Fortunately, our little hero measured in at 1800 grams (4 pounds), which was a heavy weight for his age. He was a wonder from the start and after exactly a month in the NICU I could take him home. A year later, his very experienced and amazing consultant neonatal paediatrician, Dr Embleton, said on reviews that he was one of the best very premature babies that he had seen in his career. It could have been so differently. He also warned me that he usually saw ‘his’ mums back…
And he was right; however, with our second boy my PRoM did not happen until 34.5 weeks though. I had to be induced at 36 weeks as the risk of infection became too high. As this is considered a late preterm baby the odds were very different. Obviously, he was still very very small, but the fact that my first one had been so tiny made me an experienced mum and not afraid to handle all this littleness. So, three days later I was allowed home with baby. After all the worries during the pregnancy, this was such a different league. Quite a wonderful experience.
So here we are, baby boy number three on the way. Last week I went past the date that my first one was born. That on itself was a huge relief. They are keeping a tremendous close watch on me at the RVI and I have a wonderful consultant that seems to have a decent plan in place for every single step/week of my pregnancy. Of course, we have our worries, who would not. You can only wait and see what happens, but at least there is confidence.
At the practice, we are getting ready for myself being away for a while. We have had quite a few good and experienced clinicians apply to take over from me, which makes it all a bit easier. The team have been there before (twice ;)) and know how to steer the ship while the captain takes a back seat. I will be around though…. The practice has always felt like my first child anyway…
Fingers crossed for a healthy term delivery!